.Davis Typewriter Works

.Davis Typewriter Works

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ten years ago...

Friends, it was ten years ago this month that I was very fortunate to begin a series of collaborations with noted German typewriter collector Norbert Schwarz. Norbert was the very first person from anywhere outside the United States who I worked with in developing new content; the article in question was the first attempted detailed presentation of ALPINA machines anywhere either in print or on the internet at that time. And Norbert has some great machines in that line, too!

At left, Norbert Schwarz's ALPINA SAFETY TYPER. This is a bank or office check writing machine that has a rough typeface that is meant to perforate documents for proof. In addition, this machine is also the very hard to find DT33 variant with decimal tabulator which uses the lowest row of keys as the decimal tab keys. Normal operation of the keys as you might expect leads to typing characters; but pushing the keys away from the typist, or in toward the internals of the machine results in decimal tabulator operation. An ingenious and so far as I know unduplicated arrangement. Norbert owns the only one of these I've ever seen or heard of.

Getting back to the brief story -- at that point no one was heavily promoting portable typewriters of any modernity whatsoever. As soon as the Portable Typewriter Reference Site began to take off and grow, Norbert very graciously posted on a forum that I had invented the hobby of collecting portable typewriters. I don't know about that -- Norbert already had a slew of them when we did that first article! -- but maybe if anything I made it acceptable with a serious and thorough, technically based approach and respectable with photo montage presentation and even maybe cool. But Norbert - and many others who didn't talk a lot about them - already loved some portables and looked for them too even if they never posted anywhere about buying them.

Norbert eventually connected me with two other very well known German collectors; Thomas Furtig, with whom I'm working even today on new material, and the late Tilman Elster. And there are others, too, who I've met online from literally all over the world as a result of having tapped into this "German connection."

Today... well there's just no describing all that has gone on in the intervening ten years since that first collaborative article. The Portable Typewriter Forum is the largest and busiest typewriter enthusiast venue in the world, the various websites have featured (with the help of MANY other collectors, authors, researchers, and photographers whose names are always stated) probably more "new to print" makes and models than any other sites, and with my 'usual suspects' we've written some very well received technical and historical articles. All the members of the PTF, and very especially all the friends I've collaborated with over all these years have been on board from over ten years to just now and everyone can contribute as this wonderful hobby of ours continues to expand -- and as the acceptance of all machines of all ages and types widens out too.

And let's not forget my brother Dave and my Dad who also are on board with this madness and who can be seen posting articles here (Dave) and many posts and responses (my Dad) on the PTF. They make this all the more fun and interesting.

Well, enough reflection. No resting on our laurels here. Stopping to smell the roses is all right, but I'd much rather get on with TYPEWRITERS. So buckle up everyone and get ready for a literal SLEW of posts today and tonight in celebration of my Ten Years of Collaborative Articles. (I made that title up, just now. It's really just a ten year anniversary of major research articles on the net.) You will see the next installment in the ABC series too, so stay tuned.

POSTSCRIPT, March 7th: Thomas Furtig has informed me that he also owns an ALPINA Safety-Typer! With any luck I'll be able to get his opinions of this machine, and some photos, in a future presentation.

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