Mental Floss

The Quick 10: 10 Authors and their Typewriters

Stacy Conradt
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I bought a vintage typewriter this weekend for $25. I don't think it's a particularly valuable model or anything, but it looks cool and makes a really satisfying typing noise. And there's no "1" key, because at that point in time, people were expected to use the lowercase "l" in place of the actual number one. If I can find ribbon I might actually type on it. Right now it sits on the china hutch that you have to pass to go to our bathroom, so every time I go past it I have to hit the button that makes it go "Ding!" It's driving my husband crazy. Anyway, I've obviously got typewriters on the brain, but I'm not the only one "“ these 10 authors liked theirs too.

hemingway
hemingway /
steinbeck
steinbeck /
twain
twain /
orwell
orwell /

10. P.J. O'Rourke uses an IBM Selectric as well, saying his short attention span doesn't mix well with writing on a computer. And he's right "“ it's easy to get distracted by your e-mail and Twitter and Facebook and, well, mental_floss. He also says the typewriter is a good thing because it makes authors slow down. Stephen King once said that if he had a computer back in the day, he could have written three Cujos in the time it took to type the one. "Does the world need three times as many Cujos?" O'Rourke responded dryly.

Well, after researching all of that, I have an even more romanticized idea of typewriters than I did before. Jason, from now on, I'll be submitting all of my _floss articles on typewriter paper. I'll send you a telegram so you'll know when to expect them.
Any other typewriter enthusiasts out there? Is there anything I should know about my new treasure? And can you find old typewriter ribbon anywhere other than eBay?

Hemingway, Steinbeck, Twain and Orwell pictures from Poetic Home.

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