31 Aug 2015

Wish (1kd)

We had a record hot and dry summer in Washington. Just this week we have finally been getting the rain and cooler temperatures we so desperately need in western Washington, though much of the state is still burning—literally.

26 Aug 2015

Portland (part 2, Ace and Bill Morrison)

We started day 2 of our trip by taking the Max north a few stops and surprising ourselves by finding a non-hipstery independent coffee shop. I've noticed the low-budget rubber-stamping on containers seems to really be picking up this year.

We caught the bus and got off near a park, where we finished our breakfast. And we were Cagebombed there.

A short walk later and we met Richard at Ace Typewriter.

There were so many nice typewriters on display for sale...

...and in the process of being repaired or waiting to be repaired. Notice the two shelving units on the left are contracted work.

Richard brought out his Junior, which was a hit.

Then we got to look behind the counter into the workshop.

I got to use this Harris Visible—very impressive and definitely the best 3-bank I've ever used.

We talked about our favorite machines and Matt exchanged some useful cleaning tips.

I got a shot of Richard writing his typecast for the day before we left Ace.

Not too far down the street was Blue Moon Camera.

They had a good display of typewriters for sale, too.

I like how the labels on the shelves are typed on a Smith-Corona with the Speech-Riter typeface.

After checking out a thrift store in the area, we got on the bus and headed south to our next stop. I caught this pleasantly in-the-moment shot of Richard typing on the bus. I didn't notice anybody reacting to it—they've seen stranger things on the bus before.

Bill Morrison Business Machines (namesake long deceased) had a drab exterior. The inside was pretty drab, too.

Though the two typewriter mechanics there had a lot to tell. (read more about that on Richard's post)

There were a few French touches and a piano left over from when there used to be a restaurant next door. (and W had some time to play it)

Amongst all the printers and copiers, there were a couple typewriters.

The only one for sale was this reasonably-priced Facit TP1 complete with printout from Rob Messenger's blog.

At every shop we stopped at, Richard left behind a postcard advertising his book and showed off the Junior Mod 58, which I don't think could fail to please anybody.

21 Aug 2015

Portland (part 1, Arrival and Oblation)

My time in Portland with Richard Polt has already been well-documented on his blog, but here are some different pictures and story from my and W's 2.5 days in Portland.

In Tacoma, we took the Link (light rail) to the Amtrak station (501 Cascades train), as this trip was going to be entirely free from personal motor transportation. And you really don't need a car to get around Portland or downtown Tacoma. Portland has a really nice train station.

We arrived before lunch, found our hotel, dropped our things there, and rode into the city center on the Max (yellow line). Portland has a very comprehensive public transportation system, if rather unreliable when it comes to keeping a schedule.

We stopped in at Powell's, the famous used bookstore, which was enjoyable but overpriced and too commercialized for my taste. My local Tacoma Book Center is a used bookstore in what I think of as the traditional sense—a building that looks bigger on the inside, crammed to the ceiling with books spilling over into hallways all with price tags I can afford. I did find two interesting maps there, though.

I saw a Dick Blick on the way to Oblation Papers and Press so we stopped in and I got some Nature Print paper, which is cool stuff. I haven't had a sunny day that wasn't busy yet to use it, but I will soon.

Then we met Richard at Oblation and typed a bit on the typing station outside. I regret that I said nothing of consequence and nearly pounded out a couple sentences for the sake of a photo op. For shame.

Inside, our ever admirable typewriter revolution leader coerced the staff to let us get a tour round the back. Actually, they said they did tours and he asked if we could have one and they said yes. This tour was the highlight of the day for me.

We got to see how their paper is made from cotton pulp, which they get in sheets and soak in water.

They make paper in a way that is remarkably identical to how it was done in Gutenberg's time, it was almost like watching a documentary about the dawn of the printing press!

They make normal rectangular sheets of white paper as well as different colors and different shapes.

Unlike Gutenberg, they do not typically use moveable type. Most design is done on the computer and then resin plates are created in a process similar to printing a circuit board.

If they need to cut the paper down to a different size, they have many forms. Including one specially made for Al Gore's presidential campaign!

The pressses are, however, all quite old (the newest is from the 1950s and the oldest is from the late 1800s)

Two presses were running, and they were mesmerizing to watch. I was reminded of my own desire to have a small printing press of my own—if only they weren't so expensive if you want one complete and in working condition.

After Oblation, we travelled back up to my and W's hotel and got pizza and talked typewriters for a couple hours. I got to use his Junior Mod. 58 which is really the coolest little typewriter. The touch is really solid and it's better than many machines larger than it. I wish I'd thought to type on it more before we left!

1 Aug 2015

Typed letter from the Highway Engineer

In an interesting crossroads of my typewriter and map interests, I present to you this 1951 letter from the State of California Department of Public Works, Division of Highways.

It looks to me like it was typed with an L C Smith—the numbers are unmistakeable and the slightly uneven look of the text reminds me a lot of the old L C Smith 8 I used to have. And I wouldn't be surprised if the machine they were using at the Division of Highways predates WWII.

The letter, along with the map, were preserved as a time capsule inside of the original mailing envelope. California official road maps are hard enough to find as they were not typically issued to the general public (the inclusion of the specially-typed letter backs this up as I doubt they would type up a letter like this for every single map they sent out!) so finding one with all the extras makes it just that much more special.

August is going to be a very busy month for me, so expect the current intermittent blog update schedule to continue! In less than a week, W and I are taking the train down to Portland for a couple days where I will finally get to meet the esteemed Richard Polt. As soon as we get back, my family is visiting for a week, and then the week after that a good friend will be staying over. Let's hope the weather only gets cooler from the current high of 92°F (33.33[repeating]°C).