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Draplin Design Co., North America


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY LITTLEST SISTER: Leah turns 27 today, that little shit. There’s a big fuss around in the family these days. She’s got a baby on the way. Big news for all things “Draplin.”

Easy on the booze tonight, little girl.

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A MYSTERY OF SORTS: How come some of the old typewriters don’t have a “1” character? Are you just supposed to use an uppercase “I” instead? I’m stumped. I have a Remington Quiet-Riter here and damned if the thing isn’t 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0 without a 1. What, they didn’t use 1’s back in those days? Anyone got an idea on what the hell is going on here? Help.

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OLD ADHESIVES: You know, with a Euro Mission coming up and all, this one gets me pretty fired up: The Razso Travel Label Collection.

(This one was sent in by one Anthony Munoz of Chicago who does business under the impressive moniker, “Cheetafight.com.” We love that name.)

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THE END IS NEAR: “The End” screenshots from long ago. Beautiful stuff.

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YEAH, THAT SHIT IS BOSS, MAN: The Heavy Metal cover gallery. (Via the shimmering metallics of Coudal Partners, Chicago, Ill.)

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01. Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska
02. Galaxie 500 - Today
03. Greenhornes - Sewed Soles

There Are 15 Comments

One usually uses the lowercase “L” for “1” on those things.

You don’t have a “1” key, but hey, they probably threw in a cent symbol.

Posted by: ryan shaw on 01/11/10 at 4:50 PM

the 1’s are missing because in order to save space they wanted you to use “l”, you know, the lower case “L”

Posted by: orville on 01/11/10 at 5:47 PM

Aaron, I remember typing a lowercase €œl€ (ell) for the numeral €œ1.€ As I remember, It looked better than the €œ1€ on my typewriter (Olympia manual).

Posted by: Michael Leddy on 01/11/10 at 7:46 PM

Use a lowercase “L” for the “1”.

A little story: My dad learned how to type on a typewriter without a “1” key. When I was kid in the early ’80s Dad bought a Commodore Vic20 and taught himself how to program - to a point. What really happened was that I learned how to program AND how to debug by going through his non-working code and replacing all of the lowercase “L’s” with “1’s” and making it work. Fun with computers. Heh.


Posted by: -Fred. on 01/11/10 at 8:19 PM

The smaller/portable typewriters used the lowercase “L” for the numeral “1”. It saved space and required fewer moving parts. The lowercase “L”, in most cases, was hard to distinguish from the “1”.

Posted by: Bradley Dicharry on 01/11/10 at 8:23 PM

Excellent choice. I love my Quiet-Riter.

Yes, you’re supposed to substitute for the missing 1. I like to use a lower-case L. And an oh for zero.

There some other cheats, like typing period-backspace-apostrophe to make an exclamation mark.

Say hi to Gary for me. What a trooper.

Posted by: Robert on 01/11/10 at 8:31 PM

Yes, in fact you do use the lowercase “l” for a “1”! My 1936 Royal is the same. It took me a while to get used to the shifting, punctuation, and other old-timey functioning (and every now and then I slip).

I trust you know about the Typewriter Annex and the Typewriter Database?

Posted by: Jess on 01/11/10 at 10:43 PM

From Wikipedia’s entry on Typewriter:

“Many old typewriters do not contain a separate key for the numeral 1 or the exclamation point, and some even older ones also lack the numeral zero. Typists who learned on these machines learned the habit of using the lowercase letter l for the digit 1, and the uppercase O for the zero.”

Posted by: Chris Murphy on 01/11/10 at 11:07 PM

I like whats on the playlist at number one. Good old Lincoln, Nebraska, my home. Got to love the BOSS!!!

I am a graphic designer, just want to send props to you, I have been reading your blog for a few months now, and damn good job boy! Love the work!

Keep it up.


Posted by: sker on 01/12/10 at 5:59 AM


That is it exactly - The uppercase “I” was used as a “1”. I remember my mom (who was a secretary many years ago) telling me about these missing “1”s.


Posted by: Joseph Fosco on 01/12/10 at 6:23 AM

Pawn Stars on the History channel just addressed that same typewriter mystery.

Apparently, the portable typewriters of the early 1900s were the laptops of their day, so the units achieved efficiency, light weight, and lower manufacturing costs by cutting the non-essentials. Apparently that included ditching the “1” key as well as other keys like the “0” and “!.”

Interesting shit.

Posted by: Nate on 01/12/10 at 6:57 AM

about the ‘1 key’ … just a way to save a few pennies on manufacturing costs back in the day … users were expected to use a lowercase ‘L’ in it’s place.

Posted by: dave on 01/12/10 at 7:28 AM


Yes, most older typewriters don’t have a number one key - you just have to use a capital “I” instead. Which I also have always felt to be a bit strange but who am I to question the past?

Posted by: Doug Wilson on 01/12/10 at 7:34 AM

Another note: An exclamation point can be formed by typing a single quote and a period in the same space.

Cent sign? Lower-case C with a slash.

I’ve had my fun inventing new marks with typewriters.

Posted by: tanuki on 01/12/10 at 8:07 AM

Yipes — my smart quotes look stupid, like the ones in my local newspaper online. Sorry about that.

Posted by: Michael Leddy on 01/12/10 at 9:32 AM
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