The hippo-like character busily tapping away on a typewriter at the top right of this 2007 postcard is Moominpappa, one of several Moomin characters created by the Finnish novelist, painter, illustrator and comic strip author, Tove Jansson (1914–2001).


Tove (pronounced ˈtuːve’) first brought the Moomin characters to life in books written in the 1940s.  In the 1950s, Moomin characters appeared in a syndicated comic strip that was published in more than 120 countries.


In addition to the Moomin books, Jansson also wrote several  books of adult fiction, but considered herself first and foremost a painter.


A centenary first day cover, released by Itella Posti Oy on Friday January 31, 2014

Apparently, Jansson never used a typewriter, but at least we can console ourselves with the fact that Moominpappa did use a typewriter to write his memoirs.

If  that sounds like I’m confusing fact with fiction, it probably has something to do with the fact that the real Moominpappa typewriter can be found in a blue five-storey miniature house which is the centrepiece of the Moomin World theme park in Naantali, Finland.


The blue house was built by Tuulikki Pietilä, Pentti Eistola and Tove Jansson in the 1970s.


Moominpappa’s typewriter

The fact that Jansson never used a typewriter herself, might explain why this wide-carriaged Olympia has been left at the mercy of visiting Japanese tourists, Scandinavian schoolkids, sticky-fingered toddlers, and the odd (some might say very odd) typewriter enthusiast.


But that’s why it’s there after-all, to give visitors a hands-on experience and lend reality to the Moomin myth.


For more information, a good source is: Tove Jansson: The Truth about the Moomins by John Guy Collick