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JUNE 2011 - Toronto

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Main Content Inline SmallThe last few months have been a nice mix of activity, with a public showing, a couple of wonderful additions to the collection, a short TV piece, and the prospects of exhibiting in some rather interesting places.

The early typewriters are so ingenious and strange looking, very different from the sleek lines of todays computers, and yet in this digital age of the QWERTY keyboard there is such a natural connection with these early typewriters.

The collection has had some major additions over the past year. Please have a look to your right to see these incredible typewriters. The links will provide further information.

Please do honk if you see my QWERTY mobile.
Have a great summer!

Qwerty License Plate

For more information, please see the Interested in more section at the bottom of the newsletter.

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'The future of the past'

Antique typewriters at the first Canadian Steampunk Exhibition

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"Martin's collection is peerless, and has been exhibited in many shows and museums, including the Royal Ontario Museum, and we are lucky to have him interested in participating in the CNSE.
Adam Smith - Exhibit Chair

Steampunk Group

Steampunk, as you may know, is an aesthetic movement that has been growing quickly over the past couple of years. It is all about the 19th century Victorian age of invention but with a twist that allows one to create a fictional fusion of Jules Vern mechanical devices with Victorian costume design, creating the remarkable vision of the ‘future of the past’. How wonderful it is to feel and play the role of a Victorian inventor without being fettered by reality and yet spurred by its influence.

My collection embodies the age of invention and the mantra of Steampunk, 'The future of the
past' but as my eloquent friend Midori put it “What an appropriate choice to illustrate that truth can indeed be stranger than... steampunk!"

Steampunker using a typewriter
At the exhibition I met Brian in full costume and was impressed with his explanation of steampunk.  I asked him if he would be willing to write a short essay on steampunk for this newsletter and he kindly obliged.

His essay can be seen here. He has used his steampunk pseudonym Edmund Siderius.

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An interesting message from a flickr fan:

Here is our post on your splendid collection. We hope you will like it and that it will bring a few more people to knowing you...

"The history of mankind and civilization is closely related to writing. Each generation taking things for granted regardless of what was there before, usually considered as old, dusty, primitive, and obsolete. But modernity is and has always been there. All of you keyboard addicts, please pay a visit to Martin's collection. Each object is amazing, a masterpiece of ingenuity, a hymn to progress, as well as a vibrant tribute to our Mother: Yes, Necessity is the Mother of Invention!"

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The Collection

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This major collection of typewriters from the 1880s and 1890s contains many rare and historically important machines, showing some of the very earliest efforts to create a 'type writing' machine. The variety, ingenuity and designs of these first typewriters are remarkable.

The collection has been built by Torontonian Martin Howard over twenty years and has been exhibited at museums, featured in national newspapers, magazines, films and seen on television.

The Royal Ontario Museum created an exhibit in 2007 called 'Early Typewriters - Gateway to the Information age' featuring twenty typewriters from the collection. Due to its popularity, the exhibit was extended to a full year,

In this age of the computer, we have a strong collective experience with typing and nostalgia for the typewriter. William Thorsell, CEO and General Manager of the Royal Ontario Museum, expresses the relevance of the collection as follows:

"The (Howard) collection illustrates mankind’s search for a solution to a challenge, the intriguing avenues explored, the beautiful means by which they were expressed and the technical proficiency of the age. The invention of the typewriter also speaks to social change, and the explosion of communications means in the 19th and early 20th Centuries."

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Interested in more?

  • Exhibits and Displays
  • Interviews
  • Props
  • Press Kit
  • Print ready articles
  • Prints for framing
  • Digital photos for art and advertising
  • Sales, acquisitions, assessments & restoration

Mr. Howard is also always interested in new and interesting opportunities.

Martin Howard
416-690-7432 Toronto (EST)

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