Friday, February 22, 2008

UPDATE: Typewriter keyboard configurations

The excitement never stops here at the Nostalgic blog!

I knew this was in that garage somewhere. "Smith & Corona" after 1924 (when Smith and Corona merged).

The 5 top row keys perform tab functions; they do not type characters. Numerical keys share the same characters as their counterparts in the 1950-ish machines.

Here, the ? shares the apostrophe key, and above the forward slash, you get a three-fourths fraction character! Wow. Still no plus sign.

Pictures 2 & 3:

Both the Underwood and the Smith Corona date from -- sheesh, am I supposed to know? Late 40's, early 50's? And their keyboards are almost identical. One exception: back space key on the Underwood, right-pointing arrow (Indent? But why have both that and a tab key?) on the S-C.

But both have %, both have (what was that secret formula again?? Never mind) cents characters, and neither has a + . Possibly, one could create a + by using a dash superimposed on an apostrophe?

And that quotation mark (above the 2) must mean that these were high end models, because I remember my mother's typewriter in the 1960's, which required the use of two apostrophes instead.

Guess those fraction characters were important.

(The tag dates from our yard sale in 1999. Everyone who looked at these got my sales-pitch: "You'll be needing that Y2K word processor! Haha!" And every one of them said "Haha!" and then, obviously, didn't buy one.)

This last picture comes from the Sears 1969 catalog, and didn't scan too well, but the basics are that it had a treasure trove of keys! %, fractions, and a + key as well. The cents character might be above the 7. Unless that's some other character I haven't thought of. It's as unreadable in the real-life catalog as it is in the scan.

(Passers-by can find the origin of this discussion in the comments for this nellieblogs entry.)

Isn't she a little beauty!

1 comment:

Mike said...

There was a point at which I had access to two typewriters -- I think it was when I worked in TV in 1976 -- and they differed on the position of the quotation marks/apostrophe key. Fortunately, the one at work had the correcting tape feature, so I could stop, curse, back up, cover it over, back up, do it right, move on. Which in those days was considered quite convenient. Though not as convenient has having consistent keyboards would have been.