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The Perfect Typewriter: a poll

by | Apr 13, 2014 | Uncategorized | 16 comments

16 Comments

  1. Ton S.

    Done.
    Any reason why you chose Scheidegger? Does it come close to your perfect typewriter?

    Reply
  2. Ted

    1950's Swissa Junior perhaps, as "close to perfect" at least in terms of build quality and feel. I think if I had to pick a "Desert Island" typewriter, it'd prolly be a Brother JP-1.

    Reply
  3. x over it

    I was trying to work out what my ideal typewriter would be like a little while ago…I can figure out features and their placement, but I can never decide anything on how it would look.

    Reply
  4. rino breebaart

    I took the survey, but it didn't output what my perfect machine is! ;-)

    Surely there's an app for that.

    Yes, it's called Collect Them All and See.

    Reply
  5. Richard P

    It has many merits. I don't want to prejudice anyone by getting into my preferences, though, until the poll closes.

    Reply
  6. Richard P

    My poll doesn't cover any aesthetic qualities. Maybe we should do a separate poll for that later!

    Reply
  7. MicahBly

    I had a really hard time getting past the first question (standard vs portable vs ultralight). I think it would actually be really valuable to be able to see the results of three separate surveys: ideal portable, ideal standard, etc.

    Also, and since I freed up one question by getting rid of question #1, could you ask "which side should the backspace be, right or left?" I find that key tripping me up a lot more than the tab key placement.

    Reply
  8. Unknown

    Something with the mechanical build quality and precision smoothness of a Hermes 3K, Adler, Olympia, Olivetti 44. The size and weight of a Dutch Royalite, the light touch and easy feel of a '40s/'50s Royal Quiet De Luxe mixed with a Lettera 33, the sound, loudness, and acoustical tone of a Hermes 3k merged with the Quiet De Luxe, – with an exclamation point character, elite typeface, simple tab set/clear control, basket-shift, the speed of an Adler J-series and a KMM/KMG and Smith Corona super-5 series, clamshell type case cover, brushes included, rubber feet that really grip and also insulate vibration a bit, metal/aluminum body/shell, easy carriage removal and access to vital adjustment screws/nuts, machined/polished-smooth carriage track rails like the Adler, keytops shaped like the '60s Hermes 3k.

    Brad

    Reply
  9. rn

    Sadly, I found I couldn't answer many of your basic questions. For instance, I love the feel/touch of typing with my 1958 Alpina. But the backspace and shift are annoyingly heavy. So, should I say I prefer segment shifted machines, with a different location for the backspace key? The problem is, my Alpina is a wide carriage model–so the issue is likely compounded by the sheer size and balance of what needs to be moved. What's more, I own some highly regarded basket shifted beasts that I find spongy and annoying (Lettera 22, anyone?) and carriage shifted machines that are light and responsive (Patria, Royal model P, Remington Noiseless 7 & 10).

    I'm with Rino: accumulate as many as you can and try them all.

    Reply
  10. Rob Bowker

    I think it sort of depends on the situation. The Olivetti Graphika is the only serious contender for sub-500 word spooncasts, but I wouldn't want to write a novel on it. It just isn't snappy enough.

    Reply
  11. Ping A

    The hard question for me to answer in the survey was the choice of typeface. My dream manual typewriter would have a double shift (a bit like the 3-bank Underwood) which allows you to switch from Pica to cursive/italics typeface. So each slug would need to have 4 styles of the one letter on them (lowercase Pica, uppercase Pica, lowercase cursive/italics, uppercase cursive/italics). Too much to ask for?

    Although I haven't tried that many typers, if I had to pick one today to write a book with it would be the Hermes 3K.

    Reply
  12. Nick Bodemer

    I think mine basically came out to be a Brother portable, or a Smith-Corona Corsair

    Reply
  13. teeritz

    The size of a Lettera 32.
    The shape/design of a SM2.
    The feel of a Quiet De Luxe.
    That would just about do it for me.

    Reply
  14. Miguel Chávez

    Why, an IBM Selectric, of course! Though it would have to be a "Frankentyper" of sorts: Selectric I case with Selectric II carbon ribbon and correcting mechanism, Selectric III character set, with Olympia SG3 decimal tabulator capability, and with a self-winding spring-driven mechanism to power the whole shebang without having to tie it to an electric outlet. Think of a sturdy spring that would use the carriage return movement to store energy, which would then be used by the mechanism. Any Gyro Gearloose out there willing to give that idea a shot?

    Reply
  15. Brian

    My Royal HH comes close to perfection. I love my Olympia SG3, but it has issues. That's for manuals. For electric, no question at all: the IBM Selectric III. You can type for days on that thing without feeling anything but joy at the growing pile o' pages.

    Reply
  16. Ton S.

    This is an awesome survey, thanks for this project! I look forward to the published version.

    Royal Aristocrat??? What a surprise! What model exactly? Surely, you don't mean the Safari version.

    Reply

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