electric typewriters

My grandfather used to design military aircraft. They had him work inside a giant faraday cage to make sure that the tiny electrical signals in his typewriter could not be picked up and deciphered by the Soviets.

The Cutting Edge of Library Technology!

Throughout history, libraries have always been on the cutting edge and the first to make widespread use of the newest technology.  The Cleveland Public Library was no exception, as you can see below. 

Shown here is Kathleen Dowd, Catalog Department, Main Library, 1937. Miss Dowd is operating one of the Library’s typewriters specially fitted to accommodate two catalog cards simultaneously, enabling rapid and accurate duplication of the usually complex material which forms the card’s contents.

A motor-driven eraser speeds the work in the Catalog Department! Photo taken May 1937. Seriously? Is erasing that hard that you need a motor-driven eraser? I will never again complain about today’s youth…

Shown here is the Library’s multigraph, used for quantity production of catalog cards. May, 1937. The multigraph was an early copy machine that had the distinction of reproducing letters that looked like they were typewritten.

A Library employee using the Telautograph machine, ca. 1925.  The telautograph was an early precursor to the fax machine, reproducing hand written information by transmitting electrical impulses from one station to another. 

The Library’s Telautograph machine was used to send information between the Public Catalog room (pictured above, ca. 1925) to the Sociology Division and the Technology Division.

One of Cleveland Public Library’s earliest online catalog terminals. The Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) was made available for use by selected Main Library subject departments on an experimental basis in the Summer of 1980. By the end of the year, the OPAC service had been extended to all public departments in the Main Library and Business and Science Building. The Library’s catalog of 1.2 million individual titles was fully online by December 1st, 1982.   

Dr. Ervin Gaines, Director and Ms. Marion Huttner, Deputy Director, using the Library’s new Online Public Access Catalog, early 1980′s. To the dismay of many staff and patrons, Dr. Gaines closed the Main Library Public Catalog room on February 1st, 1984.  It held 5 million cards at the time and was long regarded as the nerve center of the collections.

Creepypasta #1031: Something Fishes For People In Champagne Lake

Length: Medium

The following letter was delivered to my PO box 6 days ago with several ten-cent stamps more than 50 years old. It was typed by electric typewriter and folded neatly in thirds. There is business card in the center of the letter for a used Pontiac lot in Ox Bow Washington; there is a blue ball-point arrow pointing to a body of water in a mini map on the back. The letter has been transcribed verbatim:

June 17th, 1995

FROM: Gilbert Sena, Sr. (Nom De Plume)

TO: Howard Moxley

RE: Advertisement in June’s issue of Persistent Press, page 444: “Sell or trade me your secrets. All deals negotiable, practical and absolutely discrete”

Dear Mr. Moxley,

The world as we know it will be ending in God’s great second flood soon, so there is no reason in holding secrets anymore, no matter how large. I can’t tell you my real name or the real name of this lake, only the code name we used- Champagne, formally Opium Lake. I think the people in charge are on the lookout for the particular coordinates, so I marked the location on the card. It’s not on street maps anymore, but a smart lad like you can figure it out without a problem.

I guard a lake where something fishes for people. No one has ever seen the fisher. Some think it lives somewhere in the vents that open at the bottom of the lake. Sometimes I believe the water itself is alive. No one from my family ever needed to see the fisher, as evidence surrounded the lake in the form of things humans truly desire.

My great grandpop Chester was the first to make contact with the Indians near Champagne Lake. The first nations feared the lake and stayed at least a half a day’s journey from it, and would only say this one thing of it: “do not trust anything that comes in or goes out of it. Nothing survives in the water.”

While it was true the water of the lake was unnaturally free of even a slick of algae, my family saw the money in setting up a mill to fell the 1000 year old giant cedars and float them down to the city for a fat payout. Greed is strong, strong enough to make a man ignore the strangest things, including myself.

My family offered good miller pay with no questions asked, attracting hordes of criminals and those wanting to stay unknown. My family would never had made as much money as they did without the underground flow… not a single week passed where not less than a dozen men would lose their lives to visions of their loves struggling to swim in the center of the lake, calling their names, using their REAL voices. The lake reads your memories like an open book. The lake made some men see boats filled with whiskey and narcotics, guns and gold. It will make you see anything in order for you to swim in. Once you do, you are never seen again.

The mill was forced to shut down by the feds in 1930 after 95 men went in mass night dive; the only survivor said there was a “glowing doorway of light at the bottom of the lake”. Life has grown back around the lake, whom the lake also effects; I saw a mother elk paddle into the water to save a fawn, probably one that was lost to her long ago. Any and all fallen trees, dead animals, debris ash and fingernails alike vanishes, into what we think are volcanic vents below the lake.

My grandpop showed me the origin of the lake, a calcified bolder with a crack large enough to slide your hand resting up near the lake. The flow was able to keep the gigantic mile-long lake level by itself.

The water from the rock is pale and tastes like licking the side of a bolder mixed with pennies. Life seemed peaceful to me because I never saw an strange thing for the first 2 years, not until was 11 and saw the boat at the far end of the lake.

I ran as close as I could to it and saw the new aluminum boat filled with “Happy Birthday!” wrapping paper half-covering a mountain of game cartridges and consoles. My mother grabbed my arm to shake loose the idea of EVER stepping foot into the lake. 

“It WANTS you to swim inside” she warned that time, “Preferably to the bottom. You would throw you life away for toys?”

I always keep a six foot clearance from the shore, but the lake is cruel and creative as it is relentless. The lake has all manners ways to lure me in over the years: a golden husky puppy yelping and gargling for help, frightened with panic and confusion of why I wouldn’t help it when it was swimming towards me with all its strength. My dream bike rolling down a hill and right into the shallow part of the lake- if I hurry, I could grab it- or Becka Hoffman, girl of my dreams, bare chested and hip deep in the in the lake at moonlight, beckoning with her arms, grinning, cooing “it’s fine to swim in the lake if you don’t chase anything”. All lies.

It was an enchanting, wondrous hell, but it was better than any school or a job. I spent all the time I had in what was left of Champagne Lake. I ran a family gas station at the end of the turnaround and to warn tourists to turn around for 32 years. Most don’t look into the lake. Some do. There isn’t much an old man like me can do to stop a young buck who sees his love drowning in the lake, even if he looks into it for a second or two. 

The authorities already knew about the lake and could overlook a few missing people reports a year, but when 40 people from a music festival came a mile away came to swim and cool off, 39 of them swam to the bottom of the lake after “a gateway of loving white light opened in the bottom of the lake”, per one survivor who couldn’t swim. The only trace of the 39 is a cell phone and a pair of sunglasses on a branch.

Every American law enforcement and intelligence agency came to Champagne Lake over the course of three years and scanned the lake to find it not only devoid of bodies, but of all life in general- one agent even said that the bottom of the lake looked like a compulsively clean aquarium. Three separate agencies demanded that the lake be drained after their scans showed nothing. I was filling in for an ill elder then, and made the decision to go ahead, not that I had a choice. I wanted to see the fisher, if it indeed was at the bottom of the 300’ lake, but not before I told them at our first and ONLY meeting that it was all a lost cause- no matter HOW much water you take out of the lake, the spring will fill it right back up. 

They laughed at me said they already planned it all out by having two overflows down the mountain and a way to slow the flow. I warned them of my story my grandpop told me of the worst rains in a century that flooded the river and the community of Champagne Lake, and that the water, even as little as a three feet deep, is enough for people to disappear chasing their desires just as much as if it were Champagne lake itself. The managers walked out on me as I warned them it’s not a lake at all, it’s living, it’s a feeding creature. They started work the next day.

They cut a trench in the mountain down to an old riverbed while they bolted a plate over the stream of water from the rock. It worked for a day, when the water in the lake was low enough to vibrate and for us to hear a deep HMMMMMMHHHNNN hum that came from the deep in the cracks at the bottom the lake wide enough to swallow cars whole.

We then heard a creaking shear of metal and the explosion of a geyser from the bolted the plate to the rock. The skyscraper of water from the rock was now taller than the trees.

The pressure was too high to cap- no good if we did, all ten million gallons rushed down the mountain and knocked out most of Ox Bow and then stopped as suddenly as it began. Those that didn’t drown were chasing loved ones and pets in the disaster that followed. There are at least 3 Champagne lakes now.

The only thing that remains above water in town is the campground, and myself. The contractors are trying every crazy trick to plug the weeping crater, including injecting expanding foam into it and sealing it with a stone cap. Foam stronger than the stone itself they gloated. It’s working, for now, but I know the water is building pressure. I can hear it breaking the earth apart me under me. Good. Let it burst and cover the entire state in this cursed lake. Maybe it can even reach the ocean from here, then we ALL will be returning to the sea. At least people will see what they really want before they vanish forever. I hope I’ll never live to see it.

Glad to know another set of eyes on this. That’s all I want. 

~ Gil”

I found the town of Ox Bow on zoning maps. When I arrived, I found security fences up but nothing active, not even a line on the fence. In the distance, I heard a stony groan from deep within the mountains. It sounds like the entire area is going to erupt at any second.

I found a place to enter in the south east and followed an old road to a very large body of water resting between the tree-covered mountains, what was once Ox Bow. The mirror surface was broken only by the top of a church steeple, I was sure of that until I saw the canoe aimlessly drifting near the center of the lake. What I desired most was on it.

Credits to: IamHowardMoxley

Hi guys!! I know I’ve been very inactive lately because I’ve been so busy writing/editing, and I have always been hopeless at keeping blogs up to date anyway. 

Also recently my typewriter broke, which was … terrible 😓 But then I got a new one! It’s another electric, but a Nakajima this time. I love her very much and I named her Carrie Fisher 💖 Hope you’re all doing okay

A friend's reminder...

It is Dangerous to Read Newspapers

While I was building neat
castles in the sandbox,
the hasty pits were
filling with bulldozed corpses

and as I walked to the school
washed and combed, my feet
stepping on the cracks in the cement
detonated red bombs.

Now I am grownup
and literate, and I sit in my chair
as quietly as a fuse

and the jungles are flaming, the under-
brush is charged with soldiers,
the names on the difficult
maps go up in smoke.

I am the cause, I am a stockpile of chemical
toys, my body
is a deadly gadget,
I reach out in love, my hands are guns,
my good intentions are completely lethal.

Even my
passive eyes transmute
everything I look at to the pocked
black and white of a war photo,
can I stop myself

It is dangerous to read newspapers.

Each time I hit a key
on my electric typewriter,
speaking of peaceful trees

another village explodes.

(by Margaret Atwood, 1939-)