April 28, 2021 at 3:02 pm

This Vintage Japanese Typewriter is Fascinating

by twistedsifter


Check out this rare Japanese typewriter made by Toshiba that types in Japanese and English! According to the Typewriter Collector, this is a Toshiba Typewriter Model BW-2112 and consists of over 1,000 characters. It appears to have been made in the late 1940s.

For those wondering how the characters are sorted, a starred YouTube comment suggests:


They’re arranged phonetically by most common “on-yomi” (or kun-yomi in some cases) according to the kana syllabary (many homophones, of course). Can’t see the whole circumference of the cylinder but at about 0:30 it’s clear that the order doubles back at the ring of mathematical symbols.
Red characters help parse the readings. Last character to left of equal sign can be pronounced “kin” (exert) and the first character in next row “gin” (silver), then “ku” (suffer) in red followed by “kuu” (sky, empty), “kuma” (bear), “kun” (teachings, meaning [also the kun in kun-yomi]), “gun” (group), then “kei” (system) in red followed many, homophones of “kei”. It’s the same order in which (mostly compounded character) words in a normal Japanese monolingual dictionary for Japanese speakers would appear.


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