Posts Tagged ‘1970’

The Racecar of Typewriters

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

In 1970, two prominent companies within their respective industries came together to produce the item on the right. Smith Corona had been producing typewriters and other office equipment since the 19th century. Ghia Design was changing the European automobile design world by creating speedy shapes for manufacturers, most notably the Karmann Ghia. The “Super-G” wasn’t revolutionary in its interior; the mechanics were standard portable-typewriter parts seen in numerous other SCM models. The most notable design features are on the closed-case cover: striking, vibrant colors (turquoise or orange), a racing stripe, and the Ghia logo. I initially thought that Smith-Corona may have simply licensed the Ghia name, but the bold “DESIGN BY” in the logo seems to verify that some designer in need of a pet project was taken away from cars and handed a typewriter design handbook. There is a bit of a disconnect between the interior and the exterior of the typewriter. The cover has straight, speedy lines with softly rounded corners, much as you’d find on a car. The interior, however, exhibits the sharp modernism that was approaching through the 1970s and 80s. One might equate it with the Ghia concept cars that followed shortly thereafter.

In the coming years, Ghia was bought by Ford, and Smith Corona found that mechanical office equipment was ending up in the landfills. Ghia still makes cars, but rebranded Ford models; Smith Corona still puts text to paper, but in a more computerized way. For a short time, however, the unlikely pair managed to make the nearing-obsolete typewriter technology look like it could hold it’s own in the Grand Prix.

Ethiopian Air’s Aviaticus Solaris Empyrus

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

On November 9th, 1970, Janett Schusky was flying on an Ethiopian Airlines ‘fanjet’ plane (Probably a Boeing 720) when it collided with a natural feature: the Equator. Impacting this line, 90° off the rotational axis of the planet Earth, caused damage to neither passengers nor craft, but Schusky’s survival entitled her to the title “Aviaticus Solaris Empyrus“, seemingly a jumble of important-sounding Latin words that may translate to something along the lines of “Flyer to the Heaven of the Sun.” Ethiopia’s famine and troubles during the 80s and 90s may make it seem backward and aboriginal, but they’ve been operating an airline as long as many European countries. Unlike last week’s TWA certificate, which promotes air travel as a worldly benefit, Air Ethiopia’s certificate here seems to promote Ethiopia’s connection to the rest of the world, despite having to cross the Equator to get there.