Sunday, 2 May 2021

When It Comes To Typewriters,

this is the rarest of the rare,

the Toshiba BW-2112, in the 1940s, Toshiba began producing index typewriters with massive, horizontal cylinders containing thousands of symbols for the Japanese or Chinese language, in the mid 1950s Toshiba switched to a Western style keyboard and soon the old cylinder machines were dumped, making this style of keyboard rare,

but what made the BW-2112 exceptionally rare was that it could type not only Japanese and Chinese, it could be used for English as well! 

the trilingual device ordered the characters in a manner similar to what you’d find in a Japanese dictionary, which is explained on the Typewriter Collector’s page as follows:

They’re arranged phonetically by most common “on-yomi” (or kun-yomi in some cases) according to the kana syllabary (many homophones, of course)… Red characters help parse the readings. Last character to left of equal sign can be pronounced “kin” (exert) and the first character in next row “gin” (silver), then “ku” (suffer) in red followed by “kuu” (sky, empty), “kuma” (bear), “kun” (teachings, meaning [also the kun in kun-yomi]), “gun” (group), then “kei” (system) in red followed many, homophones of “kei”.

the new machine had instead 48 Japanese Kana characters, making devices like this one exceedingly rare,

and here is the restored Toshiba BW-2112 in action, what a piece of engineering, I wonder how many youngsters today know what a typewriter was?

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