Typewriters III

by scotslawstudent

I am now the owner of a 1972 Olympia Sg3. This is a gigantic, desk bound typewriter hailing from West Germany. It’s good for sitting at and looking at the words you have typed after the fact but feels exactly like typing in the way that anyone would today associate with a computer, with one notable exception. The backspace key exists on my typewriter but it is not the same as a backspace key on a computer – the carriage moves back one space but the letter does. NOT go away. The general way that I correct my text on this (I’m using the typewriter)is backspacing through the mistake and replacing them with hard typed x’s which serve to delete the mark and then to take a half line gap upwards and retype the particular word.

It produces text which, although completely legible, is also immutable, your notes are written exactly as typed them. My particular model won’t exceed 10pt but that is more than enough for my purposes. The real power of the typewriter, as I’m finding it, is genuinely being able to take the typed page out of the typewriter and to edit it and, then once you start to redraft to actually type the entire page out again, thereby exposing yourself to the words and arguments you’re put¬ting across without being able to cheat (as I often do) and reusing the typing of earlier versions. The fact that each draft is completely new is a useful step to forcing me to actually think about what I’m trying to submit.

It’s possibly a little hopeful to see this as a panacea as far as producing quality work but it is a tool which a) I’m going to want to use and b) one which by nature of its very construction a device that will require each draft to be thoughtfully produced, instead of simply recycled. I hope that will produce a better finished product than simply copy and pasting into different shapes.