Survey results

by | Jun 6, 2012 | Uncategorized | 9 comments

Hi everyone,

Here are the results so far of my survey on whether I should turn the Purple Prose Producer into a USB typewriter.

YES!  18 votes, 43.9%

NO! 22 votes, 53.7%

I don’t know: 1 vote, 2.4%.


use a crappy machine for that!
If you feel like doing so, of course you should! You can always burn the result :p
Go for it, Richard! Dan NM
Got to say, to what problem would a USB typewriter be a solution for?
It doesn’t meet the nature of the typewriter at all.
I want very much to have a USB typewriter, though like you my soldering skills are not there yet. If you do attempt, please let do post pics!
Such a marvel never have to be put onto the digital world. After the improvement that you did on this typewriter, surely even your grandsons will be able to use it. Josep Gonzalez – Barcelona (Spain)
After all that work it will take, you will have wanted to have done it to a typewriter you love.
I am not a fan of USB conversion but in the case of your purple pimped torpedo, it fits. Yes!
I say pimp it, techno style. But there is a catch: once sucessful, you should take it to a local Maker Faire along with non-USB machines to hook the nerd masses.
it depends on whether it’s suitable. Mine (a Remette) has the electronics pushing the ribbon vibrator up and I can’t see the line of type.
Even though that would make this one a superpowered typewriter, and a very practical one at that, I think that wouldn’t hold true to the charm of a typewriter: free from any sort of tethers, the typewriter in its purest form is a self-contained machine, free from any sort of connection.
Converting it yourself should be great fun and with a USB typewirter you stilll get full typewriter functionality when it is not connected to your PC (or Mac)
I’d use a simple, plain Jane Olivetti or a plastic case Olympia for that purpose, and not a beautiful, fully personalized and functional machine like the Turbo Purple Prose Producer.
The Turbo Purple Prose Producer is about 50 years old. How long will USB last?
Yes, but not the PPP. That’s distinctive enough as it is, and it’s “hot rod” appearance is in perfect juxtaposition to its manual state. I’d be interested in a Typospherean’s view on using and living with a USB Typewriter but would suggest it be a new, separate project.

Evidently, there are plenty of strong opinions on both sides of this question (more reactions were posted as replies to the post where you can find the survey, and you are still able to vote there or leave more comments).

So far the nays have it, although not overwhelmingly. For the moment, at least, I won’t be USB-izing this typewriter.

I had a fine time in Spain and Italy, including meetings with other typewriter collectors, and I hope to share some of my experiences here when time permits — I have plenty to catch up on, including moving 100+typewriters out of my office so the building can be renovated. A huge job!


  1. Ton S.

    That's quite a close vote, I think it's good to leave it as is for now.

    I can't even wrap my brains around the thought of moving more than a hundred typewriters. All best!

    Why do I have a feeling that you got yourself a couple of Italian and Hispano Olivettis?

  2. Richard P

    Ha ha, you're not far off. By prior arrangement, I picked up an Olivetti MP1 (ICO) with Belgian keyboard, a Triumph Norm 6, and a Tachotype stenograph. A yellow Hispano-Olivetti Studio 42 is on its way to me by mail.

  3. Ton S.

    Ha! I kew it. Can't wait for your posts on them.

    Off topic, I thought of you when I saw a stunning machine on Etsy. It's beyond my price range but might be something you'd want (correct me if I'm wrong). I checked your collection and you don't have it. I also have not found any info on it online. You might want to check it out just in case:


  4. Clark

    As far as converting a typewriter to USB, it seems that the conversion can be reversed if desired. Since it won't destroy the machine, I don't see any reason not to.

    I'm sure using the typewriter as a keyboard for a pc will take some getting used to, since the keystrokes will be quite different.

  5. Bill M

    I wonder if the Nos on the survey know that adding USB does not hurt the typewriter. Glad you enjoyed your trip. Is the University building you a museum within your new office?

  6. Anonymous

    Honestly, your office must be an actual warehouse. How on earth do you fit 100+ typewriters into it? Perhaps I've missed it in the past, but can you post pics of your office? I'd be very interested to see it (I dig seeing how others set up their work spaces).

  7. Richard P

    Here's a glimpse. My office is pretty big and has lots of bookshelves and a closet. Everything is crammed with $#@^&* typewriters (or was until today I finished hauling them to a storage site).

  8. Anonymous

    All I can say is, "Wow!"

    On another note, do you give extra credit to students for turning in their papers written on a typewriter? And if so, do students constantly ask to borrow one from your office? (More questions which you've probably addressed in the past, but I'm still new around here.)

  9. Richard P

    Although I have given away numerous typewriters to students, who say they enjoy them, I think no one had turned in a typewritten paper until I made that a possible "communications exercise" for my seminar this spring. You can find some students' reflections on the exercise here.


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