Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Blast of the Past for my 100th (Posterous) Post: Olympia Carina 1 Typewriter

Yes, I still have this, and not in storage. It's in my bedroom next to my old writing desk. This is Olympic Carina 1 manual typewriter. Nope, not even electric. No plugs or screen attached.

Yup, that's a manual carriage handle at the upper left.

I wanted a typewriter when I was nine years old. We were overseas (Naples, Italy) and this was way before you could order something via the Internet. My mom's friends were bringing their son to an Air Force base in Germany for a medical operation, and Mom secretly asked them to get this at the Heidelberg Air Force base's PX. I was so excited to get this and began typing away.

And this is what it looks like with the cover taken off. It still has the (long faded) dual ribbon attached to the rollers. That's metal type, too. When you typed, the ribbon went from left to right and when it reached the end, you had to rewind the ribbon or flip a little switch so the ribbon went from right to left. The keys occasionally got stuck and you had to pry them down. I remember long hours with a toothbrush, scrubbing away dried ink from the type. After a short while, the letters 'o' and 'p' and 'q' had ink built up within the circles.

At the right side of the typewriter is a little switch with a black arrow at the bottom and a red arrow at the top. That changes the ink color. The ribbon had a black stripe at the bottom and a red at the top, and this flips it from one color to the other. (No #FF000000)

At the left hand side of the carriage is the switch that controlled spacing. There's an 'R' at the top for 'release' so you can pull the sheet of paper out without turning the knob. There's a '1' for single spacing, another line in between for 1 1/2 and '2' for double spacing. Tabs were set by those white plastic thingies at the top. And there's the silver manual return lever...you still pushed the carriage from left to right to advance.

Out of curiosity, I looked up 'Olympia Carina 1 Manual Typewriter' on the internet. Of course, now it's considered an antique. Someone had sold theirs on E-bay for 39,99 pounds.

I'm sure that kids who grew up in the Internet Age would be boggled by something like this. Yes, typing required work and a steady hand (and even then, sometimes it turned out crooked on the paper). But here's a photo that made me glad that I've kept my manual around for this long:

Two year old Sarah curious about the manual typewriter. Now she uses it to identify her letters.

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