The elephant in the room

by | Jan 31, 2014 | teletype, WordPlay | 15 comments

Well, I found a place for the elephantine Lorenz teletype that I picked up yesterday (at risk to my T11 and T12 vertebrae, as Scott Kernaghan pointed out).

Some of you will have thought of this before it occurred to me, but that’s why I need a smartphone. It dawned on me only when I was there: this object belongs in WordPlay’s Urban Legend Institute. So it’s now on extended loan to the ULI.

Here’s the machine ensconced in its nice wooden cabinet:

… with the top open:
… and with the central part open too, so you can admire the machinery:
Now for some panoramic shots of the room (thanks, iPhone). If a teletype belongs anywhere in the year 2014, maybe this is it. (Click to enlarge.)

And finally, a view through the shop window from the street. Sleep tight, Lorenz!


  1. Michael

    Beautiful. Perfect. The Lorenz looks very well-kept. I take it there is hope that it can be connected to the rest of the world, or at least one or two parts of it, and then it can get news reports from Europe, South America, Asia, … Or maybe it would be used to order bicycle parts from Hartford and Boston ….

    == Michael Höhne

  2. Ton S.

    A perfect fit! It looks so cool in that quirky case, I'm sure the kids will be fascinated.
    Love the panoramic shots, don't tempt me to get a smartphone!

  3. Ted

    It's perfect! Perhaps the Institute will recruit some geek to come by and wire the Lorenz to the intertubes :D

  4. Richard P

    Care for a field trip to Ohio? :)

  5. RobertG

    Perfect for wiring up as a doorbel!, or great to spew out fictitious news-items to trigger stories. Methinks Hack42 (Spider?) hooked one up recently.
    There's code on the web to I think simply use an Arduino on the USB (as Serial) on a computer to spew out the ITA2 5-bit code of every char sent to the serial over two lines that can go into the Fernschreiber. Writing a small computer prog to concoct msgs should be fun ;-)

  6. Scott K

    Looking brilliant. And it fits so nicely into that room! Mind you, keep going and at this rate you'll end up putting a Linotype machine in there too.
    Now….. If only you had a second machine to hook up somewhere else.

  7. Don Lampert

    Yes it does look cool,and it needs to be running. At least sometimes, as I know they can be noisy. Forgive me, but I don't know what Wordplay, and the Urban Legend Institute are?! I do gather from the panoramas that it's some sort of museum?? It looks well done, and historic which is always good. Thanks

  8. Anonymous

    Good memory! We have a couple actually. One is hooked up to our twitter account. ^_^

  9. Anonymous

    Beautiful scenery! Too bad we don't have something like that around here in the Netherlands.

  10. Anonymous

    Y'know, you can sometimes find those Linotype machines for less than their scrap value. The owners might even pay you to haul it away. Etaoin shrdlu!

  11. Unknown

    I recently discovered a very similar in a storage space, covered in dust and spiderwebs. The keyboard and box look the same except for the logo which is horizontal and also the keyboard and box are embedded in desk furniture.
    Any suggestions as to what to do with it?

  12. Richard P

    I recently sold mine on eBay for around $250 (local pickup only). You could try doing the same.

  13. Unknown

    That is an interesting idea although I don't expect many collectors found in Greece.
    Anyway I am expecting an estimate from a local store as to what exactly it is and if service is possible. I don't think it will sell good if it is in poor condition.
    By the way, if it is in working condition and it gets oiled and cleaned can it be used as a typewriter?

  14. Richard P

    My guess is yes, but I don't know.


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