01 January 2013

"He/She/It Makes" The Typewriter Said.

Once upon a time in an earlier incarnation as a medieval studies graduate student, I tried to learn Latin.  Actually, the attempt first began in high school (where my instructor's surname was Latin for doctor!).  Moving on into college and beyond I tried to learn Italian and French and German . . . and then Latin again.  What I ended up learning, much to my chagrin, is that I do not have the knack for learning languages. Thus my career as a medieval scholar bit the proverbial dust.

Still, certain grammatical vagaries stayed stuck in my mind.  The notion of declensions for instance.  The Great Wikipedia says thusly: "In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and articles to indicate number (at least singular and plural), case (nominative or subjective, genitive or possessive, etc.), and gender."

This leads me to another memory.  Long ago both my father and his father worked in factories.  My grandfather, an immigrant from Poland, spoke several languages and because of this was the foreman to the crewmen that were mostly European immigrants like himself.  My Dad told us stories of that time.  One that sticks with me, though I haven't been able to confirm it, is that either his initials or that of his father's were inscribed by their hands on a great iron girder that now lives somewhere inside the Grand Hoover Dam!

Along with the initials was the Latin word facit.  It is the nominative case, 3rd person singular for facere (to make).   My Dad told me it meant "He made it."

A couple of months ago I came across a Facit TP1 at Goodwill.  I was surprised as it seems that 1970s Smith Coronas seem to be the mainstay for our local shops.  It looks nothing like the Facit machines described by Typospherian collectors Robert Messenger of OZ Typewriter and Richard Polt of Writing Ball (that is, mine has definitely seen better days and is in need of some TLC!).

Mr. Messenger's blog post, Facit TP1 portable – The Prince of Typewriters, is here.  
A follow up post, Facit v Facit: The TP1 and TP2 Portable Typewriters is here.

 Mr. Polt's blog post, Facit's facets, is here.

The machine I found has been very well used. But notwithstanding, it seemed to have been well tended and retained all of its original accouterments.

It is also in need of some cleaning - the remains of many an erased typo fill its innards. 

The case is in good shape, inside and out.

When I opened the case, I was pleased to see it came with its original dust cover. . .

. . . and was surprised to find it also had its original "hide-the-hands" pasteboard shield.

According to the instructional card that was also present, the newbie typist was to place this shield as shown.  One then learned to touch type without being able to see one's hands. I tried this, but my hands are fairly large; I was unable to type without knocking the shield off.

In addition to a pad of carbon paper, there was also this packet of 8.5 x11 inch typewriter cleaner paper.  This is something I've never seen nor heard of.  If there is anyone out in the Typosphere who knows something about this product, would you please share your info in the comments section?

This typer lives up to its reputation as having a keystroke action that is fast and easy.  Not surprisingly, several NaNoWriMo authors have reported liking this machine!  I like to use it when I have several letters to write in a row and don't want to get a literal pain in the neck (an affliction some of my other, prettier machines are prone to offer).


  1. Congratulations and thanks for the shout out!

    I've never run across tw cleaner paper but have heard of it. I thInk the idea is that you type onto it and it cleans your types. Let us know if it works.

    If my high-schol Latin serves, facit is present and fecit is perfect.

    1. The cleaner paper looks pretty old. I'll try it out on one of my gunkiest machines and report back!

  2. Congratulations on such a nice find! It looks a bit like mine, but I do not have the neat hood or dust cover. Letter shapes on back differ also.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year to you and yours as well! p.s. The $ arrived; thanks for the extra. Hope the machine provides some happy typing times. (I finally gave my newer Skyriter a workout last night; typed a 6 page letter. It was a much smoother typing experience than I expected it to be. This may be my new favorite for awhile!

  3. Your introduction on declensions reminded me of the following from Mark Twain: "I heard a Californian student in Heidelberg say, in one of his calmest moods, that he would rather decline two drinks than one German adjective."

  4. Hi there.... I recently bought a Facit TP1 typewriter (says so on the insert/manual) but the actual machine has the words "Comda" written on both the machine itself, which is blue btw, and the dust cover. Otherwise, it looks very much like the standard Facit TP1. What do I make of this? What is this machine? I can't find anything that explains why it says Comda as opposed to Facit on it. Please help!

    1. Hi--thanks for stopping by the blog. As to your question, I am not a typewriter expert by any means. I just use 'em! (And have actually reduced my collection significantly in the past year.) I would recommend you reach out to one of the following: The Portable Typewriter Forum (a Yahoo! group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/theportabletypewriterforum/), The Typewriter Forum (another Yahoo! group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TYPEWRITERS/), or Professor Richard Polt, via his site at http://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...