Keyboards are so ubiquitous now that we take them for granted and sometimes forget what a newsworthy and amazing device they could be back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Can you imagine the astonishment of the crowds at the Panama-Pacific Exhibition in 1915 when confronted by the sight of an Underwood 14 ton typewriter that was 21 feet wide and 15 feet high?
As the biennial Festival of the Photocopier hosted by the Sticky Institute shows, zinesters love photocopiers! Now you might think that they’re a fairly recent invention, but duplicating machines of various types have been around for well over a century.
While some saw the advent of typewriting as a wonderful process, some other early commentators had their doubts about the quality that ensued. The Sydney Morning Herald of July 1909 includes a diatribe about the poor quality of the typewriting one can expect from “uneducated girls” who don’t understand what they are transcribing.
Zinesters and staplers - an essential tool, but sometimes a source of frustration. Jamming at the critical moment, running out of staples on the last zine, crumpling and tearing that perfect page, but what would you do without them? The "Golden Stapler Awards" for zine excellence, due to be announced at the National Young Writer's Festival on 1st October, prompted me to look back in time to some vintage staplers.