an excerpt

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The development of the typewriter aligns with creative industries such as industrial design, commercial art and advertising becoming mainstream, and a study of the graphics associated with the typewriter also offers a snapshot into trends in design and fashion. Documenting the ephemera and advertising of typewriting allows for an informative and beautiful history of design over the past 150 years.

Most of the print and paper artifacts reproduced in this book are from my own collection of ephemera. And as with any personal collection, the objects give some insight into the person doing the gathering. 

As a graphic designer, I’m particularly interested in items that have typographic and graphical interest, that mark a particular time period with a recognizable style and that have creative merit through design elements such as colour, photography and layout. 

As a publisher, I’m interested in the content of old advertising and how the copywriting — with its changing voice and tone — tells stories not only about a machine, but about us as a society. 

As a woman, I recognize the advancements that women have achieved since the 19th century. We’ve come a long way in surmounting the rampant sexism that hindered women (and men) for so long.

Since its slow but certain end from the 1980s until now, the typewriter has been elevated to iconic status. Now experiencing a resurgence of appreciation (tinged with nostalgia) the typewriter is coveted once again: this time as a symbol of simpler times.


Janine Vangool