Manual Typewriter

I mentioned that I use a manual typewriter for typing the pages going in to “the red notebook”.  Well, here it is; a Hermes 3000 typewriter.  I might be older than the typewriter, but I’m not certain.typewriter

During one “university term paper season” my Smith Corona electric typewriter quit working and the repairman said it would take a couple of weeks to get it fixed.  The school library had at least 100 IBM Selectric typewriters, but they were in such high demand that a 1 hour time limit per session was put in place so that everyone could get a chance to use them.

I didn’t like the idea of waiting three or four hours for one hour of time on the typewriter and I didn’t want to steal time from my girlfriend’s typing sessions by using her typewriter, so I bought this Hermes for something like $10.

The electric typewriter is long gone, but I kept the manual one.

Absent some compelling reason, if you have electricity, skip the electric typewriter and use a computer and printer.

So, I guess it is true that an electric typewriter is more obsolete than a manual one.

Or perhaps it is not a manual typewriter but actually a highly energy efficient portable word processor with an integrated printer and a 100% effective anti-malware system.


My Red Notebook

I was asked about “my red notebook”.  It is simply a small 3 ring binder that holds typed recipes that I think are worth saving.  My hope is that in 40 or so years, my daughter or one of her kids will try the recipes in my little red notebook.

Going off on somewhat of a tangent….

Recently I had to dig through some engineering documentation that spanned from the 1940s through the 1980s.  The old stuff was typed on paper and was easy to handle.  The later stuff was a bit of a challenge because there were 3 sheets of paper and four 8 inch floppy disks.  The three sheets of paper didn’t answer my questions, so I assumed the stuff I needed was on the floppy disks.

I’m a geek. Geeks know lots of other geeks and we all like challenges.  I was able to call around to the more ‘pack rat’ minded folks and collect the needed stuff to (after some repairs) read the disks.  I got lucky as the floppy disks were still readable…sometimes the magnetic coating flakes off or heat warps the media and the disk is ruined.

It was great in a retro sort of way — an old CP/M computer with 8 inch floppy disks, a green CRT monitor (80 characters by 24 lines) and a copy of Wordstar.  Three of those four floppy disks were empty.  The fourth one had only the three page document that was included in the file….sigh…..

Coming back to my red notebook.

When I started my little red notebook in the early 1980s, I did not have a computer, so I typed everything on my manual typewriter.  I found that using a cheap typewriter ribbon and a good bond paper would make something that would easily survive the accidental drips and such that are likely to happen in the kitchen.

When I did get a computer, I typed the recipes on the computer and printed it out on the dot matrix printer.  Remember “near letter quality” printing?  That worked, however, after a few years it seemed like the ink would fall off of the paper and I would have to reprint the recipes.  But, by then dot matrix printers had been replaced by ink jet printers and that kind of ink smears when it gets wet.

So, I went back to using a manual typewriter and a good archival quality bond paper for my recipes.  I can’t think of an easier way to store small amounts of writing so that it will be readable in 30-40 years.

Unlike the ‘new’ 8 inch floppy disks, the 70+ year old typed documents were easy to read.

This reinforced my decision to continue with the typewriter.  I wonder if in 40-50 years, CD-ROMs, DVDs and USB thumb drives will be just like the 8 inch floppy disks.




A New Breakfast–Simple Too

If you haven’t figured it out, this engineer (me) loves to cook and has a long history with very old family heirloom cast iron cookware.

Yesterday my mom was  some receiving some medical tests and while she was away with the medical technicians, I entertained myself by reading through wordpress posts with the “cast iron” tag.

That’s how I came to find Andrew’s Fit Foods ( recipe for Tuscan Potatoes and eggs.

After I took my mom home, I went to the store to get fresh fennel and prepared Andrew’s recipe this morning.  I grow yellow pear tomatoes in a large pot that I can move inside when it gets too hot or too cold outside, so I substituted those for the cherry tomatoes.

I thought it would make a good presentation to serve my wife and daughter with their own skillets, so I used fajita skillets in their wood “cradles” and served the eggs atop the potatoes.

This is definitely going into my “little red notebook” of recipes.

I use an old Hermes Ambassador (manual) typewriter to type the recipes onto heavy acid free archival bond paper.  I’ve dealt with enough almost 100 year old engineering reports typed on good paper and enough 30 year old engineering reports on 8 inch floppy disks created with WordStar on a CP/M computer  — and it’s obvious to me that a typewriter and good paper totally outperforms computers for low volume storage applications.  So, I’m off to uncover the old typewriter and start typing.