I remember playing at my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s with an old typewriter she had in a cupboard. I was sitting under her dining room table typing away on what I think was a White Smith-Corona Corsair. It was magical. I then grew up typing on a computer and forgot about these wonderful machines.
After writing my first book in 2006 I thought about typewriters again. I finally purchased my first in 2009 at a charity shop in Carmarthen, it was a a ‘Brother’, that’s all I can remember, it cost £10 and lasted me as a creative outlet while I was homeless for a period and right up until I lost most of my possessions when the houseboat I was living onboard sank in 2020.
Covid came a month later and I forgot about typewriters again… Until I was fortunate to watch a movie called ‘California Typewriter’.
It reminded me of romantic image, the melodic sound and the sheer joy of using the machines. It also reminded me I used to write poetry. (and had been successfully published). I found a broken, but beautiful 1939 Corona Special Folding Typewriter, and fell instantly in love once more. I wrote. Lots.
I now write poems and books mostly on my typewriter, re-writing as I edit onto either an electronic typewriter or my laptop. I aspire to be a collector and preserver of these wonderful machines one day, but for now, I am passionate about my Typewriter and the words I craft on it.
My modest collection
I rotate my small collection of typewriters into different jobs, and each has a special place and memory for me. Some are kind gifts others are charity shop finds. I often love to think on what these machines have wrote before I owned them, and what they will write when I am gone.
My current collection includes:
- Olympia 66, 1962 with it’s wonderful cursive typeface for personal writing and letters
- Corona Special, 1936 a folding typewriter I use for composing poetry.
- Olympia SM2, Wide Format, 1951, An oversized paper handling carriage, sadly awaiting minor repairs.
- Hermes Baby, 1955(?), A portable typewriter for travelling.
- Olivetti Valentine, (nearly), A kind gift of a good friend, this will be used to write my work on human rights and social justice.
- Imperial Good Companion, 1939, My usual ‘jobbing’ typewriter for the office.
- Freewrite Smart Typewriter, 2022, My powerhouse drafting machine for book writing.
The Revolution will be typewritten.
There is a brilliantly friendly community of typewriter users out there, and in solidarity with them all, I share the Typewriter Manifesto by author Richard Polt and the flag of the Typewriter Revolution below too.
and every revolution needs a flag: