Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Behind the Times

I'm generally on the cutting edge of the passé. I spotted these wonders on Anthropologie.com yesterday and knew I had to share them — even though it seems they've been around on other sites (Etsy, etc.) for quite a while. But I love their mix of old and new technology and brands.

This USB typewriter ($798) is made by a guy in Philadelphia and can function as an iPad keyboard (clickety-clack, ping!) or a working Underwood, complete with its original case:


Anthropologies offers a Smith-Corona and a Remington, too, but they're going like hotcakes. The Smith-Corona just vanished.

As a little girl, I shared a bedroom with a big sister who did her typing-class practice into the late hours, so I find the sound of manual typewriters soothing. But since I don't write (or do much of anything) on the hand-me-down iPad my husband gave me, this cool, geeky thing is wasted on me.

I wonder what ever happened to our family's cute, celadon-green Smith-Corona portable...

I spent lots of time as a kid cranking my grandmother's Victrola (cabinet model) and listening to 78s like "My Blue Heaven" and "Sahara, Now We're Dry Like You"— my favorite prohibition song. I should point out that I was probably the only teen in the '70's who had a favorite prohibition song, lest you think I grew up in the '20s. I was able to do some serious time-shifting to earlier decades at my grandmother's house but I never got as far as drinking hootch in the back of a Pierce Arrow in rolled silk stockings and a cloche.

Naturally, I love these iVictrolas:


These one-of-a-kinds were available at Anthropologie as of yesterday but sold out (I think they were $598): 
Designer Matt Richmond of Made-Craft has harnessed the acoustics of the proto-speaker system - the victrola horn - and repurposed it for the modern era. Set your iPhone or other music player with external speakers into the hand-carved walnut base, and let your tunes waft from the vintage Magnavox horn. The sound amplification is completely, ingeniously acoustic; the dock is not plugged-in or battery powered.
Today, the only one left is the upside-down version:


A little too weird for me, and not cat-safe. Plus, I haven't even managed to put any music on my old iPhone 3, or whatever it is. Being cutting-edge-of-the-passé, I keep my music on an elderly iPod that docks to my sound system, at least. (And no, my sound system doesn't play 8-tracks, or even cassettes!)

But I'll be inheriting my grandmother's Victrola and records someday — as soon as we have a room to put them in, in fact. And then we'll be rocking to the strains of "Sahara," sung by Esther Somebody.
King Ram-ee-ses went to pieces 7,000 years ago,
And passed a law that Egypt must go dry.

He took the liquors from the slickers all the way to Jericho, 

But he kept a little toddy on the sly.

The desert of Sahara flowed with honey, so they say,

'Til Prohibition came along and dried it up one day...
 

3 comments:

  1. I have an app on my iPad that lets me use an old typewriter keypad and has the sound effect.

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mitypewriter-for-ipad/id364381386?mt=8

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is this your song? It's wonderful!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vHOl7EAsLQ

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gosh, thanks, dbloom! That's the song I grew up with, and it was wonderful to hear it again!

    ReplyDelete

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