[Tom Biederbeck] Janine Vangool, editor/publisher/designer of the Canadian design magazine UPPERCASE, has a serious affinity for the typewriter. We can relate. She’s taking her affection to the next level in her forthcoming book, The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine, and you can get in on the romance.
At one time ubiquitous in homes, offices and workplaces, the typewriter may be passé, but the machine itself—as much as any other artifact of the industrial age—embodied the technologies and sociologies of its century-long life. Vangool’s envisioned book promises “typewriter memorabilia, intriguing historical documents and entertaining anecdotes” in a hardcover, 9 x 11-in. color format.
In addition to the pre-orders and perqs, Vangool is still accepting memorabilia, etc. (Details on supporting the project at her blog.) Here’s what she told me about the project:
“I’ve been infatuated with typewriters since a young age. My mother was a professional secretary, so through her I was first exposed to the machine. We never had a typewriter at home. Perhaps my mom was too tired of them from her daily routine to also have one. On short school days, I’d take the bus downtown to her office and spend an hour or two amusing myself typing on her electric machine. I loved the immediacy of hitting a key and seeing a letter inscribed onto paper. I suppose it was an introduction to publishing as well!
A few years ago, before prices skyrocketed, I began to collect typewriters—a particular model circa 1956 called the Royal Quiet Deluxe that was manufactured in a beautiful array of typical 1950s colors such as turquoise, pink, teal, yellow and red. While perusing eBay, I came across vintage typewriter tins: the small round metal containers that house ribbons. Until seeing one of these tins online, I had no idea of the beauty and wealth of products and designs that were made in support of the typewriter industry.
After collecting for a number of years, I began to see the possibility of a book. The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine is a visual survey of the artifacts associated with the machine. The machine’s 100-plus years of history coincides with graphic design emerging as a profession as well as women in the workforce. With a few World Wars as well, the timeline of the typewriter is quite interesting.”
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