1926 Remington, Model 12

IMG_0165Why was it that I simply HAD to own this typewriter when I saw it at the antique mart?  It’s old, yet incredibly still works perfectly (needs a new ribbon).

I wrote one, 120 page script on a typewriter and the subsequent several dozens of thousands of pages since were all done on computers.   I joke — at least I think I’m joking — that if I had to go back to a typewriter again, I’d quit screenwriting and go to medical school.  Using typewriters only served to make me NOT want to use typewriters.

So why did this typewriter need to be mine?  Maybe, as I get older I feel a link to those writers who came before me and the tools of their craft.  Maybe as  get older I get swept up in useless sentimentality.

IMG_0166Maybe it’s a reminder to me of an age when writing was a physical activity.  Each letter was deliberately pressed.  An accidental brush of a key cap and the Model 12 will hardly know that you’re alive.  You wanna “b?”  You had best press that key like you mean it!

And even the exclamation mark required effort.  You feel like shouting your point?  First you hit the single-quote key ( ‘ ) located on the Model 12 as SHIFT 8.  Then you hit the backspace key and add a period under the quote.  Voila!  An exclamation mark.

On a computer shouting’s as easy as whispering, so why whisper?  Not so with the Model 12.  You wanna make a point?  You better wanna MAKE that point cause the Model 12 is going to make you work for it.  Four keys worth of effort; it better be good.

Ahhh…I’m sure I’m romanticizing, and maybe that’s the point.  The clack-clack of a manual typewriter holds an appeal.  The sound means that someone is doing something.  Not the soft little “squish-a-chiclet” of a computer keyboard.  It’s a primal sound, like something out of the iron age.  Something transformative.  Like dozens of little hammers pounding hot ideas on the anvil of the platen in the hope that something beautiful will be beaten onto or out of the blank sheet.

Until I figure out the appeal, there my Remington Model 12 sits between my Epson RX680 and my Brother DCP7080.  One can’t help but feel a tad sorry for my Epson and Brother for they can’t  appreciate the real significance of this ancient piece of writing magic that’s now at rest between them; what the Model 12 is really saying to them: “Boys?  When you’re time is up and your technology is abandoned, nobody — NOBODY — will love you the way I am loved.  I may be from 1926, but it’s your days that are numbered.”

— Jeffrey Alan Schechter

6 Responses to “1926 Remington, Model 12”

  1. David Goulet September 23, 2009 at 12:06 pm #

    And you can shred cabbage with it. Try that with the Epson!

    Steam punk typewriters. Good stuff.

  2. David Goulet September 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    If you got that typewriter for less than $200, it was a real Remington steal.

    Ha, get it, Remington…Steele…Pierce Brosnan…oh, forget it.

  3. Martin Howard September 23, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    Hi Jeffrey,

    There is a remarkable collective experience that we all have towards typing and an incredible nostalgia for the typewriter, with an intellectual and emotional investment in it as the symbol of writing. I am not surprised that you are feeling romantic about ‘your’ machine that carves ones words onto the page.

    I am a collector of 19th century typewriters (1880s & 1890s) and have been enthralled with them for twenty years. There was an incredible variety of ingenious typewriters from the latter part of the 19th century, with over 300 models coming forth from many industrialized countries.

    Please visit my website to see some of these extraordinary machines.


    Happy typing,
    Martin Howard

  4. totallywrite September 23, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    David — you must be stopped.

    Martin — great website! Thanks for sharing your passion.


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