It's Official: Typewriters are Back in Style


Photo: todd mclellan

It's official: typewriters are back in style. The New York Times is reporting that hipsters are gathering at "type-ins" and having speed typing competitions.

But artist Todd McLellan knew this already: he has been dissecting them as part of his new Disassembly project, and turning them into art.


Photo: todd mclellan

Todd McLellan has stripped down all sorts of gadgets such as alarm clocks, telephones, typewriters and cameras into their component pars. Of which there seem to be hundreds in each one. Then he arranges them in wonderful patterns so that the essence of typewriter or telephone is revealed. It makes one remember how much care and craftsmanship went into these almost prehistoric looking machines.

Originally from Saskatchewan, his interest in photography began with his father and now he lives in Toronto, pursuing his career. Or as he says "it all started with a kindergarten finger painting class."


Photo: todd mclellan

As for those hipster New Yorkers, two of them have started a vintage typewriter business and sold 70 machines so far. Their slogan is "unplug and reconnect" and they have the old Olivetti, a Smith Corona and an Olympia. They buy, sell, rent, repair and collect them, from the 1900's to 1980. And they sell typewriter ribbon too. They have a wonderful diagram from the Reader's Digest, circa 1977 on how to clean a typewriter. It is a work of art.

As for the "type-ins", why do they do it? Most are about simplicity, and celebrating something old that has craftsmanship and history and keeps working. Others feel that they can think better and concentrate on one thing at a time. And they like to "feel closer to their words."

More on Typewriters
In Praise of Typewriters (What's That?)
Recycled Typewriter Creatures by Jeremy Mayer
Obsolete, Yet Iconic British Telephone Booth Finds New Life

Tags: Artists | Exhibits | Photography

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