Friday, March 18, 2011
I know that nobody who looks at this blog will have any idea who this person is, but I thought almost anyone could appreciate an obsessive collector of antique typewriters. When I was in high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts, this fellow, Jay Williams, was the school's in-house piano tuner and technician. He's also an excellent composer and trombone player and one of the more interesting people I've ever known. I spent a lot of time with Jay during those three years, talking about everything under the sun, listening to music, and occasionally serving as his amaneunsis (how often do I get to use that word?)--notating his music as he dictated from scores he had written in Braille.
Since that time, Jay has had a second career building mostly electronic prototypes for a company that develops new equipment for blind people. I lost track of Jay for a long time, but recently discovered that he and his wife are now retired and living in Marietta, Georgia. So last weekend, when Tammy and I represented Penland School at the photographic education conference in Atlanta, we stopped on the way to visit Jay and Kathy and, among other things, got a tour of Jay's fantastic collection of typewriters--he has 80 or 100 of them.
Look that this little beauty. A Blicksenderfer from the late 19th century. This crazy little machine had all the type on a cylinder that flipped around and changed angles to make the right letter--almost exactly like the famous IBM Selectric of the 1960s.