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Friday, March 30, 2012

questions cont'd

The story of this Royal, for those just catching up, is at this link

questions 12-15

Typospherians I have met in person:

Little Flower Petals
Strikethru - I still get a lot of traffic by way of strikethru.
Snohomish Writer (seems to be inactive, I hope he's okay)
Typewriter Alley

Just Write

In Phoenix, I met the lovebirds Ted  and Tori - we had a type-in at a Chinese restaurant.  And I had a repair done by Bill at Mesa Typewriter.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

more q&a

The JFK one is labeled mid-1930's but mine's from 1942 and isn't crinkle paint a 40's thing?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Nice Sunday

We had a nice bike ride in Olympia after Blintzapalooza! and Book Sale at Temple Beth Hatfiloh
On the way home I was driving so we stopped to check the bins and hit paydirt!

In other news, I'm going to answer the questions from Retro Tech Geneva one at a time on whatever typewriter I'm using, so here goes.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

same only different

they even modified the ribbon color selector!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Formatting experiment

I'm noticing that the best way to avoid the picture-viewer thing is to format to page width, but also that images are re-sized horizontally when they are of different lengths.  It's annoying.  So, I'm trying out different paragraph snippets to find out the optimum size.

Monday, March 5, 2012


setting up my new pc - a Dell inspiron duo.

  here's my Kindle software all set
and here I am at Straight Key Night, copying on the Navy mill.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Typewriter Cushion Keys

All I wanted to do was find out about these keytops that had been left on my typewriters.  If oz.typewriter has taught us anything, however, it’s that no story is simple and that there are always numerous characters, and that the story is never really over.  I still can’t believe that with the collectability of ephemera surrounding typewriters, these have not become a category with some research behind them.
So I was on my own.  One of the early searches led to the clipping reproduced below.  In this note from 1907, we learn that there was a new invention of a “…pneumatic thimble of rubber – a tiny cushion for whatever finger or fingers are most strained by the machine.”  I clipped a lot more because the music typewriter and the “Tears of a Typist” clippings were amusing as well.  I can’t tell for certain if the fingers wear the cushions or if this refers to the key covers.  In use, they would be more hindrance than help if not installed as a full set.

Pitman's journal of commercial education, Volume 66

By Sir Isaac Pitman

Moving on, I looked specifically for “Peerless Rubber Keys” as the first brand name by which I knew this product.  They were patented in 1935 by Otto Kretchmer.

I was reasonably certain they were older than that but the record showed no references.  I kept trying word combinations until I hit on Munson’s Speed Keys, and traced it by his name to patent 793462.

This patent is still being referenced.  Suddenly this topic has relevance?  shrug.  It is interesting, at least to me. 
Referenced by
Aug 1, 1979
Jul 14, 1981
Casio Computer Co., Ltd.
Key button structure for electronic devices
May 20, 1982
Feb 19, 1985
Toho-Polymer Kabushika Kaisha
Keyboard key with embedded top character
Feb 18, 1997
Aug 3, 1999
Low-impact keyboard
Dec 17, 1999
Dec 24, 2002
No-impact keyboard
Dec 4, 1998
Sep 14, 2004
Method of preventing and/or alleviating repetitive use injury to electronic computer keyboard operator

Munson’s improvement here appears to be to the method of affixing them to the machine, by means of a collar, or as he refers to it, a “thimble” – now where have we seen that before?
This provides some clues that the Munson keys were not the first either.  In fact Munson refers to another patent of his own, jointly with Thomas Hodgkiss:

Which led me to  patent 832617

Which is also still being referenced. 
Referenced by
Sep 17, 1990
Mar 1, 1994
Cushioning means for keyboard keys
Oct 21, 1997
May 4, 1999
Impact absorbing keyboard, contoured to the natural shape of the hand and method of using
Jan 13, 1999
Feb 6, 2001
Prosper Street Technologies, L.L.C.
Impact absorbing keyboard, contoured to the natural shape of the hand
Aug 7, 2000
Dec 18, 2001
Individual key covers for computer keyboards
May 3, 2000
Feb 27, 2007
Prosper Street Technologies, LLC
Keyboard contoured to the natural shape of the hand
What is of interest is that this improvement was to make them more rigid.  Munson claimed that the earlier versions were collapsing with use.  this one applied some bracing internally.

This is where I am right now.  I have yet to find an advertisement for Speed Keys, or Peerless Rubber Keys, or any other brand (though rarely a boxed set of one or another will come up for sale online).  I want to know if typing competitors were allowed to use them, and if so, were there any endorsements?  I am also looking for other references such as the Pittman’s Journal above.  Most of all I want to know if any typospherians have these and what you think of them.


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