Shakespeare’s typewriter

by | Jul 5, 2013 | Uncategorized | 19 comments

Cartoon by Max Rudiari

On my trip to Stratford-upon-Avon today I didn’t actually find an Elizabethan typewriter, but I did see this fine old Bar-Lock in a shop window:

If only they’d actually typed this. I wonder whether they rotate the clever saying periodically—that would be a good gimmick.

I was also surprised to find some typewriter-related artwork in Nash’s House. (This is a house situated next to the empty lot where Shakespeare’s last house used to be. Shakespeare’s house was torn down out of spite by its grumpy Puritan owner in the 18th century, but Nash’s House gives you some sense of what a house of Shakespeare’s time was like.) This may be the first and last time that an electronic wedge has been immortalized in an oil painting:

Ironically, J.B. Priestley’s companion did not type on a Good Companion — but then again, it’s not clear that Priestley did either.

Just thought these items might be of interest to a few readers …


  1. Miguel Chávez

    If asked, I would swear that that typewriter in the painting is a first generation IBM Selectric, but maybe that's just me and my obsessions.

    Can you imagine what could have happened had The Bard (or Cervantes, for that matter) had had a typewriter back then?

    … then again, maybe that would have been a tad unfair to the great One-Armed Man of Lepanto…

    Maybe I'll start placing my typers in my shop windows, too… who knows?

    Greetings from across the pond!

  2. L Casey

    The cartoon was pretty damn funny, I must say. Also, I have to agree with Miguel; at first glance, I would have guessed Selectric as well. Of course, now I don't know what to think!

  3. Ton S.

    Cool! Hard to tell if it is indeed a Selectric as it also looks like the image on Richard's link.

    Miguel, camping and typing can mix, I'd say go for the typewriter display!

  4. notagain

    Ted beat me to it! I've seen the Olympia Compact electronic at Goodwill and laughed at the not-in-any-way-compactness of it.

  5. L Casey

    Yep…I think Ted's got it. The key layout on the left and right of the keyboard is spot on. Good eye!

  6. TonysVision

    OK, now is the phone a Panasonic or a Sony?

  7. TonysVision

    PS – thanks for the fun Shakespeare cartoon!

  8. Robert Messenger

    Did you get to Anne Hathaway's cottage outside town? If so, you might have found there a (Biro tipped) quill, looking more like Will's writing implement. I hope you had lunch in the pub over the river.

  9. Steve Snow

    On the topic of great writers, one thing I really regret not being able to do while in London last year was going to the Charles Dickens house in Holborn. The place was shut for renovation or something or other, throughout the length of my stay. If you find yourself with time to spare, I think that might be a winner. Happy travels!

  10. Richard P

    My wife saw the cottage and liked it.

    We had Pimm's at a pub founded in the 1590s, near the center of town.

  11. J.A.

    Soaking up the Shakespeare vibes here! I love that time in European history. Just finished reading Michael Wood's _In Search of Shakespeare_. The video presentation of this was beautiful but the book was more detailed and informing. Thanks for your travel reports, Richard!

  12. Bill M

    I like the contrasts between the old Bar-Lock and the wedge.

  13. Cameron

    Great cartoons!

    Whatever happened to Max Rudiari, anyway? Have any of you Typospherians heard anything about him?

    He hasn't posted in so long — even longer ago than ME, and that's saying something!

  14. Richard P

    I believe he got a new job that's very demanding. I corresponded with him not long ago about contributing cartoons to my book, and he's wililng.

  15. Ted

    Ahh, Pimm's. A visitor from London brought a bottle of that to the house and left it some years ago. Interesting flavor, but I never managed to get it into a drink recipe. :D

  16. Ted

    I had a talk with Bill down at MTE some months ago about his shop in the 80's when it was still selling new Olympia and Smith-Corona wedges. He mentions that the only real difference between a "compact" wedge and an "office duty" wedge is that the manufacturer would glue weights into the base of the "office" models to make them heavier. :D


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