January 2017: 1962 Triumph Matura Super
When considering adjectives that best describe the Triumph Matura Super, super is a good place to start. Actually, triumph works well too, and that’s because it is both a design triumph and simply super to use.
The Olympia SG1 might be the go-to benchmark for exceptional standard-size performance, and when compared to it the Matura holds its own. In terms of type action and ease of use it runs a close second to the Olympia, and arguably surpasses it when scrutinizing its overall design. The typewriter’s organically shaped case flows nicely over its mechanical innards and is pleasing to look at, more so when you ignore the 50 cm interchangeable carriage fitted to this particular example that admittedly, like all wider carriages, makes it appear top heavy.
There’s nothing like pulling out a favorite big gun to start off the New Year with a bang. And there are few standards better suited to typing out long, pesky lists of New Year’s resolutions, even if they might include that annual promise to stop buying typewriters.
“The world is in crisis,” the Six Degrees Citizen Space 2016 conference website warns its visitors. “We thought we were heading towards more inclusive societies. Instead, we are at risk of regressing to cruder and more exclusionary notions of belonging.”
It’s a dire message, but not one made in the absence of hope.
Organized by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Six Degrees Citizen Space was a two-day, three-night conference held September 19 – 21, 2016, at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Weston Family Learning Centre. Claimed to become an annual event, this year’s inaugural edition brought together “thinkers, doers, artists, politicians and civil society leaders” to question and find solutions to the challenge of developing inclusive societies globally.
Organizers promised the use of bold methods, and the recasting of failing, outdated ideas as part of the Six Degrees Citizen Space mandate to propose radical, practical solutions in its examination of the role of citizenship in the 21st century.
Included in the event was an interactive installation run by Mosaic, an ‘experimental’ marketing agency, which featured three ‘70s vintage Olympia Monica typewriters supplied by the Typewriter Factory. The typing kiosk invited Six Degrees Citizen Space 2016 attendees to contribute a message limited to five words that was a synopsis of their views on inclusion.
After the message had been completed each attendee had their portrait taken, which in turn was mounted on a wall alongside their typed thoughts. By the conclusion of the conference a dense collage of uniquely typed ideas and high-contrast photos had been created that not only made a powerful visual statement, but was also a divining rod for the mindset of conference participants.
Photos: TJ Tak (Mosaic)
September 2016: 1963 Olympia SG1
Unless you have extensive experience with every single typewriter that was ever manufactured, it’s rather pointless to label any one model as being the best. And even if you’ve had use of a wide range of makes and models, and analyzed them with a commitment to objectivity, the best typewriter will always end up being a reflection of your subjectivity and bias; there’s no escaping the reality that different typewriters suit people differently, which makes it impossible for an absolute best typewriter to be crowned.
Respecting this, I won’t pretend to know which model is the best typewriter, but of the many hundreds of different models that I’ve typed with, I can state that the Olympia SG1 is my absolute favorite.
It’s reliable, robust, feature-rich, boasts top-notch performance, and it was built to make maintenance less of a chore. The Olympia SG1 checks off more items on my personal wish list than any other model, and although there are other typewriters that come close to it, nothing makes me want to roll up the sleeves and get to work like the big Olympia. It’s a willing workhorse and consummate companion for writers, and it’s also the current Typewriter of the Month.