Sunday, February 25, 2018

Colored in black and white

By chance spotted another colored machine in a black and white movie. Any typewriter that isn't black does of course stand out, even in a monochrome film.

This fairly clearly is a two-tone Remington Portable number 3.

Near impossible to determine the color-scheme, but the character closely examining the typeface in the scene is (clearly) Charlie Chan. The typeface does play a role in the story, identifying the machine where an important note was written.

This scene is from the '35 movie 'Charlie Chan in Egypt'. Whilst most of the Charlie Chan movies are fairly decent, simple whodunnits that are still quite watchable, this instalment in the series is a bit more dated than most. Despite its generous rating on IMDb, I would say this one hasn't aged well. The far-fetched story, the acting and the cringeworthy performance of 'Snowshoes' likely make the film unpalatable to modern audiences. It all does make it a product of its era.

Let's just say that there are better Charlie Chan movies to watch today.
(Even if they're without any sightings :)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Damaged label!

Hadn't had it happen to me yet - but last week the needle jumped the groove and pirouetted onto the label.

This type of damage to the label is sometimes seen on shellac records. It's mostly on older records, early 'twenties or before. The heavy reproducer with its needle is knocked out of the groove and slides over the record onto the label, scratching a groove where it goes.

Having seen it happen now, it makes a bit more sense that it's seen mainly on older records that would've been played on gramophones without an automatic brake. When the spiral of a record hurries to the central run-out (fast - to trigger the automatic brake mechanisms), the heavy reproducer of the older gramophone is thrown out of the groove.

This record already had one such damage, so could have known it was sensitive to this with probably a very shallow groove - letting the HMV101 gramophone run out only seconds too long gave an awkward scratching sound. And another spiral on the label.

Play only on auto-brake instruments - or listen to a digital version of the same recording :)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

From Quill to Typewriter

The piece from the editor so titled is actually not about the typewriter.

Naturally writing technology progressed also prior to the writing machine, hadn't considered the milestones of progress of the pen itself this early. (More recent and better known of course the fountain pen and the ubiquitous Biro.)

The article does make me see the simple metal nib pen in a slightly different light - an artefact of technological progress and product of the industrial revolution.

Incidentally, the closest item to a typewriter in this October '30 issue of the Meccano Magazine is this Braille typing machine.