Saturday, November 25, 2017

I Love My Olympia Typewriter

In 1949 Olympia Werke of West Germany introduced the world to the portable Schreibmaschine MittelgroƟ, or SM typewriter. Over the next 15 years, new iterations of this machine would give us the SM8 and SM9, perhaps the world's most perfect writing machine.

The crown jewel in my collection is my 1965 Olympia SM8. Though not the oldest or most interesting to look at, it is my most consistently used machine. It is reliable and solid. In the same way the La Marzocco Linea  built espresso in the Pacific Northwest- anyone who has used one knows- the SM8/9 is the writer's typewriter.

1965 Olympia SM8 serial no. 2754697
I use my SM8 regularly. Every book I make gets some ink from this workhorse. I love the solid feel of the keys and the easy adjustments I can make to keep text aligned and uniform. Sometimes I wish I had an SM9, as if that were a better typewriter because it is the terminus of the line. The biggest differences between the 8 & 9 are touch control and a keyset tabulator beside the space bar (both on the SM9). The 9 has chrome on the carriage ends, but I prefer the matching frame color of the SM8.

The SM8 is perfect; and I will defend her honor against any Tom Hanks character who says otherwise. Any questions?


Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Book of Kells


The Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin is arguably one of the most significant artifacts for any book art enthusiast.

I was in Dublin last June for the 2016 World AeroPress Championship. Rick Steves recommended staying in the dorms at Trinity College. He was right. Trinity College was perfect. The rooms were just right for coming home after gallivanting around Temple Bar. In the morning, after a short walk, I was one of the first people waiting in line to view the Book of Kells exhibit.

Leading up to the Book of Kells is an impressive exhibit of medieval bookery, included many examples the binding process and the equally impressive Book of Durrow.

The final portion of the exhibit is a walk through the Long Room, a 65 meter long archive of some of the oldest books in the at Trinity. It is largest library in Ireland and houses over 200,000 rare and ancient works. There is also the Brian Boru Harp, one of three surviving 15th Centrury Gaelic harps.

I left Dublin feeling inspired by the deep  history I had been surrounded by. It was amazing. There was great food, music, and coffee, too.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dance With the One Who Brought You

Here's the thing about a blog: between binding, a demanding 'real' job, and my lovely family, I don't take time to write. 

I've finally landed a functional, permanent workspace & am going to limit my journal production to members of the Specialty Coffee Community.

I love the community in the coffee industry and, my own journals have played a major role in my professional coffee development. I want to return the favor to my peers & mentors. Plus, I have a few goals & dreams concerning Annotated Press. For now they will remain quietly private. Stay tuned to find out as these dreams are realized.

Best,
Ben

Monday, October 22, 2012

It gets emotional.

I have to admit, I enjoy hearing that there were tears.

A customer contacted me about a collection of albums I put together for her. She was getting married and wanted special memory gifts for her family who couldn't attend the wedding. There were tears, she said. These memories are lifetime memories, active memories that grow and develop every time a new photo is pasted in or a quip is penned.

This is one reason I love custom journals.

Ben
Annotated Press

Thursday, June 7, 2012

When I am working, I drink a lot of coffee.
Be advised: artifact may be present on the pages of bound books.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I started binding books because I couldn’t find any I liked in the stores. I was in college, and had a lot of profound thoughts I needed to capture. The first several were very rough, mostly grocery bags wrapped around cardboard and printer paper, tied together with dental floss. Slowly, the process streamlined, played with different materials and binding methods. Finally, I settled on the Coptic stitch because of the elegant simplicity and the 'braid' produced on the exposed spine.

It is an ancient stitch, the oldest of its style. There is no glue used in the Coptic method, and similar to a keystone arch, each element of the book is integral to the structure. There is strength and durability in these books.

Examining the growth of these books has been fascinating. I wonder how all the books I have sent out are doing. If you have a one of my books, I would love to collect pictures of them in their new places, on shelves, desks, at coffeehouses or posing for a portrait on a European vacation.

All my best,

Ben
-Annotated Press