Brother, can ya spare $6.99 for a decent writing machine?

Pretty much brand-new, un-used Brother AX-28 for $6.99

Free Script typewheel and packing clips

Some Links:

The replacement ribbons seem to still be manufactured, and cost about $6 each.

The Brother AX-28 Typewriter User’s Manual. (handy for figuring out all the funky functions and modes)

Mr. Martin’s Typewriter Museum. Scroll down to see his Brother AX-28.

Some Other Links to nifty typewriter news stories I found today:

Hoflander: in love with the typewriter

Manual Typewriters Survive with Collectors: Sacramento Bee

Updated: May 5, 2011 — 3:47 pm


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  1. Of course you are! It’s still a typewriter, in its own way. I’ve never really been a fan of the daisywheel but remember vividly Saturday mornings when my mom would take my sister and I to her office so she could get some work done. I would always use the Selectric II on her boss’s desk but one morning I found that it had been replaced with an IBM WheelWriter. I wasn’t very happy but I knew I preferred it over the IBM desktop computer and the blinking orange cursor of its screen. So, yes, you are still a member and we still like you. ;u)

  2. The only reasons I’ve resisted them are: 1. weird proprietary ribbons, and 2. to keep from inflating my already-too-large collection. I think it’s just another drug from the thrift store pushers. Coke and Pepsi, morphine and heroin, you get the idea.

  3. The lag is what kills the experience for me. Maybe I’ve gotten spoiled by the responsiveness of the manual keyboard (and my computer), but I can’t abide the catching-up feeling I always get on an electronic machine. That, and the infernal built-in dictionary that beeps every time I miss a word (which is far too often, sadly — and made worse because I’m distracted by lag!)

    Nobody in the ‘Sphere should begrudge you your new toy, though.

    1. The dictionary is turned off by default. I know how to turn it on, but I choose not to, as I prefer the raw output when I’m typewriting. I miss the bell, though. A beep just isn’t the same, and I can’t hear it usually.

    2. That’s it, Mike! I was wondering what it was about the Wheelwriter at work that I absolutely despise. It’s the lag. The darn thing sounds and feels like it has so much going on inside it, and yet there does seem like there is a delay between pushing a button and something showing up on the paper. The way it corrects is a joy, though, compared to using correction tape on the manual machines at home.

      Ted, your contemplation of this endeavor really made me question our elitism about manual-versus-electronic. Not being able to change fonts is the only criticism I can make against manual typewriters. Maybe that is why a Blickensderfer is so appealing to many of us, weird keyboard layout not withstanding. Then again, try and find a usable Blick for $6.99.

      I’m going to guess that the sound of your new machine wouldn’t incite anyone to riot, too, and that might be another good characteristic, in view of recent discussions.

      1. Yep, I went into this experiment as a way of opening my own mind about a class of typewriter that I instinctively despised. I can’t say I love the thing, but I’m now aware that it has a valid place in a writer’s toolkit – with certain limitations (lag, requires being 5 feet from a wall outlet, no nice bell ring) and certain advantages (easy font change, flexible editing modes, easy corrections and easy on the fingers). I’m still not going to cry if I see them going to landfills, but neither will I consider someone a Philistine if they bring one to a type-in. I figure that’s a step forward. (:

  4. If I ever find one of the golfball portables, I’ll get it–like the ones Brother made. I think I’ll skip the daisy-wheel models…

    But nobody is going to want to exclude you just because you have a wedge. :| As WordRebel says, they’re still typewriters! I have three electric typebar machines, and I enjoy using them. :) Have fun!

  5. I must confess that my first typewriter was a 1980’s vintage Smith Corona SC-100 electronic, with daisy wheel print, cartridge ribbon and correction tape cartridge. It had great quality text, and the response was very fast. I ended up getting rid of it, years later, in my non-typewriter era, before I rediscovered manuals.

    I have this theory (which I must explore in a future blog article) that as computer technology advances, vintage electronic typewriters will come to resemble manual typewriters more than they will resemble computers. That they’ll become more acceptable as vintage writing tools, like manual typers are now.

    As for the distinctions between golf-ball vs daisy wheel, the daisy wheel mechanism is much more elegantly simple from an engineering perspective. That’s one of the things I really liked about my SC, its simplicity.

    Great post, thanks.


  6. I recently found my mother’s old white wedge, a early 1990s Smith Corona XD 5600, and it has a typewheel called “Regency 10,” which like Brother’s “Brougham,” is a dead ringer for Courier. I guess in the days before Courier came free with every computer it was still worth slightly copying to get out of paying royalties.

    1. I dunno, I think Brougham is more similar to the Olympia Modern Pica No. 67 type style than to Courier. A bit more rounded than standard Pica or Courier. I suspect you’re right about the royalties, though. (:

  7. “NO NO, MUNK, YOU ARE FIRED”….just kidding. I’m no D. T.

    Isn’t it another leadership quality to be open-minded, be willing to try something new, something one “instinctively despise”? Munk, I guess part of your diving into this new toy may have something to do with it reminding you of your mom’s machine, thus, your mom. And see how everyone decides to keep you around, showing yet another leadership quality: tolerance/acceptance, for I’m very much in lack of this invaluable virtue. Of course, we let you be freely you! You are here to stay.

    Here’s my memory of typewriters. First, my uncle used to own a print shop(?)which was filled with typewriters back in the 1960’s when I was just a little girl. This was back in Taipei, Taiwan. Both English ones and Chinese ones. You should see a Chinese manual typewriter under Google Image. I don’t know how the typist ever find the characters she is looking for among the thousands that are on a tray in front of her.

    Everytime when I entered the shop and walked straight through this narrow walkway to the end where my uncle would be sitting at a big table, I’d be bombarded with the sounds of key strokes that resemble a host of dancing crickets having a party or something. Left hand sides are the English manual typewriters. Right hand side, the huge Chinese ones. And they were all operated by ladies. Second, it’s my father’s electric typewriter. I may have used it to type up a couple college papers.

    I was bitten by the manual typewriter bug a couple weeks ago. How did it happen? That’s a story in itself. After doing some research, whatever it was, my mind settled on the Olivetti Underwood Lettera 32 with cursive font. I won this one which is now on its way to me. Well, I sure hope it works as well as the seller described it. If not, Munk probably would say, “I warned you about this!!!” Well, wish me good luck! I need to get new ribbons for this typewriter. I wonder if I should get it from the local typewriter repair shop or eBay/Internet?Hope it’s not too difficult to change the ribbon.

    I realized that not all cursive fonts are equal. It’s as if every font whether cursive or not, speaks of a specific personality or a particular mood. For instance, this Script Munk demoed looks like something written by our class model student, doesn’t it? But, it simply does not feel like Munk. Sorry, I don’t mean to say that you weren’t a model student in elementary school. I wouldn’t know. I only mean what I mean. It is boring cursive compared to Lettera 32. Somehow, Lettera 32 is so much more alive among all the cursive ones offered lately on eBay. There is a certain defiant spirit with the font. I also love Hermes 3000 cursive font. Hope someday I’ll get that one. Hermes 3000 cursive feels very solid and substantial and beautiful at the same time. It’s almost like a balance of Yin and Yang, whoever designed that font! Bravo!

    Well, I must say that for me, I agree with you Mike and Mtcoalhopper -the lag will drive me nuts. A beep is not a ding…….! A ding travels in the air. A beep sort of just drop dead on you. And yes, it can be very very addictive to want to get more and more. Peter is right. I do try hard to fight my desire to “possess” esp those heavy antique ones. I have a thin tread of sense left in me (thank God it’s a silk one) to keep me from bidding on something that I do not really need.

    It’d be good to have a regular font one. I still seem to have my partiality over Lettera 32 or 22. I am a very petite person with small hands. Realistically, how different are they as far as typing on them is concerned? But something inside me also is holding me back telling me to wait until I try the Lettera 32 cursive to see if my fingers are up to this task of dancing all over the keyboard up and down up and down. I can see why writers love to type on a manual typewriter. It certainly seems to have a life of its own as it responds to your every key pounding. It’s as if the inner emotions of a writer is amplified and verified by the sound of every keystroke.

    Thank you Munk for trying the A-28 out for us all. I agree that it has its legitimate spot in the typosphere.

  8. I’d say the Lettera 32 is an excellent choice for petite fingers. They’re almost too petite for me, and I didn’t much like my L32 until I dropped its guts into the much beefier case of a Lettera 35, and now it’s among my favorite typewriters to type with.

    Regarding ribbons, if you happen to have a local typewriter shop, then by all means go there and buy your ribbons. Make friends with the proprietor and you won’t regret it. Those guys have loads of fun stories to tell and plenty of good advice for you. It’ll enrich your life, and you’ll have a place to take your machine if it needs some fixin’. If he’s anything like my typewriter guy, he’ll be happy to change your ribbon for you or show you how to do it the right way.

    Welcome to the typosphere!

  9. Thanks for your great advice Munk! I just called the local guy. He said that it will be 20 dollars or so for an L32 ribbon replacement. He’ll put it in for me. Now, I’m waiting for the reality check when my L32 arrives. I hope I enjoy it as much as I think I would.

  10. Ted, do you still have the Brother AX-28.

    I have a YX-50 (??) and will not part with it. I love the 80 character display, even if it is only 2 lines. Much better than the 20 character window on a cheap electronic. It is so hard to edit a long document when you can only see 20 characters at a time. Even a short document is a pain.

    1. nah, sold or gave it away years ago. They’re easy to find if I ever want another. (:

  11. Mr. Munk:
    Good evening & Season’s Greetings sir.
    My mother recently saved an AX-28 from Goodwill and typed up her annual Christmas letter on it. She is happy with the machine, but there are many “bells & whistles” that she cannot figure out. I’ve been hunting for the user manual to assist her and was very pleased to find your page with a loving description of the machine. You have a link above titled “The Brother AX-28 Typewriter User’s Manual”. But that link directs to a PDF that is behind a password-protected FTP site: which of course I do not have credentials to enter. Can you offer me any guidance on how I can obtain this manual sir? Unless I am doing something incorrect, it appears this manual is not offered on the website. My mom has even phoned Brother direct and spoke with them on the phone for about 45 minutes wherein they attempted to help her with some of the features, but with little luck (even Brother told her they did not immediately have access to the user manual).
    Thank you kindly for your time & Have a great night !

    1. I checked, and I don’t seem to have any stuff for the AX28 anymore. Sorry (:

      1. Thanks anyway sir, appreciate your time.
        And very cool website BTW — I can tell you’re passionate about the subject!
        Have a great weekend.

        1. I have a ZX 50 which appears very similar. I’ll be happy to try and answer any questions you have. Check eBay for a photo of the zx 50 and see if it appears the same to you.

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