Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Thought for the Day

More Readers Write . . .

From Leo M, in response to the post on remembering typewriters, old public phones and old mobile phones . . .
I relate to all these things below Otto.
My mother meet my father when she worked as a telephonist at the Kandos telephone exchange, and I remember staying with a mate in the mid 1980’s at Gunning when his mother still operated the telephone exchange.
My first mobile phone I still have, was a Bosch that cost me $7500 in about 1990. I used to carry it around at night in case anybody attacked me. It was as long as a house brick and about one third as wide.
In 1985 I bought three Canon screen typewriter add-ons that allowed you to type 500 words on the screen at a time and then transfer it to your typewriter to print out. Each of those was I believe $5500 plus. 
The best use of a typewriter I can recall is in 1971 when I typed out an essay in my European history course. It was about the influence of Queen Christina of Sweden on European history. To impress my lecturer, I asked my sister to lend me her typewriter so I could type out my essay. All I can say is, there were so many mistakes in it including Queen Christina being referred to as “Queen Christmas” which drew the comment "This is too much." At the end I received a pass mark with the comment: "A very good essay spoilt by typing." I never typed another essay again.
Thanks, Leo.

Some thoughts and funnies about mobile telephones (cellphones if yopu are in the US):

Monday, October 16, 2017

Thought for the Day

Readers Write

I hadn’t long posted yesterday’s Bytes about memories of the old public phones, first mobile phones and typewriters when I received responses from Leo M in Sydney and David B in Derbyshire, England about their own recollections.

I also received an email from Charlie Z, an expat Yank who lives in Sydney but who is presently in Oregon for a Shakespeare festival. Charlie raised some questions about origins of some items that he asked me to look into.

Thanks, guys.

As a result, this week will be Readers Write Week.

First cab off the rank will be David.

David writes:

I remember the old button A & B phone boxes. As kids we passed two on our walk to school and always stopped to press button B in the hope that someone had forgotten to do so. We occasionally got lucky and became the proud owners of 4 old pennies (about 3 Aussie cents) which we spent on ha'penny chews at the sweet shop.

Apropos typewriters I am surprised that you didn't mention correcting fluid - Tippex in the UK - which I consumed in large quantities when typing up my dissertation.

Some comments:
  • Who remembers that if you dialled a number on the old Button A and B phones, you could speak to someone without coins if you yelled into the earpiece?
  • Comments noted about the correction fluid, David, but there may be confusion about the names.
  • Remember the Monkees, who were the American Beatles? No, that’s unkind, they may have been created as such but they developed their own identity and had some good songs, as well as an entertaining TV show.
  • Well, Bette Nesmith Graham, the mother of Monkee Michael “I think I will travel to Rio” Nesmith, was a typist and commercial artist. She was also the inventor in 1951 of the liquid correction fluid that she called “Mistake Out”, which she began marketing in 1956. When she began to sell commercially in the early 1960’s, the name was changed to “Liquid paper”. She sold from her home for 17 years and in 1979 the Liquid Paper Corporation was sold to the Gillette Corporation for $47.5 million with royalties.
  • Bette made more from Liquid Paper than Michael ever did from music but don’t feel too bad for him. When Bette died in 1980 aged 56, Michael, her only son, inherited half of his mother's $50+ million estate;

Bette with son Michael

 Hey, hey, they’re the Monkees . . . Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones

Michael Nesmith today
  • And, whilst recalling, who remembers that Micky Dolenz was the main character in the TV show Circus Boy? . . .

  • After correcting fluid there was a further development for correcting typewriting errors: strips of paper that were placed over the typos and the same incorrect letter or number was typed again. This covered the offending typo with a white layer and the correct letter or digit was then typed over the top. This strip of paper was known as Tipp-Ex.
  • Tipp-Ex was invented in Germany in 1958. Tipp-Ex started to produce white correction fluid in 1965 under the brand Tipp-Ex, but also as C-fluid. The name "Tipp-Ex" is based on "tippen", the German word for "to type", and "ex" short Latin for "out".
Some typos . . . 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thought for the Day

Remember when . . .


Continuing, some memories of the past . . .

Public telephones:

Back in the days before mobile telephones, we had public telephones.

The earliest ones I remember looked like this:

Coins were inserted at the top and the number dialled. If a person answered at the other end, you pushed Button A. If not, you pushed Button B and the coins were returned. I used to carry a box of coins with me to court in case I need to call my office or anyone connected with the case that had me at court.

Our early house phone was the old Bakelite version:

And who remembers the first mobile phones that resembled a house brick:

My friend had the model that predated the above, the one you carried slung over a shoulder with the carriage:

Some other thoughts . . .

(Hey Wayne, remember when I did this to you? And you responded?)


I typed my university assignments on one of these . . .

. . . although I did replace it with one of these in my later uni years . . .

The first office I worked in used manual typewriters, including clunkers like the first one above. All commercial leases, Wills, deeds etc had to be typed individually in full, that is why people made codicils to Wills. Then limited memory typewriters were developed which could recall some paragraphs.

Changing a font was possible by using a golf ball typewriter and changing the golf ball . . .

Each typewriter had an eraser tied to it with pink legal ribbon:

When you wanted to erase one letter, you folded apiece of scrap paper in half, cut a small triangular hole which became a diamond shaped hole when the paper was opened. This was then placed over the offending letter so that only that letter was erased. The space then had to be correctly aligned to insert the correct letter but it made a real mess of the carbon copies.

Some past ads . . .