Friday, February 3, 2012

Post(Card)-A-Day 3: The Sound Of Clacking Keys - Melody or Cacophony?


  1. I totally agree. My Royal Companion is one of those typewriters, and the Olympia SM-3 is also very loud. I sometimes wear headphones, too, when typing on them.

  2. The Olympia B12 (Nakajima?) fits this description. I almost sent it with the Strike force, but she said yes to the script typer so the Studio 44 went instead.

  3. I concur, smell doesn't bother me much either (perhaps I am lucky not to have landed real stinkers). My noisiest thus far was my (retired) Remington Star-Tab, it was LOUD and the "thwack of type slugs" felt irritating.

    Take a load of this- I sometimes use a folded towel as a pad to buffer noise!
    Of course, it works only for machines that actually have a bottom cover.

    Your Princess looks neat.

  4. As I near the first anniversary of collecting typewriters seriously, my preferences have been evolving.

    Initially I am attracted to a typewriter's appearance, as most collectors probably are.

    Then the sound of it is not as important as the FEEL, for me. Smell hasn't really affected me, either.

    I notice lately that on the typewriters with action I do not particularly like (such as mushiness, hardness, or in rare cases, too light) I find that my interest in typing on such machines wanes quickly, and I become physically tired of writing anything of length on them.

    This is the way I feel about my Royal Sabre (1973). The action is a weird combination of "springy" and "mushy". Hard to describe. But it's rather tiring to type on.

  5. I recently took out my '30s streamlined Smith-Corona Sterling and found it quite gentle in its sound. I suppose the Silent model, with more padding, would be even a bit quieter. The Royal Quiet DeLuxe is also well-named, I think. As for the Remington Quiet-Riter ... not so much. And even the Noiseless machines are not soundless. ... Maybe we should create a decibel chart for typewriters!

  6. Does anyone join me in thinking that sound and feel go together--and that one can compensate for the other? My desktop Remington Noiseless 10, for instance, sounds kind of suspect (almost as if it's typing under water) but has a pleasing punch on the platen (I can feel it in my fingers!) that more than makes up for the muffled sound. My Oliver 9 makes a total racket and its different sized hoops each has each has a slightly different sound--it's a grease monkey symphony when you really get typing fast--and this absolutely outweighs the machine's harsh action.

    Then, of course, there's the ring tone. In addition to its almost frictionless touch, I like my Erika 5 is the clarity of the bell. Much more definite and forward-thinking than the rather gloomy and glassy sound of the Fox 24 that's almost three times its size and is its neighbor on my desk. But I will never be able to pound on the Erika. For that, I have to pull out my 1930s Remington 5, which has a great satisfying swing, as if, with each keystroke, I'm taking a well-balanced hatchet to the paper and carving in a letter.

    Finally, to go from the sublime to the ridiculous--I recently gave away a fine condition Royalite because it was the perfect storm: it both sounded and felt hideous and its bell was feeble and tinny. I felt ashamed to foist the poor thing on someone.


  7. I really enjoy the sound of a typewriter in use! I believe that the sound makes part of the experience... And the ringing of the bell at the end of each page is absolutely delightful :)

  8. It's the sound. I like the sound. A nice solid clackity, clakity, clack, clack, ding; zip. Next line. Not tinny like my Oly B-12 (I found one reference in an archive that the Olympia B-12 was made by Nakajima) Then the touch. A touch that does not require tons of pressure nor so light that a heavy finger sends the machine skipping. Odor? Well, if it smells like a nice machine shop machine oil the odor can be quite characteristic and acceptable. To me this is the typical typewriter aroma. Machine oil generally is not overpowering and generally only smelled by sniffing the basket area (as with my Hermes machines). However, if the stink (yep stink) is from cigarette smoke forget it. The typewriter must be quite distinct and spend perhaps weeks outside in the fresh air (have one like that still airing).

  9. I enjoy the sound. The Oliver 9 is the only machine I really notice as being loud. That's probably a function of a hard platen and the totally exposed mechanical system. It is still an entertaining machine.

    I agree with the high priority on aesthetics. The Olympia SM3 with the great italic typeface is just not an attractive color and does not get used as often because of it.

    Ultimately, the tactile sensation is what draws me to a machine. As others have noted, feel is difficult to describe. I personally enjoy a light touch, but not slushy or imprecise key strokes. The Royal Futura 800 doesn't have the feel I like, but it is forgiven for its typeface. It is currently out of rotation so the Hermes 3000 can get some exercise.

  10. If I think about what machines I have in heavy rotation, I can see that my preference is for touch, sound and typeface first, with visual appeal and scent as much smaller considerations. My Smith-Coronas and Quiet-Riter get quite a bit of desktime despite being a poopy color and sporting the Smith-Corona Funk scent.


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