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Hobby///Antique typewriters

Not my type These mechanical marvels have stood the test of time Story and photos by Wayne Chargualaf

“D

oes it have a spacebar?” This was the question asked by a teenaged girl as she took a seat in front of an L.C. Smith No. 8 Secretarial, a typewriter dating from the early 1930s. The typewriter’s owner, local artist Ariel Dimalanta, patiently showed her how to work the old machine’s heavy, clunky action so that she could compete in a typing competition held at the Agana Shopping Center on June 29. The other contestants who eventually lined up were a mix of curious and tentative youths, and older people wanting to try their hand at a skill they hadn’t employed in years. The winner, Joseph Borja, walked away with a spy camera that can fit into the palm of a hand, also from Dimalanta’s collection of antiques. “A friend of mine turned me on to old typewriters,” Dimalanta says. “I thought they were interesting because they were used to create media and I work in the media field. The mechanism also intrigued me.” Much as vinyl made a comeback after it had been declared dead due to the rise of the compact disc — which was itself, of course, superseded by digital streaming — the typewriter has become the obsolete technology fetish of choice. Driven by a generation of young collectors who didn’t grow up banging words directly onto paper with little, furiously clicking machines. Over the past few years, the trend gave birth to a spate of books, websites and social media groups obsessed with typewriters. Famous devotees like actor Tom Hanks and a well-received 2017 documentary called “California Typewriter” brought the trend fully into the spotlight. Timely as it may be, however, Dimalanta’s collection — which was displayed in the Agana Shopping Center during the month of June — predates the recent rise in popularity. “I started collecting antiques in the ‘80s,” he 30

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