I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
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My typewriters, telephones (plus other stuff) will go on exhibit
By Barry Schrader.................................December
Check out Barry Schrader's items at an exhibit that begins
The DeKalb Area Womens Center has put aside its monthly
artwork and sculpture exhibits for January and invited me to
display the contents of my basement.
Anna Marie Coveny heard I have a basement full of garage sale
finds and also-rans from the Antiques Roadshow and thought it
would be quaint to assemble my stuff and title it, Communication
Tools from the Last Century, for a show.
I am busily dusting off my one mans trash is another
mans treasures to make items look presentable in
Since moving to DeKalb, I have acquired
a dozen (actually more) old typewriters which chronicle the early
20th Century advancement in technology BC (Before Computers),
so I hope that appeals to some people. Then I am tossing in some
old telephones, a telegraph key, some other communication devices
that only people over 40 will remember, plus some mass media
collectibles like cameras and metal typefaces from 50 and 100
years ago. So that should just about fill the former Finnish
Hall at 1021 State St. in DeKalb.
I always was
fascinated with the opening scene from Murder, She Wrote
in 1984, when Angela Lansburys old Royal typewriter was
shown up close with its keys clacking away. So you will find
one of those on display.
Of course, there was
the transition from manual to electric, and I have a few from
that era. I even have the portable that got Jerry Smith through
college on which he typed his papers and some news stories for
the Northern Star. Then there is the Royal model
Old Remington manual typical of early 20th Century machines
used in offices.Partial view of a Linotype keyboard. Notice different
configuration of keys from the usual QWERTY typewriter keyboard
used by the Daily Chronicle staffers back in the 1960s and early
'70s before the office went electric, which you also will see.
Jim Quiram from Sycamore is providing an example
of the telegraph key which opened up communications from coast
to coast about the time the cross continental railroad was built.
My printer friend Howard Newquist is getting some Ham Radio equipment
together as well. Hams dont recognize the inferior Citizen
Band radio as a legitimate form of communication, I hear, but
that will be included anyway.
Those born in the
first half of the 20th Century might recognize the entirely different
format keyboard of the Linotype machine, developed for newspaper
composition in the late 19th Century and used at many papers
until the 1960s. There will be a keyboard from that 4,000-pound
compositor in the exhibit.
Then there was the
old-style, cast-iron printing press that used metal and wood
handset types, and I have included a tabletop model of that,
along with some examples of the type. I could bore you for hours
about that branch of my collections.
what I still would like to find to complete the display: a Varityper
machine, a Friden Justowriter, a crystal radio set, an old wooden
radio like the one you saw on The Waltons TV series,
and a small 1950s TV set. If you have any of these in your attic
or basement, please contact me before Friday.
those interested in visiting the exhibit, the opening and reception
will be from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday, when Kay and I will provide
light refreshments and share everything I know about various
old communication tools. The building will be open from 7-9 p.m.
every Friday through the end of January for public viewing.
As an added feature, I will set out a workable typewriter
so people can exercise their typing skills like in the old days.
We even can exchange stories on how we learned to type. I got
my training from Miss Margie Tiffany in her Office Practices
class at Genoa-Kingston High School. Sorry, no typewriter erasers
or white-out will be provided.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115