California Typewriter

Tom Hanks California Typewriter

Nowadays our fingers need to be super-featly to get quickly round all the possible moves on one’s device: Alt, Ctrl, Scroll, Insert and the like, sometimes three at a go.

It was not always thus.

To celebrate the olden days a film has just been released in the UK called California Typewriter starring, among others, Tom Hanks who is an avid collector and owns more than 250 typewriters.

The film is basically a documentary portrait of artists, writers and collectors who have remained loyal to the old clatterbang warhorse (and Tip-ex?) but it also records the struggles of California Typewriter, one of the last repair shops in America that knows its way around the intimate parts of these much-loved machines.

According to the blurb, the film delivers ‘a thought-provoking meditation on the changing dynamic between humans and machines’.

The Book Collector loves typewriters. Go to our Sales Archive to see the prices they fetch when the keys have been graced by famous fingers to write famous books. Sylvia Plath’s at £26,000 has probably been the best value.

We like Enigma machines as well. But these lack the provenance of the typewriter, which has been the mediator of many forms of genius since it was invented as a follow-on from the sewing machine.

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