Bernie Block: What Do You Know About Typewriters?

Before the typewriter became completely electronic-oriented, I used a mechanical typewriter belonging to my sister who gave me the one (a Remington) she used in college before she moved in with my new brother-in-law in 1936. At that time, I was 12 years old;. it served me well until I replaced it with an electronic computer over 40 years ago, a set-up that cost $10,000 for the CPU, screen monitor and mouse. (The same thing can be bought for around $600 today!)

In my early teens, I used this mechanical device with a special blue ribbon to prepare a sheet as the master which was placed on a gel-filled “hectograph,” the forerunner of the mimeo and electronic copiers of today, to print around 125 copies which I sold for a penny a piece to 125 residents of the apartment complex I lived on Long Island, NY. It was my first time as not only a journalist, but a publisher as well. The hectograph is still being used today by artists
to make a temporary outline of the tattoo art that was to be etched into the skin of a customer.

With the typewriter, I usually used my two forefingers to type and reached an incredible speed of around 35 words-per-minute which wasn’t too bad in those years. When I entered the Navy in 1943, I was interviewed at my induction center and asked if I typed. “Of course,” I replied, “about 35 wpm.” This information was placed in my file, and after boot camp I entered into a radioman typing advanced class. The first day in that class while the instructor
was walking around the classroom, he saw me furiously typing with my two fingers, and asked, “Why aren’t you using your other eight fingers?” I replied with a bit of an annoying look: “I’ve been typing this ways for many years. Why do you ask?” His reply, “Sorry, sailor, you’ll have to go back to the beginner’s class to learn how to use the rest of your fingers!”

Yep, back I went, but it didn’t take me too long to learn to use all my ten fingers on my typewriter which I am still using this day since I knew where all the keys were located on the keyboard. Recently while I was using my computer keyboard I was curious about some questions being asked on Google about this part of the typewriter; here’s what was asked:

  1. What is the longest word you can type using the left hand only?
  2. What is the longest word you can type using only one row of letters?
  3. What word can be typed in which you alternate hands on every letter?
  4. What word typewriters were described as one time in their early lifetimes?
  5. What year was the first time a typewriter tried to be patented?

(SEE ALL THE ANSWERS at the end of this column.)

Latest News Appearing on My Website —

Have You Gotten Back Dollars From the Consumer Rebate Program Authorized by Congress? There was $42 billion available. Most seniors don’t know beans about this program. You had to apply for it by April 18, 2016 for your 2015 report. But all is not lost, since you will be able to apply for it when you file your income taxes for years to come. This law was passed on a Friday before Christmas, so there was not much publicity since most Washington reporters had gone on vacation! For more info, call your representative in Congress to ask about it or the person who made out your tax return.

Art Linkletter was a TV broadcaster well known for his “Kids Say The Darndest Things.” True to these marvelous segments on his program, we will follow his tradition and report what we found on the Internet in our blog. Most were obtained from a blog called “Medicare and more” by Duke Richard, Issue 275, 4/12/16:

OPINIONS — On the first day of school, a first grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read. ‘The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of the parents.’

ANSWERS TO TYPEWRITER QUESTIONS — 1) Stewardess; 2) Teetotalism; 3) Skepticism; 4) “Qwerty” because they were the first six letters along the top row; 5) 1714 — Courtesy of Google

Bernie is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale communities. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.

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