A Brief History of Typewriter Art

Bob Neill is Alive and Well: A Brief History of Typewriter Art – Original post by Andrew Belsey, 2002. The following is just a part of the post which you can read at the link.

APPENDIX The Constant Rediscovery of the Typewriter as an Artistic Medium In the history of science there is the well-known phenomenon of “simultaneous discovery,” when two or more scientists working independently and without knowledge of each other come up with the same idea or discovery at roughly the same time. It seems that something similar operates in the history of typewriter art, only without such simultaneity. Or to put it another way, typewriter art has been (re)discovered several times. For example, I doubt whether many of the contemporary contributors to Alan Riddell’s TYPEWRITER ART in 1975 were aware of experiments in the 1920s by Bauhaus students or the Dutch typographer H.N. Werkman, with which the book opens. Nor had they come across the work of Guillermo Mendana Olivera round about 1960, now available through Joan Stark’s HISTORY OF ASCII ART website. So the fact that Bob Neill was, with the minor exception mentioned above, unaware of other typewriter artists is not surprising. And he has not been the only major typewriter artist outside any group or tradition. A few years ago the work done by Winifred Caldwell in America in the 1940s and 1950s appeared on the Internet (now, unfortunately, it has disappeared). Caldwell’s technique was quite different from that of Bob Neill and the main tradition of typewriter art, for she manipulated the paper in the platen and used lines, brackets, dots and a few other characters to draw more “naturalistic” pictures of houses, landscapes and flowers (named “TypEtchings” onthe website). But her results are highly skilled and as appealing as anything in typewriter art.

2 thoughts on “A Brief History of Typewriter Art”

  1. I should have not assumed it was abandoned just because the last date was old. I have sent you an email, just now. I’d like to preserve history and keep up the post.


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