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...


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


  2. Is this your song? It's wonderful!

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


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