Sunday, 16 September 2012

What not to buy

Ladies and gentlemen, do not buy the following typewriter:


It is a Canon Typestar 6.

It was a streak of stupidity that came over me today. A powerful knock to the head that induced the extraction of a ten dollar note from my wallet in exchange for this thing. Before you all call me an idiot I have some last words before you do so: Yes, I know, I’m an idiot.

In a feeble attempt to justify it, I had notions of turning it into a computer connected ‘thing’. Whether it would post tweets on Twitter or print my emails I didn’t know, but it all sounded like a good idea. That was until I got home. First signs were bad, and the first impression’s everything. The first impression that I’m talking about? Oh, just the little technicality that it didn’t turn on.

The fuse was fine. The switch still worked. The connexions seemed all okay. Despite all this the confounded screen refused to light, and the thermal print head did not make its own first impression. I tried a few more things. Checked voltage, measured amperes, but it drew to a close. I conceded defeat. My dream of an inter-house AP style newswire would have to wait another day, and for another typewriter.

My hopes that it would work were really optimistic, something that hindsight allows me to say. I had this very frivolous notion in my head that it would all work perfectly, and the reason that it had been discarded was not because it didn’t work, but because it had been superseded. You know you’re in a bad way when you’re filling your own head with propaganda.

What will I do with it now? The thing is that I haven’t quite removed all the frivolous notions out of my head that suggest that it could still work. The Jasper’s Brain Ministry of Information is still pumping out utter nonsense. I hold dear the hope that I, with time and more experience, will be able to get it all working again. That said, I don’t think I’ll be taking anymore risks with untested electronic ‘typewriters’.

More hindsight recollections: don’t buy electronic typewriters. Stick to machines, not measly printers. And don’t let the evil money removing gremlins rear their ugly heads again.


  1. I have resisted the temptation to attempt to buy an electrical thus far. You clearly sold yourself on this machine, but don't worry... We all have a house filled with this kind of stuff that we buy with the intention of experimenting with and using. It's okay... It's part of the nature of being curious.

    1. Wasn't it the curious woman who opened the Pandora's Box? Perhaps in this case it's the curious buying stuff for the Pandora's Box...
      There's still a little bit of hope left, and if people of the Typosphere are telling me it was 'okay' to come home with it then it can't be a complete disaster.

  2. Personally, I like my electrics. I own four in my personal collection and several more awaiting cleaning and maintenance before they will be either sold, gifted, or added to my collection. I prefer manuals, but electrics are an important part of a FULL typewriter collection that really shows the history.

    I once bought an IBM Wheelwriter that didn't work thinking similar optimistic thoughts. It was donated later to someone as a parts machine. But that didn't stop me from buying more electrics. Soon I might post a typecast defending electrics.

  3. I have used a few electrics and, while I feel it takes away from the actual feel of using a typewriter, they can do some very nice work. I would never go out of my way to find or buy one, but wouldn't really turn a working one down if it was offered to me.
    Funny, my father in law offered me one of these Canon's yesterday. Of course, it was near destroyed after sitting in his garage for who knows how long. I turned it down. But, had it actually worked? I probably would have taken it home with me.

  4. Hey, it was worth a shot.

    My sole electronic "typewriter" is this Sharp Memowriter. A silly thing, but charming in its own way.

    I also recently bought a little laptop for $5 at the thrift store and found out when I got it home that it didn't have its hard disk. So be it! It was a learning experience.

  5. Your most likely missing the TypeStyle Cartridge. I won't work at all with out it. You'll just get a blank screen.