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A rare Toshiba typewriter from the 1950s uses a trilingual index of thousands of characters

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April 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

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Toshiba began production in the 1940s Index typewriters with massive horizontal cylinders containing thousands of symbols. One issue, the BW-2112 – watch the demonstration from the New Orleans-based company Typewriter collector Above to see how the redesign uses manual rotation and a metal pointer to print the characters – was a particularly advanced model with keys in three languages: Japanese, Chinese, and English.

The trilingual device arranged the characters similar to a Japanese dictionary, which is explained on the page Typewriter Collector Page as follows:

They are arranged phonetically according to the most common “On-Yomi” (or in some cases according to Kun-Yomi) according to the kana syllable (of course many homophones). Red characters help analyze the measured values. The last character to the left of the equal sign can be pronounced as “related” (exercise) and the first character in the next line as “gin” (silver), then “ku” (suffer) in red followed by “kuu” (heaven, empty) become. “Kuma” (bear), “Kun” (teaching, meaning [also the kun in kun-yomi]), “Gun” (group), then “kei” (system) in red were followed by many homophones of “kei”.

Unfortunately Toshiba ceased production of the model when it switched to a western-style keyboard in the mid-1950s that had 48 Japanese instead Kana charactersDevices like this are extremely rare. (above Twisted sifter)

#Language
# Typewriters
#Video

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