Saturday, March 30, 2013

Olivetti Lexikon 80 Production Lines

I ran across some images of the various production lines for the Lexikon 80 and thought I should share them with the Typosphere. Go to the host website for the Ivrea plant image below and you can zoom for detail.

Source (in Italian):

And some Lexikon 80s running down conveyors in various degrees of completion:
 This image came from the same website. Find what looks like a search window and plug in "Lexikon" for more gems!

With the right Italian search phrase, more results start coming in through a Google search. This appears to be a final quality control and adjustment step in Brazil.
Flip through the Fotogallerie for more images from this production facility. They were very proud of the architectural details. I wonder if this building still exists?

Did you know Olivettis could fly? I suppose it would help if I read Italian. This production line image comes from a wonderful group showing the diversity of Olivetti's range of products being manufactured.

And here is a low resolution image of the body shells being mated with the rest of the machine:

Thank goodness for the Internet! I didn't expect to find much about making these fine machines, but the search turned up all kinds of interesting tidbits. For example, here is the beast itself from another great collection of product images. Sure looks like Kodachrome to me.

Also, I have a semi-rhetorical question for the Typosphere. Let's say one were to acquire a grubby Lexikon 80 in the least appealing shade of light gray. While it would be possible to strip off layers of nicotine and polish and wax the machine, would it be a Cardinal Typeratti Sin to consider painting it in another Olivetti shade or strip it to bare aluminum and polish it?

Feel free to post your opinions or throw rocks at me in the comments. They are moderated, but other than spam it all gets through.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Typewriter Pool Fashion Show Installation

Under normal circumstances, I would have no interest in fashion or fashion shows. However, at the London Fashion Week, the Orla Kiely brand got creative and put their models in a faux office setting to show off their Margot Tenanbaum inspired clothing line. Our gold plated Royal QDL, Margot, approves.

Photo credit to the Kris Atomic Blog
The blog from whence these photos came is at Kris Atomic - Orla Kiely AW'13

The typewriters appear to be Olympia SG-3 models. I love the desk lamps and telephones. Overall, the detail work is fabulous!

You can find a video of the installation here Independent UK Video - Orla Kiely Typewriter Pool

I especially enjoy seeing the press pool shooting away from the glassed in mezzanine. They were probably relieved to have something different than a runway shoot to keep them interested. Of course, the whole installation looks vaguely like something from a zoo; but isn't that more intellectually honest than a runway?

Credit goes to the UPPERCASE Magazine blog for pointing to this bit of awesome. We finally subscribed and might even chip in for the typewriter book project.
Uppercase Magazine Blog

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Washington, D.C.: A Tourist Taking Photos of Tourists Being Tourists

At the end of February, I made a two-plus day trip out and back to Washington, D.C. for meetings. I had a few hours scattered here and there that weren't totally programmed, so I took walks with my Panasonic LX-7. Over the years, I've spent quite a bit of time there with bigger and better cameras in tow. This time, I kept it simple and decided to focus on the tourists being tourists.

That would make me a tourist photographing tourists being tourists. It's like a hall of mirrors that never quite ends. If someone looks at this post, they will have added a layer of voyeurism that stops several steps short of actually taking a photo.

I've spent enough time in D.C. that I can navigate the streets on foot and the subway system without getting lost. I stand to the right and pass on the left. I have a favorite Asian restaurant (Rice), a favorite Vegetarian restaurant (Science Club), favorite walking routes and people watching zones and a favorite bookstore. I talk to people in D.C. daily and have dark suits that blend in. I don't really think of myself as being a tourist when I am there.

That is an illusion. My rambling is just another kind of tourism.

The people above might as well be me: lone street photographers out looking for something interesting to shoot. Were they in D.C. for work? Did they travel for pleasure and let the rest of the family hang out someplace warm? I personally hate being trapped in a hotel room and I am not a coffee house or sports bar kind of guy.

The truth is that I like wandering alone with my camera. I enter a flow state in which many hours pass until I notice that I am tired, thirsty and hungry. I love my family, but we get along better when they don't have me setting the pace with my meandering.

I'm aware of the paradox that I enjoy watching people interact at monuments more than I enjoy being with people interacting at monuments. This is a side effect of having spent hundreds of hours wandering and watching. It is nearly impossible for me to not frame images even when don't have a camera in hand. And so I watch and enjoy.

And sometimes I actually get around to reviewing my images and post them for the world to see. Ultimately, I've decided that other people seeing my photos really doesn't matter that much. I could try and compete with the flood of amazing and sometimes enhanced photographs floating around Flickr, Google+ Communities, DPReview, Instagram, etcetera; but ultimately I would judge my images as coming up short.

No matter. I experienced taking the photos and remember what it felt like (cold and windy with no warmth from the February sun) and a few souls have come along for the ride. If you have read this far, thanks for being one of them.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The New Era Ophthamologist Chair

I spotted this ophthalmologist's chair on my last trip to a local antique mall. It is a pretty amazing piece of equipment! Unfortunately, the digital trail is dead. I can't find anything about the 'New Era' brand on the Internet.

Today is Pi Day. How about a few circles to commemorate this magic number?

This photo reminds me of the Curiosity rover.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Natalie's Amazing Postcard!

Back on January 31st, Natalie of natslaptaps ran a postcard contest. For a measly email, entrants would have the chance to win a genuine, built-by-hand postcard featuring her new "loopy script" Olivetti, Coraline. Unfortunately for Natalie, and fortunately for me, no one was paying attention and I won a postcard!

But people of the Typosphere, let it be known that Natalie does not do run-of-the-mill postcards. Nope, not by a long shot. Behold this fabulous creation...

A photo or scan cannot do this justice. This is all hand cut and pasted paper under laminate. The script on the bottom is courtesy of Coraline.

But that is not all. Oh, no. This postcard has a backside that folds out just so with a full type sample!

Postmarked on February 8th, this bit of mail considerably improved my mood when it arrived on March 1st soon after the second Kansas City blizzard in a week. Perhaps Australian post was slow, or perhaps the envelope spent some time in the sun before traveling to less hospitable climes.

Natalie, thanks for the awesomeness! You must let me know which obscure typeface you want a sample of.  The IBM Executive lives in the open and is ready to type. It's too big to stash. There is the perky italic of the Olympia SM-3. The funky Royal script machine likes to show off. I'm very close to having an Apothecary keyboard machine in running condition. So many sumptuous choices; which one shall it be?

As for the Typosphere, the first two people to read this and reply in the comment section will win a vintage postcard with one of the interesting typefaces listed above. One catch: You must share which typewriter typeface is your personal favorite.

I don't have Natalie's artistic skills, but I have machines and I will use them. Comments are moderated, so enter early and often!

Yet another Copyright Notice: Um, this time I do not own the copyright to anything but the words in this post. The postcard, front and back, is marked Copyright by Natalie, 2013.  Show a little love for her paper craft and link back to her blog.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Remington 8 Number 8,000,000 80th Birthday!

On March 1, 1933, Remington manufactured its eight-millionth machine. Unlike most typewriters, we know exactly when this one was made since they affixed an engraved nameplate.

A proper birthday celebration might have featured party hats, party favors, a Deco style layer cake, lots of sugared up portable typewriters, a bouncy castle, dancing bears, mimes, jugglers, fire-eaters and a Polka band. However, it's Friday and we are just getting over the latest blizzard and the school/work week. MEK of the House Full of Nerds baked banana bread today. I'll take fresh banana bread over a store bought cake any day!

As I was taking these photos, my Spousal Unit, MEK, commented that "This has to be the Nerdiest thing we've ever done!" Well, I beg to differ. We went one step further and sang "Happy Birthday" to the typewriter. Extreme Nerds have no limits!

You can read about this lovely machine in excruciating/loving detail at ITAM Special Report: The Eight Millionth Remington

If you dare, read all about this machine's acting debut at "Last Stand at the Remington"  Godzilla loves the attention!

This was all Teeritz's fault. That and an impulse control issue on my part.

Happy Birthday, Remington!

The Dread Copyright Notice: All words and images are copyright Dwayne F. of vintagetechobsessions. Beyond penalties allowed under law, we have a legion of barely controlled robots and giant monsters at our command. You don't really want to meet them in the middle of the night. Share the love and link back to this site. I'm good with non-commercial use with attribution. See, I can be totally reasonable.