Monday, October 16, 2017

Readers Write

I hadn’t long posted yesterday’s Bytes about memories of the old public phones, first mobile phones and typewriters when I received responses from Leo M in Sydney and David B in Derbyshire, England about their own recollections.

I also received an email from Charlie Z, an expat Yank who lives in Sydney but who is presently in Oregon for a Shakespeare festival. Charlie raised some questions about origins of some items that he asked me to look into.

Thanks, guys.

As a result, this week will be Readers Write Week.

First cab off the rank will be David.

David writes:

I remember the old button A & B phone boxes. As kids we passed two on our walk to school and always stopped to press button B in the hope that someone had forgotten to do so. We occasionally got lucky and became the proud owners of 4 old pennies (about 3 Aussie cents) which we spent on ha'penny chews at the sweet shop.

Apropos typewriters I am surprised that you didn't mention correcting fluid - Tippex in the UK - which I consumed in large quantities when typing up my dissertation.

Some comments:
  • Who remembers that if you dialled a number on the old Button A and B phones, you could speak to someone without coins if you yelled into the earpiece?
  • Comments noted about the correction fluid, David, but there may be confusion about the names.
  • Remember the Monkees, who were the American Beatles? No, that’s unkind, they may have been created as such but they developed their own identity and had some good songs, as well as an entertaining TV show.
  • Well, Bette Nesmith Graham, the mother of Monkee Michael “I think I will travel to Rio” Nesmith, was a typist and commercial artist. She was also the inventor in 1951 of the liquid correction fluid that she called “Mistake Out”, which she began marketing in 1956. When she began to sell commercially in the early 1960’s, the name was changed to “Liquid paper”. She sold from her home for 17 years and in 1979 the Liquid Paper Corporation was sold to the Gillette Corporation for $47.5 million with royalties.
  • Bette made more from Liquid Paper than Michael ever did from music but don’t feel too bad for him. When Bette died in 1980 aged 56, Michael, her only son, inherited half of his mother's $50+ million estate;

Bette with son Michael

 Hey, hey, they’re the Monkees . . . Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones

Michael Nesmith today
  • And, whilst recalling, who remembers that Micky Dolenz was the main character in the TV show Circus Boy? . . .

  • After correcting fluid there was a further development for correcting typewriting errors: strips of paper that were placed over the typos and the same incorrect letter or number was typed again. This covered the offending typo with a white layer and the correct letter or digit was then typed over the top. This strip of paper was known as Tipp-Ex.
  • Tipp-Ex was invented in Germany in 1958. Tipp-Ex started to produce white correction fluid in 1965 under the brand Tipp-Ex, but also as C-fluid. The name "Tipp-Ex" is based on "tippen", the German word for "to type", and "ex" short Latin for "out".
Some typos . . . 

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