The Best Bits of Typewriters

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Good Things trawls through the gorgeous graphics that decorated the ephemera of typewriters

In an increasingly digital world, typewriters are acquiring a greater resonance. Aesthetically they give any computer a run for its money, whilst the smell of ribbon ink, the clicking of the keys and the celebratory ding of a bell are evocative of bustling secretaries and revered writers. So here on Good Things, let us celebrate these magnificent typing machines in all their apple-free glory.

Ribbon Tins
Back in the 1890s ribbons were returned to the manufacturer, in a round tin, to be re-inked. When typewriters became popular and ribbons were mass produced, the tins stayed and began to carry a company logo or brand name. They did so for over 70 years which has resulted in a massive catalogue of much sought after graphic gems. You can see two great collections here and here.

Logos & Branding
Any fan of found typography will enjoy this collection of typewriter logos and decals. The breadth of brand names is also fascinating, with machine monikers including Erika, Tom Thumb and Dolly. See a lovely range here.

Posters & Advertising
Olivetti, founded in Italy in 1908, is one of the world's most famous typewriter manufacturers. Between the 40s and 60s, they produced iconic machines such as the Lettera and Valentine, employing legendary designers and architects like Ettore Sottsass and Le Corbusier. Thanks to Giovanni Pintori, their graphic output matched the calibre of the products. Iconic posters and packaging which are still celebrated, and emulated, to this day. This is a great collection of their posters & advertising.