Destiny Miner, 20, reacts as William Mobley, 22, tries to make an apostrophe but gets the number 8 while trying to type on a manual typewriter on Colby Avenue in Everett as part of the city’s annual Word on the Street interactive art project. Neither had used a manual typewriter before sitting down to type. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Destiny Miner, 20, reacts as William Mobley, 22, tries to make an apostrophe but gets the number 8 while trying to type on a manual typewriter on Colby Avenue in Everett as part of the city’s annual Word on the Street interactive art project. Neither had used a manual typewriter before sitting down to type. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Clack-ding-zip! The typewriters are back @ street corners

Get pecking. They’re rolling away on Aug. 6. Snap a pic and text about it.

EVERETT — Watch out for people downtown who are lost in their devices.

The oldfangled type, that can only type.

Nine vintage typewriters are stationed on city sidewalks for the annual “Word on the Street” project.

“It is the only time during the year that we’re really celebrating the written word,” said Carol Thomas, the city’s cultural arts manager.

The typewriters are on rolling metal tables painted by artists. Get clacking before the relics roll away Aug. 6.

Write whatever you want or use a prompt.

“We have new questions this year,” Thomas said.

The Question of the Day at the top of the page is an alternative to staring at a blank slate or dutifully writing “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

Prompts include favorite memory, superhero name and important qualities in a relationship.

For some typists, it’s the first time to ever use this antiquated means of communicating which, incidentally, featured the @ shortcut decades before digital.

There is no spellcheck or magic delete button, and these machines can be stubborn brats if you make a typo.

Either X it out or use Wite-Out correction fluid. BYOB.

Still not happy? Pull out the paper and start over.

Roll in a crisp page and press the return lever.

Those tasks tripped up Tatiana McKay, 32, after she put a fresh sheet in the typewriter in front of Narrative Coffee.

“I don’t know if I loaded it right,” she said, perplexed.

The paper went in crooked and she couldn’t figure out how to get the carriage to return.

“I was going to write the first line of my favorite poem,” McKay said. “This is a really cool idea. It actually kind of made me want a typewriter.”

The machines are clunky and noisy. That’s part of their no-frills charm.

“It’s a tactile, physical sensation,” author Richard Porter wrote on “It’s the joy of hard copy thoughts spilling from a manual machine, the give of the carriage return lever, and the satisfying ding! of the platen sliding back to position.”

Actor Tom Hanks’ passion for typewriters is as deep as his character’s internet romance in the movie “You’ve Got Mail.”

Hanks not only collects them the way Jay Leno collects cars, he made a documentary film “California Typewriters” and wrote a book of short stories, “Uncommon Type.”

For this old journalist, nostalgia has its place — in history, that is, not in these deadline-crazed times. This story on a typewriter would have wadded three sheets of paper, drained half a bottle of Wite-Out and taken six times as long to write.

But it would have looked niftier.


Andrea Brown:; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Typewriter sites

Jonn Laurenz Fine Cuts, 2908 Wetmore Ave.; Narrative Coffee, 2927 Wetmore Ave.; Wetmore Theatre Plaza, 2710 Wetmore Ave.; Silver Cup Coffee, 2707 Colby Ave.; J. Matheson Gifts, 2615 Colby Ave.; Renee’s Contemporary Clothing, 2820 Colby Ave.; Major League Pizza, 2811 Colby Ave.; Schack Art Center, 2921 Hoyt Ave.; and Imagine Children’s Museum, 1502 Wall St.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cat killed, 9 people displaced after duplex fire in Everett

None of the people were injured in the fire reported around 1:15 a.m. in the 11500 block of Meridian Avenue S.

Brian Henrichs, left, and Emily Howe, right, begin sifting out the bugs from their bug trap along Port Susan on Monday, May 22, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘A delta for the future’: Scientists try to save salmon at Stilly’s mouth

The Stillaguamish River’s south fork once supported 20,000 salmon. In 2019, fewer than 500 fish returned to spawn.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

A few weeks before what could be her final professional UFC fight, Miranda Granger grimaces as she pushes a 45-pound plate up her driveway on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Her daughter Austin, age 11 months, is strapped to her back. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Daily Herald staff wins 5 honors at annual journalism competition

The Herald got one first-place win and four runner-up spots in SPJ’s Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

Panelists from different areas of mental health care speak at the Herald Forum about mental health care on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At panel, mental health experts brainstorm answers to staff shortages

Workforce shortages, insurance coverage and crisis response were in focus at the Snohomish forum hosted by The Daily Herald.

Kamiak High School is pictured Friday, July 8, 2022, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kamiak football coach fired amid sexual misconduct investigation

Police believe Julian Willis, 34, sexually abused the student in portable classrooms on Kamiak High School’s campus.

Compass Health’s building on Broadway in Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Compass class teaches first aid — for mental health

A one-day course hosted in Snohomish County is designed to triage behavioral health challenges: “This gave me many more tools.”

The Wilderness Land Trust transferred a 354-acre property straddling the Wild Sky and Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Areas to public ownership, adding it to the designated wilderness areas. (The Wilderness Land Trust)
Wild Sky Wilderness grows 345 acres, as transfer chips at private land

The Wilderness Land Trust announced it had completed a transfer near Silvertip Peak to the U.S. Forest Service.

Most Read