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did people ever bring portable typewriters on planes?

did people ever bring portable typewriters on planes?

Old Mar 3, 18, 2:09 pm
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did people ever bring portable typewriters on planes?

I'm old.. but probably not old enough. I started flying in the 1970s. I cannot recall ever seeing anybody bringing portable typewriters on planes. Did people ever do that?

The reason I'm wondering is that I found a really old portable 5-pound typewriter in my basement. I last used it when Reagan was still in office. It sat in a box in the basement after college. It still works fine and I dind't even need adapters or batteries for it.

Surprisingly, it's not that much bigger than the gaming laptop that I bought last year... Not to mention that my 2017 gaming laptop(7 pounds) actually weighs more than my 1970s portable travel typewriter(5 pounds).

Thanks!

Last edited by geometry; Mar 3, 18 at 2:14 pm
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Old Mar 3, 18, 2:54 pm
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People who wrote for a living and used a typewriter took small portable models with them everywhere. Considering their value and fragility, many would have carried them on rather than checking them—though the larger and heavier models came in sturdy, well-engineered cases.

I don't think anyone would have dreamed of using one in flight though. Although I fell asleep almost every night of my childhood to the clackety-clack of touch typing, I think most passengers would have found it inexcusably intrusive.
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Old Mar 3, 18, 3:08 pm
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I took a portable typewriter on a plane exactly once. August 18, 1979. Ozark Airlines from MIA to BNA. It was as Smith Corona 'Coronet XL' Cartridge portable typewriter in a case. I remember so vividly because it was one of two things I left home with to go to a university I had never visited in a city I had not really heard of. I was 17. I left and never looked back. Hauled that damned typewriter around for 5 years. I was so happy when computers and word processors became available. I came to loathe that infernal machine.

Thanks for the flashback!
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Old Mar 3, 18, 7:23 pm
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit View Post
I came to loathe that infernal machine.
"The feeling is mutual"

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Old Mar 4, 18, 11:21 am
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I saw a hipster flying with one between SNA and SFO in 2010.
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Old Mar 4, 18, 8:12 pm
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I lugged an IBM Selectric to college, however it was so heavy it certainly wouldn't be something I take with me when flying. Fortunately I had a car and it fit in the trunk with all my other stuff. I think I still have it somewhere in my basement!! Built like a tank!
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Old Mar 5, 18, 12:23 am
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Yes, my parents! This was back in the 1950-60s. Parents were professors and travelled overseas for work, sometimes to give lectures and the like, sometimes in the field (botanists). Can't remember the brand. It was black I think, with gold letters on the keys, and had a cover/case. Can remember watching my mother change the fiddly ribbons. Back then the overhead compartments were much smaller but people didn't carry everything as a carry-on. My father would wrap it in his coat and tuck it away very carefully, watching it like a hawk at any turbulence. We had a full-sized one at home that weighed a ton, so it was rarely moved. I really wanted the portable one as a toy, which eight-year-old me figured was fair as they had the big one. LOL
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Old Mar 5, 18, 9:51 am
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Originally Posted by DragonSoul View Post
Yes, my parents! This was back in the 1950-60s. Parents were professors and travelled overseas for work, sometimes to give lectures and the like, sometimes in the field (botanists). Can't remember the brand. It was black I think, with gold letters on the keys, and had a cover/case. Can remember watching my mother change the fiddly ribbons. Back then the overhead compartments were much smaller but people didn't carry everything as a carry-on. My father would wrap it in his coat and tuck it away very carefully, watching it like a hawk at any turbulence. We had a full-sized one at home that weighed a ton, so it was rarely moved. I really wanted the portable one as a toy, which eight-year-old me figured was fair as they had the big one. LOL
I also have my electronic type writer from the 1980s. It still works and I frequently type short letters on it. I don't know what it is, but there's just something very satisfying about typing on a real typewriter.

As for people using typewriters making noise on planes back then, it couldn't be that bad, considering planes 30 years ago were much noisier? Last month, I sat next to a woman who had a large(17-inch?) laptop. She was banging away on the keyboard so loudly, I was still able to hear it.(on a UA 777-200 sitting in the exit rows near the engines) It sounded like she was mad at the laptop... or just writing a very strong-worded complaint letter?

Last edited by geometry; Mar 5, 18 at 10:46 am
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Old Mar 5, 18, 10:31 am
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Originally Posted by geometry View Post
He was banging away on the keyboard so loudly, I was still able to hear it.(on a UA 777-200 sitting in the exit rows near the engines) It sounded like she was mad at the laptop... or just writing a very strong-worded complaint letter?
He was writing But what about the CHILDREN!!!???
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Old Mar 5, 18, 10:44 am
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit View Post
I took a portable typewriter on a plane exactly once. August 18, 1979. Ozark Airlines from MIA to BNA. It was as Smith Corona 'Coronet XL' Cartridge portable typewriter in a case. I remember so vividly because it was one of two things I left home with to go to a university I had never visited in a city I had not really heard of. I was 17. I left and never looked back. Hauled that damned typewriter around for 5 years. I was so happy when computers and word processors became available. I came to loathe that infernal machine.

Thanks for the flashback!
Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
"The feeling is mutual"

I had a brown one my freshman year of college.

I hated editing on those things! Swapping out the corrections cartridge for every error! Got an Apple //e my sophomore year, and never looked back.
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Old Mar 5, 18, 1:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Arthurrs View Post
I lugged an IBM Selectric to college, however it was so heavy it certainly wouldn't be something I take with me when flying. Fortunately I had a car and it fit in the trunk with all my other stuff. I think I still have it somewhere in my basement!! Built like a tank!
Those IBM Selectrics are h-e-a-v-y. I just had the example at my elderly father's house "serviced" (basically cleaned and filled with fresh oil). A fully loaded 1980s Selectric III in peacock blue.

I don't know if I was more surprised that my father still types from time to time (personal checks and unpublishable screeds to the editor of the local broadsheet; he is not "online") or that there is still a full-service typewriter repairman in Kansas City. He told me he is among the last IBM-authorized repairmen in the nation and will be retiring soon. He still fixes two or three Selectrics per week,
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Old Mar 6, 18, 2:33 am
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Many old movies showing journalists typing away on planes, particularly Air Force One. But one needs to remember that, in the days of typewriters, most business execs had secretaries to do the typing, so it was just as likely that they'd take the secretary () as take a typewriter.

I found my Olivetti Lettera 32 in storage the other day - I really liked that machine.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 10:31 pm
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Did those old portable ones need to be plugged in?

I still use an old electric typewriter (probably vintage 70s or 80s) because to me, it's easier and faster to use it to type out the address on an envelope than to figure it out in Word. Sucker isn't portable though. I have one newer one with a LCD screen that's sort of like a really basic word processor built in, but I never use that at all.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 10:44 pm
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Originally Posted by geometry View Post
It still works fine and I dind't even need adapters or batteries for it.
Can you still get ribbons for it?

BTW, I knew someone (US citizen) that was denied entry to Canada for possession of a portable typewriter. He was on vacation, and in a time before laptops were in common use, happened to have a typewriter in his car. They didn't believe that anyone would bring such a thing on vacation, and refused him entry for failing to truthfully state the purpose of his visit.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 5:38 am
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When I took the Bar many moons ago we could type our essay sections with a dumb typewriter. We went to the main exam room, checked in, and then were escorted to a typing room. Obviously people taking the bar were nervous enough as it was. The guy sitting next to me and I were both typist and knew each other enough to play off each other for a joke. When everyone started looking at our typewriters Mike and I started pretending to set up our typewriter in the main area. You could watch a wave of panic rush over a few people. It probably wasn't a nice joke.
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