Showing posts with label Optima Super. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Optima Super. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One Year Anniversary: Picture Heavy!

Today marks the first anniversary of Vintage Technology Obsessions.  Before I go any further, I want to thank all of you who regularly visit this blog.  I'd like to think that I would keep going without page views, but the truth is I like to see the number go up and the comments and conversations are greatly appreciated.

In the spirit of this blog and the Typosphere, this is a hybrid post.  I think I will use a few different typewriters.  Do you recognize the machines from their typefaces?

Yeah, typewriters are real; typographical errors and all.  The machines:  Underwood Deluxe Quiet Tab, Royal Signet, Olympia SM-7, Remington Mark II (a plastic Torpedo) and a 1932 Royal known as Keylime.  I lust after a machine with German blackletter or an Olivetti Graphika.

I've been surprised at some of the posts that have picked up the most hits; mostly from Google searches.  I'm glad that I diversified content from the beginning.  I blog because I love learning about many obscure subjects that have nothing to do with my professional life.  I also love photography and this is a fun avenue for me to share images.

Here are some of my favorite images from the last year:

This little guy was a graduation gift for a friend of the family.

Svetlana Optima is our mysterious Cold War throwback.  She was manufactured in East Germany in the early '50s and has some pretty serious trust issues.  This comes from her new ribbon day.
And now for some statistics.  Thanks to readers such as yourself, this blog passed the 16,000 pageview mark on August 11.  The top ten posts by pageview, paraphrased and in descending order, are:

ITAM Special Report: The Eight Millionth Remington
Remembering Ralph McQuarrie
Zeiss Ikon/ICA Folding Camera
Juvenile Cold War Space Fiction
Happy Typewriter Day from Keylime
The Birthday Blog Post from Space
Royal Typewriter Rescue(feature Old Red, a Royal with the Vogue typeface rescued from choppers)
A Tale of Two Cameras (the modern Sony NEX3 coupled with Olympus PEN F lenses)
Mousiest Royal Futura (a not all that fun to type on Royal with an awesome cursive typeface)
B-36 Restricted Report (Features an SM-9 keeping track of the dreaded Svetlana Optima)

And here is the subject of the top post, Remington number 8,000,000.

Just full of awesome and kind of OK to type on.  This machine receives plenty of Google search hits.

If only I could keep the bench this tidy.
Being an Art Deco icon, this machine starred in its own movie "Last Stand at the Remington".
This is an outtake from the hit movie "Last Stand at the Remington".

Yeah, totally growing up would be pretty boring.
This is the first typecast with our Senatorial Olympia SM-9.  Racoons had recently dug a hole through our roof.
This man of mystery was a hit at the 2011 Kansas City Maker Faire.

The dreaded Dollar Store "Spacebot" testing out that old saw about the pen being mightier than the sword.  However, Bill has some muscle in the form of a junk part R2-C4 unit.

I'm still bitter about losing a whole summer worth of B-grade movie reruns to the Watergate hearings.

You don't want to know.

Here's our family mascot, Trollie!  Isn't that the most creative name you've ever heard?

Gotta love southern Florida.  There was a guy shooting a monster handgun towards a 40 foot fiberglass panther on the other side of the parking lot.  Ah, the memories Trollie and I have together.

Two extremely shiny typewriters.  They don't get used nearly enough what with my weird typeface fetish.  The gold Royal goes by the name of Margo.

Thank goodness we have a good copy editor in the house!  What fate awaits this tough Royal?

Like a candle in the Windy City.  Poor Marilyn is about to lose her head.

Keylime and Old Red, the Vogue typeface Royals.  The one on the right is named Keylime.  That was redundant, but I am too lazy to reconfigure the link.

Such a happy couple.  Too bad they are about to be mauled by zombies!

"Do you hear moaning?  I swear I hear moaning."

Imaging the Transit of Venus with a pair of binoculars.

Shopping for the perfect violin for Hannah.  It was a great experience.  The bow cost more than my first car.  Sure, the car was a beater, but you get the idea.

In the violin finish lair.  This strings shop is a great maker space.

My portable typecasting machine for our summer vacation.  We came back to a very long stretch of hot and a drought that came out of nowhere.

Something shiny from the Art of the Car Concours.

This is a nice rat rod from the Kansas City Good Guys show.  The Duesenberg at the Concours was worth more than a Belgian dressage horse.  The rat rod?  Not so much, but it is awesome!

3-D printing pretty much rocks.  This is from the 2012 Kansas City Maker Faire.

Souped up kiddie cars in the Power Wheels racing series.
This is Super Awesome Sylvia and her dad, the Tech Ninja doing some live science at the 2011 Kansas City Maker Faire.

This is precisely why we need maker culture.  We are so proud of Curiosity's team!  I still have a rendering of the skycrane lowering Curiosity set as my wallpaper.  We haven't forgotten Opportunity, either.

The team, as seen on my LCD during the live streaming of the landing.  Dang, where is that sexy Mohawk Guy?

Ahhhh!!!! Not only is he adorable, the Christmas Squirrel will bring your family socks and undies.  Part 1 on "The Origins of the Christmas Squirrel" is found here.  Yes, there is a Part 2 and the story involves Nikola Tesla, Erwin Schrodinger and a certain Mr. Edison.  It was cold outside and I was on vacation.

Claire's most awesome repurposed Christmas present to me.
This is one of Claire's friends.  She is a convert to the ways of the typewriter.  We gave her an Olympia SM-9 with the Senatorial (robot) typeface.  She is a total typeface junkie and can tell you about the history and design of many typefaces.  That may be atypical for the average eleven-year-old.

Claire (aka: gingercat) and the Six Fingered Man's twin brother at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Thanks again to all of you that follow or have happened upon this crazy, mixed up blog of mine!  It's gotten a little serious in the last couple of months.  Me thinks it is time to break out some Hong Kong knock-off robots and a jumbo Machinder.  Yes, that would do nicely!

Copyright:  The Copyright is a noble beast that I, the owner of the blog known as Vintage Technology Obsessions, claims for my own.  With the exception of the images of the amazing Curiosity, all images and text are mine and are copyright 2011 and 2012.  Regular readers would not need to be reminded that, in addition to legal recourse, if someone were to pilfer my images for use without attribution or for commercial use of any form they would likely be awakened in the middle of the night by the buzz and hiss of a flying, steam powered Oliver Number 99 hovering over their bed.  Thieves, you have been suitably warned.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

B-36 RESTRICTED Report - Optima's Cold War Redux

A priceless bit of Cold War Ephemera
Love the cartoon.  At one point in time, letting this book out into the wild probably would have resulted in many years in the Leavenworth Disciplinary Baracks. 
The B-36 was one of the largest airplanes ever built.  It was literally a flying fortress with multiple gun turrets.  The Maintenance Digest details adjustments to make the guns work right while limiting their ability to shoot something off the host airplane.  The drawing is luscious.  Can't you just picture this inside an Oliver?
I scanned some representative drawings.  The text is wonderful and full of descriptive language on how to properly warm up the vacuum tubes in the Thyratron Controller.  This was way before integrated circuits.
I like working with electrical circuits.  I can't say I'm that good with them, but at least I can understand visible circuitry.
I love our paranoid typewriter friends.  They remind me of the Spy vs. Spy cartoons from Mad Magazine.

More information than you can possibly want to know about the B-36 bomber is located on Wikipedia and the Interweb at large.  Yes, they really did have a nuclear powered prototype.  They flew it cross country over America.  It's almost like they were trying to help the Soviets, but the Cold War was a different era and a little radiation couldn't get in the way of national defense. 

This is one of my favorite old technical documents.  One reason is exclusivity:  how many of these could actually have been made?  Most should have been shredded.

This particular copy I found mixed with auto parts on a vendor's table at an automotive swap meet in Lawrence, Kansas.  So exciting to find something this nerdy in the wild!  There were and are substantial air bases in Kansas as well as multiple aerospace producers.  Perhaps someone brought this classified document home as a souvenir.  I'll never know how it came to be at a swap meet, but I'm glad I found it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Svetlana Optima's Rules for Survival

This is the first experiment in using an actual scanner instead of camera for posting a typecast.  Claire, codename gingercat, had some unfortunate experiences over the last week.  She is as tough and lucky as the average secret agent.  Svetlana has grudging admiration for those qualities.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Svetlana Optima - New Ribbon Day!

Svetlana's new ribbon arrived courtesy of Tom at Cambridge Typewriter.  Recall that Svetlana is an Optima Super made in East Germany.  She lived in a basement for decades before crossing the border from Canada via ebay.

Svetlana totally missed the reunification of Germany.  We patiently explained it to her, but she has trust issues.

Like I said:  trust issues.  End comments by one of her co-conspirators redacted to protect the "innocent".

Svetlana Dusts off Tools of the Trade
Perhaps we should be concerned.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Say Hello to Svetlana Optima

Svetlana is the latest typewriter to join our crew and the first to have a name other than the brand.

Why Svetlana?

Well, first she looked too curvy and attractive to be a guy typewriter. Much of our angular and aggressively mechanical anthropomorphic technology is to assumed to be male. It just isn't fair – ask either of my girls.

Second, Svetlana is an Optima Super typewriter built in the early 1950s in East Germany during the peak of the Cold War. With such an exotic heritage, how could we not give her a name?

To be honest, we struggled with choosing a name. Technically, as a German made in an Olympia factory which happened to be caught in the USSR she should have a popular German name. Elise, however, was already taken as one of our daughter's middle names.

So why not assume that her time spent in Canada (could not be legally imported into the U.S.) had something to do with Soviet espionage? I checked lists of Soviet spies in the US on Wikipedia and was amazed at just how many there were. Svetlana Optima has a nice ring to it; perhaps she was a double agent or one of James Bond's nemeses.

The Optima brand was relatively short lived and most likely the victim of central planning priorities. Many were designed for the export market including our standard QWERTY keyed machine which found a home in Canada.

Svetlana must have spent many years living in a basement before beginning her new life as a US citizen courtesy of ebay. She and her case reeked of mildew. I gave her the standard treatment of a full day dose of Kansas 100 degree sun with the superheated air from the air conditioner unit blowing through the chassis. That approach failed and I am happy to report that washing a typewriter, or at least a high quality one, in the sink is totally doable. Drying in said conditions followed by judicious oiling has made this machine as smooth as butter. One of my kids commented on how the keys are as easy to move as on their laptop. Smooth.

Svetlana is loaded with beautifully machined and cast steel and chromed steel parts. The body is cast aluminum with a moderately glossy coat of green paint. The only plastic I've found is in the lusciously green keys, adjustment grips and just under where the ribbons go. The ribbon smells just as bad as the machine once did so a new one is on order.

We love new ribbon day.