31 maart 2013

Which typewriter is this?

I bought this typewriter last week. Do you recognize it? The answer will be revealed shortly.

09 maart 2013

Yost 1 typewriter

My latest typewriter acquisition came in with quite an attitude. The other typewriters didn’t understand. It was old, produced in 1888, but since when was that something to brag about? It was relatively rare and well, it had a fancy mechanism, but most typewriters in my display have a not so ordinary way of typing. So, why the attitude?

My other typewriters couldn’t know, but the Yost 1 I bought last week is famous. For decades, Michael Adler’s “The writing machine” has been the best typewriter book around (after Martin’s “Die Schreibmaschine” of course, but Martin didn’t publish pictures). “The writing machine” was first published in 1973 and contains the most important facts about each and every machine that was ever made or patented. So, if you were a collector in the 1970s or 80s and wanted to see a picture of a certain typewriter, instead of using Google, you consulted Adler’s bible.

Many machines in his book came out of Adler’s private collection. Some years after publishing the book, Adler sold his collection to the Dutch friar Ferrerius. His collection formed the foundation of Scryption, a museum of typewriters and other communication equipment. However, because of financial trouble, Scryption no longer exists and the collection had to be partially dismantled. One of the machines that had to be sold was the Yost 1 I bought last week: the machine with an attitude.

So, why the attitude? Look into p. 177 of Adler’s “The writing machine” and you’ll see a picture of a Yost 1. Although the picture is in black and white, the paintless spot in the middle of the space bar reveals its true identity: it’s a forty year old picture of the very same Yost 1 I bought last week! So, he may have an attitude, but if you ask me, that’s well justified.

Yost 1, Adler, "The writing machine" (1973), p. 177.

Type arms resting against inking pad
Type arm moving like a grasshopper
Type arm and alignment guide

The escapement mechanism (1)
The escapement mechanism (2)

Edit: a video I made of the grasshopper mechanism and the escapement system: