Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Not just a think tank. An entire army of think.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Typewriter computer

For the Luddite in you.
  [vote for,

A computer that uses an old fashioned typewriter for its case and keyboard input. I'm thinking big, black, Underwood typewriter with big, clackity-clack keys. The display could be a flat panel LCD positioned where the paper would go. Ideally, the computer should "ding" after every 50 characters or so that are typed.

This seems like something that should exist already, but I couldn't find one. At any rate, it should be pretty easy to bake.

PotatoStew, Jun 11 2001

(?) Maybe this guy would like one http://www.gotlaugh.../movies/badday.mpeg
There but for the grace of god(dess) go I [thumbwax, Jun 11 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

(?) Smith Corona Electronic Typewriter http://www.wescottcompany.com/ws100.htm
Not exactly what PotatoStew had in mind, I don't think, but somewhere between a typewriter and a computer (though much closer to the former). [snarfyguy, Jun 11 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Brazil - £11.99 http://www.amazon.c...202-1103980-3398256
[hippo, Jun 11 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

(?) The Badday Guy - Vinny "The Destroyer" Licciardi Smashes His Computer http://www.visi.com/~rico/badday2.html
"Having no idea where the video came from, individuals assumed that the video was an actual account of an disgruntled employee being caught "losing it" on his computer. " [StarChaser, Jun 11 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

(?) Typewriter sounds http://www.pcworld....n/0,fid,7182,00.asp
Install this and every time you hit a key, you'll hear the racket of a typewriter from your PC's speakers.Hit the Return key and you'll get the familiar ratchet and ring. The only thing missing? A sheet of carbon paper. [BartJan, Jan 10 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

(?) Finally Baked http://www.ahleman.com/ElectriClerk6.html
Three levels of retro [shonmao, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

(?) 22 Pop http://www.interact...t/22pop_1_insp.html
Aug 24 2004: Not quite a whole computer, this an Olivetti typewriter so you can type out a letter, and when you pull out the sheet of paper, it sends it as email. A student built it as a thesis project. [krelnik, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

The National Museum of Computing on Bletchley Park http://www.tnmoc.org
Steampunk Heaven [8th of 7, Sep 09 2014]

TV Typewriter http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/TV_Typewriter
As described [csea, Sep 10 2014]


       This isn't what you're talking about, but for a while, people were selling typewriters that had an LCD for the current line and some rudimentary word-processor-like editing features.
egnor, Jun 11 2001

       I've wanted to do this ever since I was a little kid. I don't think it would be very hard from a technical standpoint, but it would be difficult from a practical standpoint. You'd need a *lot* of tiny little solenoids (or whatever kind of actuator you use) to move all of the typebars. Typewriters are crowded enough inside already, and full of cleverly designed levers and such, that sneaking a new set of push rods &c. would be hard.   

       [Addendum: Oh, I see you're not suggesting that it be a hardcopy terminal, but that it have a screen. That would be a lot easier, but IMHO less cool.]
wiml, Jun 11 2001

       Didn't the office drones in the movie 'Brazil' use old iron-frame manual typewriters instead of keyboards? I can't remember if they were hooked up to CRTs or what, though. It's a neat idea, PotatoStew.
Dog Ed, Jun 11 2001

       Could you rig it so that a keystroke with extra force behind it would invoke a [bold] typeface?
beauxeault, Jun 11 2001

       egnor: Yes, I remember those. Actually, the inspiration for this came from a dream I had the other night where somebody was using this device, but instead of a large, graphical display, it had just what you're talking about: a small, text LCD panel built unobtrusively into the front. That seemed cool (might be good for a command line terminal?), but too much like a regular typewriter. It seemed more fun to go whole hog with it.   

       wiml: I'm not sure I understand what you originally thought the idea was.   

       Rods_Tiger: Ah! Great idea!   

       Dog Ed: I don't remember for sure, but that sounds right. I think some of their displays were much more complicated than simple screens.   

       beauxeault: I suppose it would depend on how the keys were wired in. I was kind of thinking that current would run through the "hammers" or whatever they are and simply complete a connection with a contact where the paper would be.
PotatoStew, Jun 11 2001

       An inexpensive stop-gap solution, while your idea is in development, could be a little bit of software that merely makes your current desktop or laptop computer make the right noises as you type on your keyboard, including the clackity sound of the keys, the ding, and the whine the carriage makes as it is returned to the beginning of the line (followed by a light thud, if I recall correctly). Perhaps it could also simulate jammed keys.
Dr Furtz, Jun 11 2001

       Dr Furtz: That was baked in the 'Desktop Pythonizer'...a software widget that would run in the background and give your keys a number of sounds, one set of which was old fashioned heavy metal typewriter noises, complete with 'ding' when you hit enter. Was really neat, for a little while...
StarChaser, Jun 11 2001

       PotatoStew: I originally thought the idea was to use the typewriter as both an input and an output device, like an old-fashioned hardcopy terminal. In other words, no LCD attachment: computer output would go onto the paper, thwackity-thwack.
wiml, Jun 11 2001

       The computers in "Brazil" (my favorite film) were typewriters with tiny CRTs attached, with big dumb magnifyers in front of the CRTs. Absolutely brilliant. They were physical manifestations of the mindset that the entire bureaucracy was mired in: a sort of rube-golderg-like overcomplicated construction that served a rather meaningless purpose.
globaltourniquet, Jun 11 2001, last modified Jun 13 2001

       Wiml: Thats a 'teletype' and was baked for years.
StarChaser, Jun 12 2001

       StarChaser: duh, no it isn't. Teletypes aren't built into old-fashioned typewriter bodies. I know that it's *similar* to a teletype or other hardcopy terminal; that's why I used the phrase "like an old-fashioned hardcopy terminal". Perhaps I should have been clearer, but I can't imagine how I could possibly have phrased that more clearly.
wiml, Jun 12 2001

       Duh, aside from being the size of a typewriter, it's exactly what you were talking about. The one I had anything to do with was the size and shape of an IBM Selectric typewriter, but didn't have the frantically flailing little typeball frob.
StarChaser, Jun 12 2001

       Definitely available from rental shops or Amazon (see link).
hippo, Jun 12 2001

       My next question would be: What would make an appropriate mouse for this machine? It would seem a shame to connect a regular modern mouse to it. Or maybe it has no mouse. Perhaps some key combination is used to move the cursor around the screen.
PotatoStew, Jun 12 2001

       A vertical lever at the right side of the display, and a horizontal one at the top, controlling a cross-hair, like a gun sight. The mouse-button-analogs are operated by moving the levers perpendicular to their cursor-moving direction, eg <press top lever down> = <left mouse click> and <press right lever to the left> = <right mouse click>.
angel, Jun 12 2001

       Would it be missing the 1 key, for authenticity?
francois, Jun 12 2001

       Is that a pun from "Brazil"?
reensure, Jun 12 2001

       No, early typewriters had no '1' key, using the lowercase l. This is why so many fonts' representation of these look the same. Idea was to save complication, one less key...
StarChaser, Jun 14 2001

       The earliest typewriter I used didn't have an exclamation point, either (not surprisingly, the ! and the 1 are on the same key now, though the set of punctuation wasn't as standard then --- it had fractions and a cents key, too.) if you wanted an exclamation mark, you had to overprint a single-quote and a period.   

       StarChaser: Selectrics aren't very old-fashioned, as typewriters go.
wiml, Jun 15 2001

       I'd forgotten the two-part exclamation...   

       Selectrics are not very old in themselves, but they were contemporary with teletypes and are now old-fashioned. One of the schools I went to had the two of them sitting side by side. Plus all the little razor-edged punched out paper dots you could want to play pranks with.   

       And thumbwax, re: Badday...was staged for a company's internal video. Wasn't really someone cracking...
StarChaser, Jun 16 2001

       StarChaser (re badday): Really! I had seen that movie before and wondered about that. I'm not sure if knowing that makes it better, or not as good...
PotatoStew, Jun 16 2001

       To me, a tech support tech, not as good. It got handed around here a lot until someone saw the news story about it, though...<net.rummage> Unfortunately, I can't find the story...<Didn't have anything better to do on a boring day at work, and found it! Link above.>   

       One of my cow-orkers was talking to someone once, though...He had one software problem after another, fix A and B would break, fix B and C would break...He asked if he couldn't just get another computer, and she told him that unless it was a hardware problem, she couldn't replace it. He said 'Hang on a second'...pause...SMASH...'Ok, now I have a hardware problem.'
StarChaser, Jun 17 2001

       (Ah, memories, [StarChaser] <rippley dissolving effect> I used to frequent The Archers' newsgroup where the phrase "Orquers de Vaches" was used...</rippley dissolving effect> )
hippo, Jun 18 2001

       Hey, hippo, long time no see. It's a common thing on my 'home' newsgroup, alt.fan.cecil-adams. Cow-orker, pr0n, froup, etc.
StarChaser, Jun 18 2001

       See link, this is one step closer to the original...
BartJan, Jan 10 2002

       Ahh, it seems that you are all a mite bit geek-illiterate. There has been a comic book out for a few years now (actually, it's about halfway through it's last year of publication) that not only features a mechanical computer keyboard, the main character prefers to use laptops with long-rod keyboards. Transmetropolitan is a terrific read set in an extropian future full of really stupid people. Spider Jerusalem - The main character, is essentially Hunter S. Thompson as a muckracker in the 35th (they never actually do tell you the year) century. Do read it, you will probably end up hurting someone - but we will all rest assurred that whomever you hurt will truely deserve it. Now, I'm waiting for one of the insane laptop designers of IBM's USER lab (creators of the pencil-eraser mouse thingie in Smartpads) to come up with something like Spider's laptop. They've already done dual pointer-things, working half-keyboards (they invented those too), and nutty-and-scary full-sized keyboards that unfold origami-bear-trap style when you open the laptop. this should not be too difficult for them.
bear, Jun 07 2002

       Rock on.   

       Use an flat panel LCD monitor on a motorized carriage return system to keep the cursor position stationary.
RayfordSteele, Jul 05 2002

       With all these Micro ATX motherboards coming out it shouldn't be too hard to fit these into an old metal typewriter case. Fit a modern mini Laptop printer at the back and an and LCD on the top. (Should be able to hide the screen for authenticity)   

       As for the input of typed charachters, Its simple realy.   

       Just get a tougher flexible material that touch screens are made of and insert it where the original paper should have gone. When the typewriter is used and it hits differnt parts of the "touchpaper" the appropriate keystroke is sent like a touch screen relays input. Proper calibration and drivers could make it a reality.   

       As for a mouse, well just make one out of solid oakwood with brass features or just get a mouse and put it in a die cast metal shell (give it an appropriate retro paintjob)
GadgetMaster, Jul 15 2002

       I kinda like the idea, here is my take: USB Mini Keyboard (Retro!) connected to wireless iPaq or similar PocketPC inside. screen is visible (magnified?) for editing. Noise is entirely artificial, a la Lior Ostrowsky's NoisyKeyboard - http://www.leeos.com/noisy_keyboard.html case design roughly equivalent to the Hermes Rocket or Baby designs. back of whole unit is an inkjet printer, printer driver can run in line at a time mode. under $1,000.00. My favorite typewriter cost me 200$ in 1970, so thats about right.
typer, Jul 21 2002

       link button is up thataway
thumbwax, Jul 21 2002

       Someone here (ravenwood) speculated he might could produce one of these antique-style computer keyboards using a vintage typewriter, some electronic parts and an old computer... Well, some has actually done precisely THAT! Check THIS out! <http://www.ahleman.com/ElectriClerk6.html> He made it as a working prop for a live-action Cthulhu RPG game set in the 1930s, and built it around an old Mac, an old mechanical typewriter, and some other stuff, and called it The ElectriClerk. I saw another project at <http://www.retrosystem.com/> to retrofit an old Smith-Corona typewriter to also function as a computer keyboard (and gave detailed instructions on how to do it).   

       It's interesting that this idea of an antique-typewriter-style keyboard keeps showing up in science-fiction movies, there was also one in "The Animatrix" (specifically: in "A Detective Story") where the user had a bank of what looked like thin-screen monitors with CRT-like rounded corners, and a machanical-keyboard complete with the little flat rods and round keytops!   

       I WANT one of those!   

       So, they've had these in "Max Headroom," "Brazil," and now "The Animatrix." If these movie/TVshow makers keep this up, maybe someone will start manufacturing one of these things! (Hint, hint)   

       It would also really be a nice addition for someone living in a very vintage home, filled with period furniture, antiques, and antique-styled reproductions. (There are companies that make antique-styled kitchen appliances, including stoves and ovens! Why not computer cases and computer keyboards?)
NomadOfNorad, Jul 28 2003

       Rather than a new posting I will exhume this one by PotatoStew. I had a dream about a keyboarding class where the typewriter arms struck the touch screen of a tablet computer inserted where the paper would normally go. How tough would that be?
bungston, Sep 09 2014

       This idea is for an original Teleprinter (as opposed to a Teletype, which is much later). They are Baked and WKTE.   

       A visit to the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park will fulfill your wildest dreams ...   

8th of 7, Sep 09 2014

       There is a difference. A teletype is a terminal, this has a computer integrated in the case. This is like the Sharp MZ700 to some extent, but I might already have mentioned this on here. Just can't be bothered to read through the annos.
nineteenthly, Sep 09 2014

       Don Lancaster developed what he called a "TV Typewriter" in the mid- 1970s [link] Somewhere I have a copy of his TV Typewriter Cookbook.
csea, Sep 10 2014

       Ohhh … that was pre-ZX80, used an interrupt driven software patch to clock out the contents of RAM (2114's, 1k x 4 NMOS static) via an "upstream tap" to a character generator ROM and a shift register … the Commodore PET had a fundamentally similar architecture, but dedicated video RAM and a hardware refresh driver controlled through the 6522 … ohhhhhhh …
8th of 7, Sep 10 2014


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle