Sunday, December 30, 2018

Was that an American Caligraph 2 typewriter?

In a light and (then) slightly risqué comedy film, released in 1933, one of the main characters is a playwright who uses a typewriter. Perhaps to illustrate the unconventional, bohemian atmosphere he's not using a 'normal', contemporary machine, but an ancient upstrike typewriter.

Not to give away too much of the plot, but she did not keep things oiled as promised while he was away. The keys are rusty and the shift is broken, complains he. (But the bell still rings!)

This typewriter even gets a good close-up.

The machine doesn't have any recognisable decals, but it looks a lot like an American Caligraph 2 that would probably date from the 1880s. Even back then this would have been a fifty year old typewriter. Decidedly quaint looking, both for today and for a 1933 viewer.

So a small factual error; as can be seen from the impressive amount of keys, this is a full keyboard typewriter - so would not have a shift.

But then, the comments are metaphorical - the typewriter being a prop. This is after all a 'pre-code' film and one by Lubitsch at that :)


  1. Love those double-entendres in early talkies.

    Even in 1899, a Caligraph was considered ancient (see The Enchanted Type-Writer, by John Kendrick Bangs).

  2. This is a model 4, Has more keys then the 2.