An Odd Typewriter

Yesterday I was at one of my favorite non-bookstore stores in Salt Lake City, the vintage shop Unhinged, when I came across a nifty green typewriter.

Where is the 1?

Upon taking a closer look, I discovered that, though it was completely intact, it didn’t have a 1. I have never seen a qwerty keyboard without all ten numerals on it before. (Incidentally, “qwerty” is one of 23 words with a q and no u that are legal in Scrabble, as is its plural, “qwertys.”)

This post is really just an excuse to use the word “qwerty.”

I suppose that the makers of the typewriter thought they were being efficient by saving space in their exclusion of a 1, since the sans serif “I” seems to match the font of the other numbers.

The “I” does double duty.

However, this would really mess up one’s typing technique. Instead of hitting the 1 in its usual place, one must hit an uppercase “I” instead. I bet that this model resulted in an abnormally high rate of typing errors, frustrating secretaries and students everywhere. But because I could just appreciate the typewriter as an object instead of having to use it, discovering its oddity made my night.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

3 thoughts on “An Odd Typewriter

    1. How fascinating! Maybe this was the norm in typewriter design for a while, even though it doesn’t seem to make functional sense. The typewriter I wrote about also had a 1/2 key as well as a 1/4 key.

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