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Typewriter art


The typewriter was invented in the 1870s and flourished during the mid-2oth century. When I first started in journalism everything was typed, in duplicate, and then retyped on the Linotype or Monotype. Now you can adapt an old typewriter as a keyboard for your iPad.

The typewriter’s letters are uniform in width. This led to experiment with the machine as an object to produce art. Concrete poetry used the typewriter extensively, as demonstrated by Alan Riddell’s book Typewriter Art (1975, London Magazine editions). From that volume come these illustrations. The first by Richard Kostelanetz (1970), called Mullions. 


The next by Timm Ulrichs (1962) called Typotexture. 

Finally Alan Riddell’s Two Flags (1968).



4 Comments leave one →
  1. 13/02/2012 1:02 pm

    I make ASCII art. I’ve never heard the term typotexture. I’ve heard this kind of art called greyscale. You’ve given me something new to look for now.

  2. 09/06/2012 1:31 pm

    I am an Eminent Typewriter Artist of India and do portraits on manual typewriter. You may like to view my art at I have made a world record of the largest typewritten portrait.

  3. 22/03/2014 2:15 am

    Fantastic. A great book on Dom Sylvester Houédard called “Notes from the Cosmic Typewriter” was just published this year which ties in with this post nicely. Do you know if a complete scan of this out-of-print book by Riddell exists? Used copies are prohibitively expensive! My best wishes! Derek

    • john pitt permalink*
      22/03/2014 12:44 pm

      Don’t know about that Derek. I have the book but it is fairly long but if there was enough interest I might be able to do a scan. Thanks for your interest. John

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