26 Sep 2016

Keeping memories with a typewriter?

2016  |  We R Memory Keepers Typecast

















This is the type specimen (front and back) that came with the machine.



And here is a scan of the cover of the manual and the unpacking instructions.




Here's the typewriter display at the local Michael's store. I picked up several of the ribbons and intend to get some good use out of them. As you can see with the one included in the machine, they seem to be heavily inked which is good for long-term use, even if a bit too dark at first.


Sent from a decorative scrapbooking lettering machine.

31 comments:

  1. Just say NO! And stock up on these ribbons... :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well done for taking the plunge at all. I wonder what the resale value is? I wouldn't be surprised if it was still more than a much older 'proper' typewriter. Maybe it will be the perfect machine for those crafters who buy it. Or maybe it will turn them on to getting something a bit more robust. Or maybe it will put them off typewriters altogether?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard to say; there haven't been any used ones listed on ebay yet that I can find. Seeing as this doesn't live up to the standard of writing machine it's been packed back up after typing a couple pages and ready to be returned.

      I think the latter would probably be less likely, since if you'd never used a manual typewriter before I think without knowing any better you'd still find it pretty cool, and fun to use. A typewriter's a typewriter! People fall in love with them over crappy Corsairs and otherwise fine machines that are in a sorry state.

      Delete
  3. Thank you for this! I've been so curious I was almost willing to put out the $199.99. But not quite.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh my I hope you were able to use one of those 40% off coupons. I looked one of these over yesterday when I was a Michael's. So glad to see this review. I am not interested in this version-staff at the store said another one is coming out in 2017. All the supplies were on sale yesterday for 30% off but not the ribbons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The typewriters are excluded from the 40% coupon deal. I tried it!

      Very interesting that they're planning a new version. I wonder if the quality will improve. They did announce a new color a few days ago, "mint": https://www.instagram.com/p/BKt_eWoD_hH/?taken-by=wermemorykeepers

      Delete
    2. I checked the 40% off coupon myself. But don't worry! It's going back to the store, that money will be spent later on a deserving machine. :)

      Delete
  5. I enjoyed the ambivalent tone of your review, and can quite understand it. There is something thrilling about seeing this product on the market and knowing that people want it (some people online are just raving about it). It is a good-looking design. (You say "black paint"; I thought the shell would be molded black plastic.) But it's frustrating. If Shanghai Weilv (or whoever makes this) can put in the man-hours to create this rather complicated piece of machinery, why can't they find the ingenuity to improve the design a bit, improve the quality of materials, and improve quality control? (The type specimen is just sad, proving that alignment was poor at the factory already. An older typewriter factory would never have allowed a machine in this condition to get out the door.) Yes, this would all raise the cost of manufacture, but my guess is that the typewriter could still be sold in the US at some profit at a price a little over $200. And if it were really pleasant and durable, I would gladly recommend it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is true - we should be mindful that there are plenty of smart collectors who gladly pay way too much money for crappy plastic typewriters, but who teases anyone for buying a Valentine? :D

      Delete
    2. I'd made a similar comment to W when I was using it—if only they could swap the unnecessary features like the tab and automatic spacing for actually paying attention to improving the design and quality control.

      Delete
    3. Ambivalent is exactly how I feel towards it. Also, saying "paint" was not intentional, I was just comparing it to the pink in my mind. It is black plastic.

      Delete
  6. I find it amusing that the owners manual calls it a Typecast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Movement has penetrated the lingua of commerce! I approve of the effect of this machine's manufacture and marketing, even if I feel a bit sad for the customers who may not find out the joy of a real machine. If only it were marketed as a "training wheel" model for a toe into the world of vintage machines..

      Delete
    2. Me too! I wonder who suggested it and how they settled on it for a name.

      I think for anyone who is serious about using a typewriter to write, rather than just as a scrapbooking tool, might be curious to see what an actual old typewriter is like.

      Delete
  7. Thanks for the review Nick. We were all curious about it, perhaps masochistically so.
    Maybe this new machine is the first foray and will inspire improved iterations. Or more likely, it's a one-shot, soon to be heavily discounted and eventually sold at a loss (though I am curious what the production-cost by the manufacturer is).
    Anyways, you my friend are a brave man.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great review on a less-than great machine. I wouldn't have expected anything less. I was going to check this out on my way through the US in a month and now I feel less inclined. Instead, I'll be trying to get down to Matt's shop in Portland and, while I'm in Boston, I'll be making the pilgrimage to Tom's shop there... that $200 will be spent better and in more typer-friendly confines, I do believe :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that is definitely a better-spent $200! Matt is great!

      Delete
  9. Thanks for doing this, Nick. It's a really fair estimation of this machine. I've considered getting one just for posterity, because it exists, but I have no illusions of liking it. (Yeah, I own a Valentine for the same reason. I don't really like it for writing, either.) I'll have to see if our local Michaels finally has ribbons in. They are behind the rest of the country!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Valentine is a better typewriter though, no doubt! :D

      I'd say it's one of those things that if you can get cheaply somehow, it'd be worth having one. (I guess I'd put my Valentine in that category as well, since I got mine cheaply)

      Delete
  10. Thanks for the review! I suspect a lot of the appeal of this typewriter is not so much how good a typewriter it is (or is not), but rather the simplicity of the transaction. Walk into Michael's, pull out your credit card, buy a brand new typewriter in a box, take it home, unwrap it, start typing. Return it if you don't like it. Same way you buy a microwave. People are comfortable with that. On the other hand, you could buy a superior machine (say a nice SC Galaxy or Classic 12)for less than half the price, but it involves trolling Craigslist, driving to a stranger's house, paying cash only for essentially an unknown quantity, and no recourse if it doesn't suit. Unless you are a dedicated typewriter collector, most folks will opt for Michael's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, very true! It worked for me—I would never have bought this if it wasn't easy, quick, and returnable.

      Delete
  11. Quite pricey for the poor quality. I guess people may want it because it looks good. Too bad it does not type as good as it looks. I do need to stop by our local Michaels and find out if they have the ribbons.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for taking one for the team!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Please do a video for youtube, to counter the gushy [paid?] scrapbookers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm thinking they probably weren't paid outright, but a lot of them got the machines free for the purposes of a review. (It's a popular practice, I've even done it myself once with Rhodia paper. A way to get something without paying full price)

      If only I didn't hate doing speaking videos...

      Delete
  14. Thank you for this review - fascinating machine!

    Wondered; is the segment plastic? Entire mechanism built from sheet-metal (no or low-cost tooling needed). A proper segment (alignment...) would need I guess proper casting and milling.

    Anyways - thanks for sharing this; made me smile somehow :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's mostly metal inside, just things like the ribbon advance system are plastic.

      Delete
    2. Actually quite impressive for that price. (The wobbly alignment maybe is just what the scrapbook customer wants... to not look too neat as if it could have been computer-printed.)

      Delete
  15. The price has dropped to $149.99 at my local Michaels. The ribbons are down to $4.99, not a bad price for a colored ribbon. But they are only 18 feet long, which looks to be about half the length of a "regular" ribbon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It did at mine too, in fact I paid $149.99 for this one looking at the receipt. But the price tag on the display said $199.99 still! (Ribbons were $4.99 here too)

      Delete
  16. For the same price of this thing you can buy a LC Smith 8 or Remington 12 in mint condition.

    ReplyDelete