Large Print Typewriter
August 20, 2018 12:12 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to buy a typewriter (mechanical or electric but DEFINITELY NOT DIGITAL) that prints in a larger font than is standard. The bigger the type the better.

Yes, I know this is a dinosaur.
posted by dirtdirt to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wow, you aren't kidding about it being a dinosaur.

You might ask on the "typewriter" sub-reddit on reddit (because, of course there's a typewriter sub-reddit on reddit). I found this, which isn't particularly helpful beyond saying that, yes, these exist and they are not easy to find.

You might find some hints here. The Smith Corona Classic 12 appears to have a 5cpi (!) font (optional, perhaps) but that might be the limit.

I suspect that ebay, craigslist, Goodwill, and that strange, musty shop in the strip mall run by a guy in his late 90s that sells old phonographs, &tc. are probably your best bet.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:31 PM on August 20, 2018

You might try emailing or calling this guy. He probably doesn't have one but he might be able to tell you where to look.
posted by JanetLand at 12:58 PM on August 20, 2018

Here's another guy who might be able to tell you where to find one:
posted by thursdaystoo at 1:05 PM on August 20, 2018

I vaguely recall large-type typewriters being used to type scripts for TV and radio newscasters back in the 1970’s. I don’t know if that will help with your search.
posted by jkent at 1:08 PM on August 20, 2018

there is also Gramercy typewriter in NYC and California Typewriter in Oakland if either of those are convenient to you. IIRC, Gramercy typewriter will ship.
posted by wowenthusiast at 1:23 PM on August 20, 2018

If you look at the article beginning on page 42 of this publication, you'll see a variety of type styles that were made available by the various typewriter manufacturers. Page 57 in particular includes some of the largest sizes, sold under a variety of names such as Display, Bulletin & Label. You might get lucky & find something of the sort on ebay or etsy, but for a specific request for such an uncommon option, seeking out specialists such as those already mentioned above is probably your best option.
posted by misteraitch at 1:38 PM on August 20, 2018

This word processor will go up to 15 point (pitch). You may want to look at 'Word Processors' in addition to typewriters.
posted by hydra77 at 1:50 PM on August 20, 2018

Here's a video of a Smith Corona large print typewriter, previously for sale on eBay.

But they must have been very rare, because I can say with some certainty that I've never seen one in person, and I consider myself something of a typewriter fan.

The Selectrics and Wheelwriters are capable of 10 pitch, but not wider, so that sets a maximum on the typeface size. (N.B. "pitch" is the number of characters per inch so the letters are more widely spaced as the number goes down, and it's independent of letter size, which is typically measured in points.) The biggest typeballs, all 10 pitch, were about 14 point letter size, and they were Orator and Presentor.

If that size—I think 14 point is considered "clear print" but not technically "large print" (16+ pt.)—would work for you, life is pretty easy because there are a ton of Selectrics around. But if you want to go bigger than that, then you're going to need to really go looking and you may be fighting with collectors. At least in the late typewriter era, if you needed to do bigger lettering than 14 point or so, you'd probably just use dry transfer letters (or at least that's my experience). So those machines would have been limited just to those applications where you needed large letters and you needed them all the time, not just for titles or something.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:10 AM on August 21, 2018

« Older Do I take the part time job?   |   My rats have been escaping from their cage - what... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.