June 5, 2017

A tenuous Bond

Filed under: TIL — Jared @ 7:52 pm

So this Royal typewriter has been sitting under my desk at work for a few years, waiting on some of that elusive “free time” I hear so much about. It dates to 1949 and was one of the first models released when Royal resumed making typewriters after WWII. As you can see it once belonged to the Dancer Fitzgerald Sample ad agency, a Madison Avenue agency from the ‘Mad Men’ era of advertising, which was acquired by Saatchi & Saatchi back in 1986.

I had considered gutting it and building a computer inside of it, but while poking around online trying to find the one part that’s missing I discovered that it was the preferred typewriter of Saul Bellow, Joan Didion, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller and (maybe) Johnny Carson. If that weren’t enough to make me reconsider, it turns out this is the same model that Ian Fleming used for the Bond novels. Needless to say, I don’t think I can bring myself to gut it now.

October 18, 2013

A close shave

Filed under: TIL — Jared @ 4:20 pm

So idle curiosity (and a pdf on shaving with a straight razor) led me to look up the “inventor” of the safety Razor, King C. Gillette. ┬áIt turns out he did nothing of the sort and his actual innovation was the “thin, inexpensive, disposable blade of stamped steel”. He’s also widely credited with the cheap razors\expensive blades business model but even that was something he copied from his competitors.

Interestingly enough though, Gillette was a dyed-in-the-wool Utopian Socialist, and wrote a few books on the subject. In The Human Drift, he asserted that all industry should be run by one corporation, owned by the people. He also thought that everyone in the US should live in a singular North American mega-city powered by Niagara Falls.

Gillette died almost penniless, having lost most of his fortune in the Great Depression.