Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Original Self-Starter

Most keys from vintage typewriters are instantly recognizable to today's keyboard users. We still use Tab, Backspace and Shift keys. And even though there isn't a Margin Release key anymore, we can understand what that old key was for.

But what the heck was the Self Starter? This lovely red key is only found on the rare typewriter. It's a popular key for making typewriter jewelry because of the "pop" of color it can give a bracelet. And we all want to be self starters, right?

The self starter key would automatically advance the typewriter carriage 5 spaces in order to indent a paragraph. It is sort of a shortcut Tab key. Here's an ad from 1916 for the Remington model that included the Self Starter key. The ad boasts:

"One touch on a Self Starter key and the carriage darts instantly and toes the mark at the correct starting point. It leaves nothing for the operator to do but just WRITE."

According to the ad, this will save the typist 4 seconds per paragraph! And we think we are time obsessed today!