James's Typewriter Collection
Royal typewriter ad

I like typewriters as long as I don’t have to actually use them. I grew up at the tail end of their era and typed high school and college essays. I don’t have fond memories of handling ribbon, unjamming keys because I typed too fast, making a mess with Liquid Paper and correction tape, or the ugliness of strike-overs and strike-outs. I don’t miss having to calculate bottom margins for foot-notes or centering tables. I got my first computer in 1982 and a printer and word processing program not too long afterward. I could not say goodbye to typewriting fast enough.

But there are a few machines that I like having around. Every collector has their favorites which make other people shake their heads in wonder. My favorites are glossy black with gold letters; full-size standards that weigh 40 lbs and look like small monuments; the ones that sat on the desks of newspapermen and copywriters and pool typists through the 1920s. And I like IBM Selectric IIs and IIIs as well. Go figure.

I don’t have many but I do have a few: more than I need and fewer than I want. The nice thing is that even the big ones don’t take up huge amounts of room (unlike my reel-to-reel recorders and console radios).