Tag: typewriter

Shop Tour: Oblation Papers

While in Portland recently, I got a chance to visit Oblation Papers. When the staff realized that we were a letterpress printer (my husband), a lettering artist (my friend Madeline) and a stationery blogger (that would be me), we got a full behind-the-scenes tour. We also happened to be in the store on the day of their 25th anniversary so we got to share cupcakes and cheer too.

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I took so many photos that I felt a gallery presentation was the only way to share these. (Hope that’s okay. There are more great “behind the scenes” photos on the Oblation blog if you can’t get enough.)

Oblation Papers is not just a retail stationery shop, its also a paper making facility and a letterpress print shop. There is also a magical closet of vintage typewriters that are repaired and cleaned and put out for sale.

Ron, one of the owners of the shop, happily toured us around showing us the paper making tools like the pulping and beating machines as well as the frames used to create handmade paper and shaped papers. Then we visited the mythical closet where I nudged everyone out of the way to stand, surrounded on four sides by shelves, in a room of vintage typewriters. Then we wandered into the print shop filled with Chandler & Price and Heidelberg Windmill presses and we met the delightful Jennie. She is one of the press operators who was such a good sport, she and her husband took our motley bunch out for beers after the tour.

I got a few last looks at the actual shop floor filled with lots of unique cards, both Oblation and other small indie brands, as well as a vintage Sheaffer case filled with vintage pens for sale and another case filled with newer pens and writing tools. Oblation also stocks wax seals and other goodies. Its an amazing place and the staff there were so kind and knowledgeable.

If you’re in Portland definitely stop by. OR check out their online store.

Typewriter As Art

Olympia Typewriter print
Olympia Typewriter Print by SloeGinFizz (via Etsy)

While not everyone might be as inclined as I am to have a pile of old typewriters at hand, the image of a typewriter inspires the writer, poet and correspondent in all of us. Today I discovered several “typewriter as art” pieces to inspire and compliment the paper aficionados desk.

(Click on images to visit the sources or purchase images.)

Typerwriter Spring Flowers Framed Print
Poetry Typewriter framed art ($46) by Kata (via Society6)
Typewriter note card
Typewriter Greeting Card ($4) by Michele Maule (via Etsy)

Cover Unveil: The Typewriter Book from Uppercase

Uppercase The Typewriter Book

Finally, the cover for the long-awaited The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine has been revealed. This book will feature over 200 pages of history, photos and timelines of the glorious typewriter. If you’re familiar with Uppercase magazine, you know this book will be beautifully designed by editor-in-chief Janine Vangool and printed with the highest quality standards.

Pre-orders are still being accepted at $45 per book. I pre-ordered mine ages ago so I can’t wait for the fall to get. That’s when the book will start shipping.

Kickstarter: Qwerkywriter


Even typewriter lovers among us occasionally have to use a modern-day computer. Why not experience the beauty and feel of a vintage typewriter while you pound out your emails or Twitter missives? That’s where the new Kickstarter Project, the Qwerkywriter comes in. Its a USB keyboard (though there are plans for a Bluetooth adaptation if they exceed funding) that has a 88-key mechanical keyboard with the classic good-looks of a vintage glass-key typewriter. The “paper feed” doubles as a tablet stand for your iPad or Android tablet.

At the $289/$299 funding level, you can receive this unique keyboard. The developer is about a third of the way to his funding goal so if you’d like to see this project come to fruition, support it today. The funding period end July 3.

Qwerkywriter with tablet

The “Upstairs” Typewriters

Manual Typewriter Army
1. Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 22, 2. Smith-Corona Empire, 3. Royal Royalite, 4. Hermes Rocket, 5. Adler Tippa, 6. Brother/Webster XL-747

I admit it. I have a typewriter collection. All my machines are manual typewriters, no power needed other than my fingers bashing about on the keys and a good ribbon.

When one must describe a portion of the collection and theĀ  “upstairs” typewriters, clearly there’s some typewriter hoarding going on here. The “upstairs” typewriters are mostly functional, though the Royal Royalite is being moved downstairs until I can get it fixed, or at least looked at by a professional to see if its worth fixing. The others are diamonds, or at least diamonds in the rough.

The "Upstairs" Typewriters

After getting my new Lettera 22, I just had to see how much overlap there is in the collection and was pleasantly surprised to discover there isn’t any. Okay, technically, there is a “spare” super-wonky Hermes Rocket in the basement that needs to be repaired but that’s the only case where I have two of the same machine. But, seriously, no self-respecting typewriter collector would ever walk away from an Hermes Rocket. Nope. Not a chance.

So, would you like to see how these all type?

Royal Royalite Typing sample

This is the wonkiest of the bunch, the Royal Royalite but I love the typeface so much I’m willing to see what it would take to fix it up. Besides, it has one of the most beautiful shapes of all my manual typewriters. I bet Mary Tyler Moore, or maybe Rhoda would have typed on a machine like this.

Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 22 typing sample

This is my newest acquisition, the Lettera 22. It needs a new ribbon but it has instantly made it into my top three typewriters. It requires a pretty light touch for a manual typewriter and has no noticeable flaws in performance. What a score this was!

Hermes Rocket typing sample

I want to love this Hermes Rocket, I really do but it has a wonky ribbon advance and it cuts off the ink on uppercase letters. The ribbon might be too big for the machine or something but its been nothing but frustrating.

Adler Tippa typins sample

Oh, Adler Tippa, how I love you! This is my coup de gras of typewriters. It was in pristine condition when I bought it on Craig’s List and the cursive script face was a total bonus. This is one of those items I’d be sure to grab if there was a fire/tornado/etc.

Smith-Corona Empire typing sample

I think the only flaw of the Empire by Smith-Corona is that it was never really used and could use some oil. Otherwise, its a little trooper with some sticky keys.

Webster Brother XL-747 typing sample

My Brother/Webster is not the prettiest machine in the house, even with its shiny blue paint, but it has been a workhorse. I found it at a thrift store and paid $20 at the time which my dear husband thought was ludicrous. Poor delusional boy. The red ink is running dry on the ribbon but this machine stills gets used more than any other.

Do you have a typewriter? Or several?