A gray, rainy Saturday in late November . . . a small “creative space” with paintings on its walls and a plate-glass window looking out onto the main street of Bridgewater, Pennsylvania . . . a room filled with typewriters and typewriter enthusiasts, some clacking away on the machines, some browsing, some just talking shop: this was the scene on Saturday, November 19, when we had a very successful type-in/typewriter sale/beer swap.

Type-in at Sweet As Studios, Bridgewater, PA, November 19, 2016

Type-in at Sweet As Studios, Bridgewater, PA, November 19, 2016

Those who love and use typewriters today, sometimes called typospherians, hold type-ins all around the country. Many, many thanks to Lenny at Sweet As Studios for offering us the venue for this one.

Conversations, writing, and maintenance

Conversations, writing, and maintenance

Some brought their own typewriters and came to type on particular projects:

Writing at the type-in

Linda and Rachel, writing at the type-in — note the dictionary (happy sigh!) — typewriters don’t have automatic spell-checkers.

Val, the real organizer of the event, took the opportunity to “typecast” — that is, he typed a blog entry, which he later photographed and uploaded onto his blog.



I really liked the cable spools turned on their sides for rustic tables. We had about twenty of our typewriters for sale. Val and I each sold a couple machines. People arrived throughout the afternoon.

Typewriters galore

Typewriters galore

Val brought along his Crosley turntable, so we had event-appropriate music from vinyl throughout the afternoon: John Denver, Duke Ellington, Simon and Garfunkel, and many others . . . including an LP designed to teach touch typing: a soothing voice chanted, “A-S-D-F, space, A-S-D-F, space . . .”

Lots of lovely machines

Lots of lovely machines

See that beautiful old Royal in the foreground of the picture above? A highlight of the day for me was when Lynn brought that in — she’d had it in storage for years, and it was in great working order except that the ribbon was dried out. I had brought along my tools and a reel of bulk ribbon, so I offered to install a new ribbon for her. Lynn was delighted!

Me, having fun

Me, having fun (photo by Lynn Britton Radford)

I’m glad I brought the ribbon along!

Changing the ribbon

Changing the ribbon

Great time! I look forward to the next type-in.

Fold-over Corona 3 on the right

Fold-over Corona 3 on the right





19 Responses to Type-In

  1. i am mr brown snowflake says:

    While not experienced enough to note the differences in the models, I have to say that, visually, I am most moved by the Royals. Both the deep green body and, to a lessen extent, the green sea foam. Of course, I have no idea how it would feel to type on one.

    What is now most important is the our host, and the kind, patient and amazingly forebearing Dr. Durbin, make plans to spend several days on West Main Cross, where the good P.S. insists he, also, will be. As I intend to also be in town, I can see good times ahead ….

  2. Jhagman says:

    I have always looked at these machines as instruments of torture! I had a typing class, the first of the day, AFTER morning wrestling practice. My hands were shot, and the teacher yelling TIME!, was really too much. It was the worst class for me to have, after the competition of a typical wrestling practice. To this day the sound of one of those machines brings on feelings of loathing. I got a grade of C- only because of perfect attendance, college was Hell.

    • fsdthreshold says:

      I’m sorry your memory of these machines is such a nightmare, Jhagman. In high school, I was fortunate enough to take a course called “Personal Typing.” In contrast to Typing I, which focused on secretarial speed, Personal Typing simply taught us to type, so that we could use keyboards for the rest of our lives. Practically speaking, it was one of the most useful courses I had in high school, because I use a keyboard literally every day, and it’s wonderful to be able to do that with all my fingers, without hunting and pecking.

      Anyway, for me, there’s something therapeutic and satisfying about typing on these old machines. Because the actions are more deliberate and the keys farther apart, typos are less frequent. And they do allow for greater focus and more deliberate thinking; putting down the words is more of a commitment on a typewriter, so you begin thinking in your head again, rather than the thinking-on-screen that computers have taught us.

  3. i am mr brown snowflake says:

    I, too, had personal typing. Was the late Mrs. Faletto the teacher? I seem to recall she was. I do know that I had it as a sophomore and it was the one and only class I ever had in that portion of the first floor.

    I understand Jhagman’s hate for a class, but for me that hatred was reserved for algebra/calculus. One of the highlights of college life was the one and only ‘C’ I received — but it came in college algebra, fulfilled the requirement, and meant no one could screw with me like that ever again!

    It IS true we think on-screen now, but I wonder:

    Dearest Frederic: If you could somehow have the keys, the sound, the feel, the smells of typing on a manual, but see the words appear on the computer, wouldn’t that be the best of both worlds?

    • fsdthreshold says:

      The teacher I had for personal typing was Betty Bowman. She was also a petite lady with short blonde hair, so I can see why you might remember her as Carole Faletto. But typing was at the high school, and in our era, Mrs. Faletto taught geography at the junior high. Mrs. Bowman had a noticeable southern accent.

      The technology you describe actually exists! I’ll bet one could see a video with a search for “USB typewriter” or something similar. There is a kit you can buy to wire up your typewriter to a device so that what you type on the typewriter is input into the computer. Yes, I think it would be fascinating and fun to try, but it’s pretty expensive, I think. It’s featured in the excellent documentary ‘The Typewriter in the 21st Century.’

  4. Jhagman says:

    Wow, the site is back! I thought Fred had entered the typewriter repair business, and had no time for his blog. I am currently reading Robert E. Howard and Henri de Jomini. What is everyone reading/writing these days?

    • fsdthreshold says:

      Good to hear from you, Jhagman! I’m amazed that you’re still watching, especially given the recent hiatus–thank you! I want to get more posts written more regularly. We were down for awhile because my web site had to be moved to a new server. There were some complications with the transfer that took some time to iron out. But now we’re back up and running. I just need to write more here! As to your question, I am hard at work on the same series. I am nearly finished with a rough draft of Book 3. Book 1 and the series proposal are out on submission, making the rounds.

  5. Jhagman says:

    If you wrote more posts, I don’t think would make a difference! Everyone else is in FACEBOOK/TWITTERLAND. When I take a break at work, I am always the only person reading a book. My co-workers stare at their phones. Icckk! And I work at a bookstore! These devices are turning us into intellectual serfs- tied to our phones like medieval peasants were tied to the land! Oh brave new world with such things in it!

  6. fsdthreshold says:

    THANK YOU, those of you who are still here! It’s great to hear from you, too! I am making a note right now to do a blog post. Julie and I are just back from Japan — had a wonderful time there! I’m back into the thick of writing on Book 3 of the Hearkens — in the home stretch. More to come soon! Again, thank you all!

  7. Shieldmaiden says:

    Fred, did you really and truly read Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ at last? I am leaping for JOY!!! I do not like scary books, not one tiny bit. I do not like to be scared, not ever. And because of that there are a very few unhinging books that make it onto my small shelf, and that one is certainly top of the pile! And my short stack would be: Dracula, Dragonfly, Rebecca, and The Woman in White. Woman in White isn’t as unperching as the others, but it does have its moments as well as the most gloriously written bad guy ever! So it makes the list.

    I am also only a reader, but have over time become an old friend. For me, this blog will always be a sort of Camelot… sitting at a Table Round with Fred and Julie, Mister Brown Snowflake, JediBabe, Marquee Movies, Daylily, Baron Threadkill/Hagiograph, Lizzie_Borden, Morwenna, Tandemcat… and so many more!

    Yes, the old guard are still keeping track, still loyal! I have not posted in a long time but I read along whenever there is a post. This blog came into my life when my kids were very young and I needed a place I could visit in the wee hours while they were asleep in their beds. I love this blog and all the people I have had the fortune to journey with.

    It isn’t facebook that kept me away. Again and again I keep trying to join in on the blog, but haven’t managed it. I’ve been carrying a heavy load these days and turned inward for a long season. This has been a hard year for me (it’s actually been really tough since 2014) and a big reason why I’ve been so quiet. My husband and I are divorcing. Our kids have known since last summer and we spent this year getting our family through it and are just now dealing with beginning to tell our friends.

    I miss you all and I know it’s not like it was in the glory days, but just knowing you are all here anytime someone wants to pick it up reminds me of the Sandlot quote, “We all lived in the neighborhood for a couple of more years… and every summer was as great as could be. But none of them ever came close to that first one. When one guy would move away, we never replaced him on the team with anyone else. We just kept the game going like he was still there.”

  8. fsdthreshold says:

    Thank you very much for this comment, Shieldmaiden! I am so sorry to hear of the rough time you’ve been having. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for telling us here on the blog.

    As for the blog, the reports of its death may be exaggerated. I know better than to make wild promises, but I have not written it off, and I have certainly not forgotten all of you here! I will see what I can do when possible. Meanwhile, thank you — ALL of you — for being here.

    Here’s some good news: the anthology Challenge: Discovery is just released from Rogue Blades Entertainment (Jason Waltz, Editor). It includes two of my short stories and one of my essays (about the writing of one of those stories). And it contains many other amazing tales by other writers! It’s a great value at just $11.00 for the paperback and $4.98 for the Kindle edition! It can easily be had through Amazon.

    Great quote from The Sandlot! And I really enjoyed The Haunting of Hill House. My favorite of Jackson’s is still We Have Always Lived in the Castle, but both books are fantastic. Shirley Jackson truly is among the eight or ten greatest American novelists.

    • DayLily says:

      So good to hear from you, Shieldmaiden! I am praying for you and your husband and children today; I wish for you the strength you need for each day in this difficult situation. Fred, great news on the anthology!

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