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Mystery Machine

Started by Dave Hughes, August 21, 2012, 01:31:51 PM

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Dave Hughes

I think this is a nice easy one.

I do have the answer for this one!

A two word answer should adequately describe this machine.

As always, click the image for a better view.



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Mechanic

I hope you don't mind Dave, as no one else seems to have the answer, I thought I would provide an addition clue.

中國打字機
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast
Queensland
AUSTRALIA

Jeff Zilles [jeffo]


Thank you George -- I knew that I had seen this machine before - in fact I feel that it could have been in an earlier incarnation of Dave's Metaltype but I could be wrong as so often happens.

The particular model pictured has been dated at around 1970 and apart from the platen [horizontal cylinder] it bears little resemblance to the beast that used to be very commom in offices and homes West of Hong Kong only a few years ago.

As for operation  --  I have wogged a couple of paragraphs of quote from another's research which pretty well covers that area and for whom I thank ---

"The only part that resembles a QWERTY typewriter is the rubber roller at the back. From there, things quickly become absurd. Take a close look and you'll see that the flat bed is in fact full of tiny metal symbols, similar to a letter case used for traditional typesetting.

In that case there are a couple of thousand characters, and other cases can be swapped in as needed. You'll notice that there's no keyboard — instead, the operator uses the levers to line up a kind of grabber over the required letter. Then he hits a switch and the letter is moved up to the paper and the letter printed. Slow? Very. Apparently a good typist averages just 20 characters per minute."


jeffo

=================


Jeff Zilles [jeffo]


In my haste I omitted to mention that the Mystery Machine is in fact a Chinese Typewriter - to be more specific, an instrument for typing the Chinese language with traditional glyphs.


jeffo

==================

Mechanic

I was visiting a newspaper plant in Tokyo in the 1970's. In their phototypesetting department there was a young man operating a keyboard, about the size of a small office desk, which had 400 keys. Each key had four positions controlled by foot pedals. Left foot down, + 400 right foot down + 400, both feet + 400. This gives a total of 1600 characters.
My boss, who was with me, asked the foreman if it was a skilled job. The foreman said, "No just normal pay."

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast
Queensland
AUSTRALIA

Dave Hughes

Yes, I thought it wouldn't take long.

It is a Chinese typewriter. Although I think Japanese typewriters look very similar.

The illustration below is of an attempt to simplify the machine in 1946, it proved impractical and led to the bankruptcy of the inventor Dr Lin Yutang.



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