My name is Brett Schweinberg, and I’m a reporter currently living in Chicago, Illinois.
As a journalist, I’m writing all the time. I really love the sound and the feel of old fashion typewriters, but need the function of a computer. Not being one for compromise, I have embarked on the process of converting a 1920’s underwood typewriter into a fully functioning keyboard and monitor. The plan is to be able to hook up to my laptop’s VGA and USB ports. I may even bring it into the office one day just to get a rise out of my coworkers.
I’ve always been a pretty handy person. I started working with my dad, an interior remodeler, when I was 10 years old. Tagging along with my pops to work became a full-time summer job, and a get-me-over occupation when my journalism career hit the skids.
When I was 12, a friend of my dad’s friend had a 69 Cutlass half under a pile of gravel. We bought it, and by the time I was 17 I was a hack mechanic and the car was running and beautiful.
While I feel that there aren’t too many things I can’t fix, I’m a bit nervous about this project. I haven’t soldered circuitry since high school, and I know nothing about typewriters. I’ve got some metal working skills, but getting the monitor frame just right is going to be a real challenge, especially given that I don’t have a lot of professional metal working tools.
I’m also really going to take some time and think about the design of this project. There’s a lot of style that’s built into the old typewriter, and given the time and money I’m putting into it, I want it to look correct.
That being said, I don’t have a ton of design experience. I’ve made some pretty neat lamps virtually from scrap, and I did some lighting and stage design during my days as a techie in high school, but this could break new ground for me there as well.
To say this is going to be a learning process and a challenge is an understatement. I hope you’ll join me and check back for more updates as this project progress.