Trends: retro typewriters

Manual typewriters were oh so quickly discarded in an eagerness to switch over to computers … but as time has passed by their ascetic beauty has started to be recognised.  They’ve been dusted off to become retro pieces to admire and cherish.  I’ve spotted a few shops giving them centre stage in their windows – Le Labo, the fragrance boutique on Devonshire Street, Lily Gardner the Jewellery design shop and Traffic People, both in SW3.  I also found them as part of displays in Author Shoes in Camden, Beyond Retro in Stoke Newington and The Front Room eatery in Tollington Park.  Catherine Colebrook had one resting on her counter at the Top Drawer exhibition at Olympia.  When I popped into Future & Found in Tufnell Park, the owner Andrea Bates told me she had one on display which didn’t work but someone still wanted to buy it and she also knew a couple who bought a typewriter to give guests the opportunity  to type a witty note to the bride and groom.

Typewriters are also being immortalised on prints, like the one I saw at Future & Found and home accessories such as tea towels stocked by Rockett St George.  Designers are re-using old typewriter keys and transforming them into jewellery and cufflinks – like Posh Totty Designs and Kapunk.  I spoke to Ryan Stanford, the owner of Kapunk, about the cufflinks he makes; “The typewriter cufflinks make excellent groomsmen gifts and can be personalised with initials.  I personally prefer those with hidden messages created from combining the keys in a clever way.  Turn a V sideways and match it with a 3 and you have a heart <3, turn the eights sideways to create an infinity symbol ?Y is question why.  I consider what I do as a celebration of a forgotten time and think that at least a portion of these machines should live on, be seen, and appreciated.”

Typewriter motifs are adorning home accessories, I found some fabulous cushions made by Acacia Design Ltd featuring typewriters and typewriter keys – see below.  If you want to buy a typewriter for display you could try eBay or ETSY. Credits: text and images by Homegirl London, cufflink image supplied by Posh Totty Designs.  Special thanks to Andrea Bates and Ryan Stanford.

Le Labo, 28a Devonshire Street, London W1G 6PS

Le Labo, 28a Devonshire Street, London W1G 6PS,
www.lelabofragrances.com

Lily Gardner, 125 Sydney Street, London SW3 6NP Homegirl London

Lily Gardner, 125 Sydney Street, London SW3 6NP,
www.lilygardner.com

Traffic People, 178 Kings Road, London SW3 5XP, Homegirl London

Traffic People, 178 Kings Road, London SW3 5XP,
www.trafficpeople.co.uk

Beyond Retro, 92-100 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 7XB

Beyond Retro, 92-100 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 7XB,
www.beyondretro.com

Author Shoes, 21-22 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AG,

Author Shoes, 21-22 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AG,
www.authorshoes.com

The Front Room, 158 Tollington Park, London N4 3AD,

The Front Room, 158 Tollington Park, London N4 3AD

Catherine Colebrook stand at Olympa, Homegirl London

Catherine Colebrook exhibition stand at Olympia,
www.catherinecolebrook.com

Typewriter Picture, Milk Bottle, Future and Found, Fortess Road

Future & Found, 116A Fortess Road, London NW5 2HL,
www.futureandfound.com

Typewriter Tea Towel, £6, Rockett St George

Typewriter Tea Towel, £6,
www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk

Posh Totty Designs, Cufflinks

Personalised Typewriter Cufflinks, £22,
www.poshtottydesigns.com

Typewriter Cufflinks, Kapunk

Personalised Typewriter Cufflinks,
Etsy UK Link

Typewriter Cufflnks, Kapunk

Shift Happens Cufflinks,
Etsy UK Link

arcadia design ltd typewriter cushion

Vintage Typewriter Screen Print Cushion, £28,
www.acaciadesignltd.com

Ta Dah Arcadia Design Ltd

Acacia Design - Ta Dah cushion red linen

Ta Dah! Screen Print Cushion, £28,
www.acaciadesignltd.com

Arcadia Design Ltd typography cushion

Typography Screen Print Hessian Cushion, £28,
www.acaciadesignltd.com