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  1. Last 7 days
  2. May 2024
    1. where do I start?

      reply to u/rocklover7 at https://www.reddit.com/r/typewriters/comments/1cnljgm/where_do_i_start/

      The best thing you could do is to take a moment at the library or bookshop and pick up a copy of Polt, Richard. The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist’s Companion for the 21st Century. 1st ed. Woodstock, VT: Countryman Press, 2015.

      He looks at typewriters from a writers' writer perspective which I'm sure you'll appreciate. He's got experience with a wide variety of machines as well as a large collection himself. He goes over all of the common/popular (and solid machines) in a variety of sizes and formats to help you figure out which one you might like to start out with. He also covers some of the common problems and repairs that regularly pop up. The book is really a "best of" list of typewriter material from the past 15+ years of this reddit forum and material from the "typosphere" of which he's been not only an active member, but literal ring-leader. The vast majority of the questions which appear on a weekly basis here are discussed and addressed in his book, along with some emphasis on writerly concerns and practice which most beginners here wouldn't be asking. Even reading 3 or 4 of the 8 chapters which are rife with images will give you a solid crash course for exactly the sorts of typewriter (and writing) advice you're searching for.

      Definitely DO NOT pick up a new machine off of Amazon. They're even worse than some of the late 70s/early 80s machines. Instead, for beginners (and for the value) I'd recommend looking at Remingtons (Quiet-Riter), Royals (Quiet De Luxe), or Smith-Coronas (Clipper, Silent, Super) from roughly 1948-1958 which is generally the peak of U.S. typewriter manufacturing as well as for features. These were all built like tanks and are usually still in very good condition, even when they're in bad condition. I've provided links to some of these models in the typewriter database, so you have an idea visually of what to look out for.

      If desperate, and you live in an area where machines are priced starting over $50 or you're more price sensitive (making eBay, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist less appealing), you can find some of these every day listed at shopgoodwill.com starting at $10. Even with heaving bidding on auctions, these usually don't go over $35 (except for some of the Smith-Coronas). I've even seen them (sadly) not move at all for $10. This would give you an incredibly solid and inexpensive machine to tinker on, and will most likely work for you out of the box (as long as it's got a ribbon.) You'll end up with a solid machine to start off on while you search for your dream machine. It'll also give you some experience cleaning up and maintaining one. Of the seven machines I've gotten this way and paid an average of about $30-35 each (all in with shipping, tax, etc.) All but one were all immediately usable and only needed moderate cleaning that one could do at home with a cloth, dish soap, a toothbrush and maybe some canned air. Two of the seven were in near mint condition and didn't need any work at all. Tag/garage sales are also inexpensive options that usually allow you test out a machine, but it requires some shoe leather and lots of patience. If you've got a favorite author you love and trust, you might try searching out their machines: https://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/typers.html

      If there are any type-ins in your local area, try to go so you can not only meet others, but it might give you a chance to see and try out the machines of others to see what might suit you best.

      Happiness and best wishes on your search!

  3. Apr 2024
  4. Dec 2023