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  • Newsletter Issue #1042 — My Checkered Keyboard History

    January 31st, 2023

    It all started when I was 13 or thereabouts; it was the late 1950s. My mother worked as a clerk typist, and I decided I needed to learn to type so I could write about my favorite subject at the time, flying saucers. So she agreed to rent one, and gave me quick guidance as to where to place my fingers. I tried to figure out the rest, but eventually bought a do-it-yourself typing manual to improve my speed.

    Within a few years, I owned a brand new Smith-Corona electric typewriter, but it was constantly irritating my obsessive sensibilities, with bad misalignment of the key bars, thus resulting in a slightly uneven appearance. I soon learned that you could bend them slightly to improve alignment, which presaged a later career I had as a typesetter at several prepress agencies in New York City.

    Some years later, I discovered machines that used little golf balls with the letters engraved on it, and I acquired a red IBM Selectric. This had to be around 1972 or thereabouts. No more bendable type bars, and near-perfect letter alignment.

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