As well as being the title of a 2015 Brazilian (HBO) mini-series now streaming on Australia’s multicultural TV channel, SBS, Magnifica 70 is also a great name for a typewriter …
Magnifica 70. The censor who fell for a porn star
Sao Paolo in the 1970s is a repressive place under military occupation. Vicente is a staid porn censor who’s happily married to the daughter of an army general. Until, that is, he falls in love with a porn star he sees in a film called The Hot Student, and rebels, helping the erotica industry make movies that sit just on the right side of the censorship line.
Think of South America and typewriters, and you automatically think of large Hispano Olivettis (well I do anyway) …
In this case, however, the leading typewriter role goes to a wide-carriage Super Riter …
… similar to, but not the same as, this British-built Remington Rand …
When you’re up against a military dictatorship, it’s probably just as well you have a typewriter that’s super reliable and built like a tank …
The 1983 Adler SE 1011 typewriter I picked up last week came with spare daisywheels and sales literature — not just about the SE 1011, but about the whole “SE 10XX” range of T-A business machines …
Note the salesman’s scribbled price tag!
It’s interesting that a selection of ribbons were available, including fabric ribbons …
eBay sighting: ROYTYPE fabric ribbon for ROYAL & IMPERIAL 5000, ADLER SE1000
And how richly ironic is this typo …
I also got this: Adler’s The Office Machine Revolution, a fan-fold sales pamphlet that profiles half a dozen typewriters of the SE 10XX series, plus other sundry office gadgets and peripherals …
Click here for the full PDF: adler-office-revolution
The SE 10XX series typewriters (which spawned many Adler/Triumph/Imperial/Royal brand name and model number variants) were clearly high-end machines with a high asking price. Like the SE 1011, many of them could be hooked up to a PC (Adler SCREENTYPER) …
Click here for the PDF: adler-screen-typer
… provided, that is, they were configured with the necessary Centronics and/or RS232 port (which mine doesn’t have – hence the plastic insert on the rear of the machine) …
Another interesting feature (on those typewriters that have one) is the platen knob. Before turning, the knob has to be pulled out in order to disengage automated mode …
Many of these SE series typewriters look almost identical, the only differences being the functionality provided on the keyboard, or the addition of an LCD screen. Compact (budget-priced) “SE” machines were also offered.
To end this post, I’ve put together examples of the electronic typewriters listed in Adler’s The Office Machine Revolution (plus a few that weren’t listed) …
(Above) Gabriele 9009
(Above) Triumph/Adler SE 310 (AKA Gabriele 310) with LCD display
(Above) Royal Beta 8200
(Above) T-A SE510E
(Above) Triumph SE 1005
(Above) Triumph SE 1010
(Above) Triumph SE 1030, sans platen knob
(Above) Triumph SE1035/C with LCD display, sans platen knob
(Above) Adler Gabriele 8008 L/8000, with platen knob on the right-hand side?
(Above) An offshoot from the SE10XX series, a TRD 170 daisywheel printer, which looks similar to the SE 1020 and SE 1035, which were also sold with a detachable keyboard (See “SE 1040” illustrated above).
Adler SE 1000 F/CD (golf ball IBM clone)
Looks like they did away with the fragile plastic tabs that are a feature and a failing of the later IBM ball elements.
I’ve mentioned this before, but if you want to buy a daisywheel for your obsolete ’80s wedge, it’s generally cheapest and easiest to buy another (compatible) obsolete ’80s wedge …
IBM 6715 alongside an Adler SE 1011 (daisywheel donor machine)
There was a time when I thought the ‘6715 was a big typewriter. That was before I got a Sharp ZX-500 (you’d think I would have learnt my lesson, but no) and now this Triumph-Adler SE 1011 …
At the very least, for $20 AUD, I got myself a new daisywheel for my IBM 6715.
A “new daisywheel” as in a (Madeleine) typeface I didn’t already have; the other daisywheels that came with this machine being duplicates of ones I already own (Prestige Cubic, Prestige Elite, Elite Modern, Helen 12, Primus 10).
T-A compatible daisywheels
As for the non working typewriter, if I can’t get it to work soon, it’s going in the recycling bin.
The problem? Well I don’t know what the problem is, but when I power on, all the LEDs to the left of the keyboard light up amber. …
The old lady I bought the typewriter from had no idea what the problem was either, but I took it off her hands anyway, thinking I’d possibly figure it out — and if I didn’t, well at least I had a few more daisywheels, some interesting sales literature about the Triumph-Adler SE 10XX series of electronic typewriters (more about that in a follow-up post) plus a list of Adler daisywheel typefaces courtesy of Imperial Typewriter Sales (WA) Pty Ltd circa 1983/84 (see update at end of post).
Click here for the PDF (1 MB): adler-daisywheel-typefaces
So back to the problem:
Madeleine type wheel
The lid is properly closed as far as I can tell, and I don’t see any evidence of a missing or bent lever under the hood that might trick the typewriter into thinking the lid is open.
Since I don’t have the all-important instruction guide, which is critical for a function-key-rich machine like the SE 1011, I’m clueless as to what trouble-shooting measures might help remedy the problem.
Disappointingly, this typewriter is also afflicted with the same disintegrating foam that plagues many an IBM machine …
As I sit and contemplate this beautifully styled yet non-functioning German electronic machine, it occurs to me that ignorance can be bliss.
As Gary Numan once said:
“[…] Now I can think for myself, about little deals and issues, and things that I just don’t understand. […] You know I hate to ask, but are ‘friends’ electric? Only mine’s broke down …”
Year of manufacturer found on right-hand side underside of lid:
Electronic components also mostly dated 1983:
Do sc-fi writers dream of Selectrics in their sleep? Given the amount of time American science fiction and fantasy writer Andrew Jefferson Offutt spent in front of his, he must have done.
Andrew J Offutt (August 16, 1934 – April 30, 2013)
Offut published his first novel Evil Is Live Spelled Backwards in 1970. Of interest to the typewriter nerd is Offutt’s description of his habits behind the typewriter at a time when he was busy managing three insurance agencies in three cities:
“On weekends I was in sore need of relaxation. I relaxed in front of the Selectric. (I like the best machinery; the Mercedes and the Selectric are, although the Underwood P-48 and the SCM-250 I had for a year were Bhad Nhews [sic].) In six months of such heavyweight management, capped — and made bearable by — Saturday-and-Sunday writing, I created three short stories and 5½ novels. They started selling.”
Until very recently, all my work was done on the IBM. I would start at about 1.30PM, sometimes a little earlier on Saturdays. And write until dinner call: between 6:30 and 7:30. Interruptions were (1) frequent bellows for more coffee; (2) bathroom; (3) lunch: cheese and a little wine. Sunday’s schedule was the same, without lunchbreak. I wrote at a secretary’s metal typing table, at the top of the steps in the hallway of this huge old house.”
Offutt’s adoption of new technology almost proves fatal!
Offut’s typing style is elaborated on by his son Chris, also a writer, in his book My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir:
“He taught himself to type with the Columbus method — find it and land on it — using one finger on his left hand and two fingers on his right. Dad typed swiftly and with great passion. In this fashion, he eventually wrote and published more than 400 books. Two were science fiction and 24 were fantasy, written under his own name; the rest were pornography, using 17 pseudonyms.”
For more than 50 years, Chris reveals, his father secretly made comic books of a sexual nature:
“He called his method of drawing “the Steal technique.” He traced images from other works, transferred the tracings to a second page via carbon paper and modified them to suit his needs — all the sexual characteristics greatly enhanced. He believed that he improved every picture he stole with an innate ability to boost everyone else’s work. A dozen thick notebooks held thousands of pages of source material, images torn from magazines and catalogs, divided by category: standing, sitting, sex, breasts, legs and so forth. He dismantled hundreds of porn magazines to accumulate a reservoir of pictures to steal.
His process was time-consuming, the product of inexperience and lack of access to supplies and equipment. First he wrote a script that described the action, then made loose pencil layouts of panels. He fed the layouts into his typewriter and carefully typed segments of narrative into the allotted areas. He used the typed sections as guides for what to draw. A result was a lack of harmony between art and text. In every panel, the narrative tells the reader what the imagery already shows.”
Chris explains how his father had been concerned that his style was being consistently copied, the proof being that other authors had begun writing knowledgeably of the clitoris, which Offutt believed he pioneered:
“This upset him to the point that he decided to trick the editor into buying his work, using yet another pseudonym, Jeff Morehead, a variation of his middle name and the nearest town to his home. To get a different font, he bought a new ball for his Selectric typewriter. He changed his usual margins, used cheaper paper and churned out new books.”
Luckily, Offutt had almost as many choices of typing ball as he had pseudonyms. During his first two years of full-time writing, writing seven days a week, Offutt reputedly wore out a Selectric typing element, something that IBM told him was impossible (see point 6 in their advertising, below).
“Dad’s writing process was simple — he’d get an idea, brainstorm a few notes, then write the first chapter. Next he’d develop an outline from one to 10 pages. He followed the outline carefully, relying on it to dictate the narrative. He composed his first drafts longhand, wearing rubber thimbles on finger and thumb. Writing with a felt-tip pen, he produced 20 to 40 pages in a sitting. Upon completion of a full draft, he transcribed the material to his typewriter, revising as he went.
Most writers get more words per page as they go from longhand to a typed manuscript, but not Dad. His handwriting was small, and he used ampersands and abbreviations. His first drafts were often the same length as the final ones. Manuscripts of science fiction and fantasy received multiple revisions, but he had to work much faster on porn. After a longhand first chapter, he typed the rest swiftly, made editorial changes and passed that draft to my mother. She retyped it for final submission. At times, Mom would be typing the beginning of the book while Dad was still writing the end.”
Selectric ad and erotic postcards (above) from my collection. Textual extracts borrowed using a variation of Offutt’s “Steal technique”: