typewriter mystique

Here’s an old typewriter I recently found at a yard sale. 15$. It’s a Royal 1932.

When I brought it home, I discovered it’s worth between 100-200. I’m happy to see the old writing machines hold their value. But I didn’t buy it to make money. I bought it because of its look, its presence, its place in history. I love it.

These old typewriters facilitated mass production (slow by today’s standards) of written work for the individual writer. They were part of the glorification, the sheer mystique, the myth of the lone American writer-hero. Think Steinbeck. Hemingway.

They have a pleasing aesthetic as a machine, one that is also (now) sentimentalist. Owning one and touching it, cleaning it, is like owning a 1952 Chevy and touching it and cleaning it. It’s sleek, yet designed to look powerful and practical.

This particular machine has glass pane windows on the sides to show off the smooth, interlocking internal components–“hey, look how modern and amazing this mechanism is!”

And best of all… there’s the sound, Click CLACKing away. It’s the sound of progress mechanized. You’re not moving any more than you would be moving when typing at a computer, but you feel like you’re moving, like you’re going somewhere, like that sound is moving, like it’s taking you somewhere. Progress. Machine. Ideas. The self is being extended, maybe pursued, maybe glorified. The machine is doing it’s job.


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