Typing Class in China.

Online source says it is a typing competition organized by a school in 1991, the most front boy is using a Hero TP110 typewriter. 

practice sheet

typing classroom

typing class in 1991 using Hero TP110 typewriter

The following pictures show what you will see after opening the Hero typewriter package.


A Typewriter Pile up

Below is a random picture took by an American tourist in Shanghai in 1990s.

What can we find in the picture?  A pile of typewriters! At least three different models of Olympia,another three Olivettis. This picture shows one of the many second-hand markets that Shanghai once had and still have today.

These typewriters were probably discarded by trading firms or public schools. Staff of trading firms used to type business correspondence while English teachers type exam papers on weekly basis only to torture students!

In 1990s, my parents bought a HERO typewriter for me as a prize for excellent scores of English tests for an entire school year and not without my insistence that I deserve a prize that expensive. The HERO typewriter cost them 266 yuan (US$33), half of my dad's monthly salary. In comparison, an Olivetti Letter 22 cost some 500 yuan back then. So most local families couldn't afford imported typewriters. But yes, foreign typewriters could be brought home by a doting uncle or a dad's friend who happened to travel overseas. Rarity means an imported typewriter was worth showing off for quite a long time. However, trading firms and public schools could afford expensive imported typewriters which are more durable than locally made ones. I also believe that, instead of importing from Germany, the pictured Olympias were actually from Brazil while Olivettis from Mexico. Back in early 2000 when new typewriters still could be found in local stationary shops, I did check the origin of manufacturing of Olympia and Olivetti typewriters on display.

Why Brazil and Mexico? Because they are also developing countries like China, . So poor brothers are supposed to lend a helping hand to each other! 


Unusual Pica font | Rover 7000

Rover 7000, Made in Italy, with unusual Pica font

Royal Safari with beautiful cursive script

Bigger than bigger

I have two oversized portable typewriters, a blue Torpedo and a Made-in-Italy Rover. I bought them simply because they both have unusual font styles: non-serif for Torpedo and unusual Pica for Rover. However, the other thing in common for both machines is that they both have an unnecessarily big encasement to match their 13" carriage. As a result, underneath a large portion of the surface plastic, there's nothing at all! So an obvious question, why the designer is allowed to waste raw materials?

As I type on both machines, I find them flimsy. At some point, I thought the blue one  was going to collapse.  I typed some pages from my junior high school English book. I think you guys would be interested to know how English was taught in China during entire 1980s to early 1990s.

 Torpedo, with non-serif font

Rover 7000, Made in Italy, with unusual Pica font 

English coursebook for
junior high school students in China
from early 1980s to early 1990s


Sex Sells!

 One seller I frequently encounter on Germany's ebay is westar3. A salient feature of his posts is a mannequin,or an inflatable mate of his, dressed up as a nurse, with both breasts tantalizingly half exposed and half tucked in. It's raunchy but not yet dirty.  

While trying hard not to laugh, I couldn't help but think what the seller is like. I let my imagination run wild. To me, he's probably in his 50s or 60s. A typical day for him: after spending a whole day in his shop, fiddling with typewriters and the doll of course,among many other collectibles, he ends up his day in SEX KINOs or PEEP SHOW places so ubiquitous that tourists in Germany will find it hard not to run into one. And, i'm sure he loves old-school pornography. :-P

Oh, please don't hit me,Mr Westar3, I'm just kidding.

I did write to him once, requesting shipping info but he obviously ignored. Well, it's fine as long as I enjoy his sense of humor. 

Please also pay attention to the ingeniously designed knob of the BROTHER TYPEWRITER. To me, it's rare. 


foreign typewriters once sold in Shanghai during colonial times

See what I've found in China Press newspapers. China Press was published by American in Shanghai during 1911-1949.  As we can see, China imported most typewriters from Germany and U.S.  These papers are now owned by  Zi-ca-wei Bibliotheca. Outside the library, is the Xujiahui Cathedral. Western missionaries also built an orphanage beside the church. 

the Church in 1950s 

the Zicawei Bibliotheca in 1920s

outside the bibliotheca

the church in 1980s

The China Press

the Corona once used by Li Daazhao, a communist revolutionary in 1910s. 

inside the church now

the church at night


the Bibliotheca 


sorry for not being able to update my account


sorry for not being able to update my blog for so long as China's internet connection to the rest of the world was totally shutdown since May.  I'm now using VPN to circumvent restrictions. My old proxy provider was blocked too, now I'm using a new one.


Typing class in China

Some vintage photos I've found on Chinese websites, illustrating how typing classes were once conducted.

 Hero TP 100 typewriters. Two decades ago, I was among them. How time flies! From what the students are wearing, it's probably in early 1990s. 

girls using Flying Fish Typewriter, Model PSQ 100, identical with Hero TP 100 sources say it was in 1985. 

Most likely using Chang Kong typewriters, model unidentified
using Hero Model 930

The boys are using the much-hated Rover series!

Some under-funded school in inland regions provide students keyboards and small little blue screens to train students how to type.   


In Memory of Dr. Ho Feng-shan and Chiune Sugihara, Two men of Righteous Among the Nations ( Edited )

何凤山 Ho Feng-Shan  

Dr Ho Feng-shan with his OLIVETTI typewriter. I have one too. 

Born September 10, 1901 in YiyangHunan; died September 28, 1997 in San Francisco, Dr. Ho Feng-shan was a Chinese diplomat in Vienna who risked his own life and career during World War II to save more than one thousand Jews. Ho's actions were recognized posthumously when he was awarded the title "Righteous among the Nations" by the Israeli organization Yad Vashem in 2000. He is known as "China’s Schindler." Dr. Ho never mentioned a word about it until his daughter Ms. Manli Ho discovered her father's heroic action. 

After the Kristallnacht in 1938, the situation became rapidly more difficult for the almost 200,000 Austrian Jews. The only way for Jews to escape from Nazism was to leave Europe. In order to leave, they had to provide proof of emigration, usually a visa from a foreign nation, or a valid boat ticket. This was difficult, however, because at the 1938 Evian Conference 31 countries (out of a total of 32, which included the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) refused to accept Jewish immigrants. The only country willing to accept Jews was the Dominican Republic, which offered to accept up to 100,000 refugees. Acting against the orders of his superior Chen Jie (陳介), the ROC ambassador to Berlin, Ho started to issue visas to Shanghai for humanitarian reasons. 1,200 visas were issued by Ho in the first three months of holding office as Consul-General.
At the time it was not necessary to have a visa to enter Shanghai, but the visas allowed the Jews to leave Austria. Many Jewish families left for Shanghai, whence most of them would later leave for Hong Kong and Australia. Ho continued to issue these visas until he was ordered to return to the ROC in May 1940. The exact number of visas given by Ho to Jewish refugees is unknown. It is known that Ho issued the 200th visa in June 1938, and signed 1906th on October 27, 1938. How many Jews were saved through his actions is unknown, but given that Ho issued nearly 2,000 visas only during his first half year at his post, the number may be in the thousands.

Chiune Sugihara 杉原 千畝 

Despite  the appalling atrocities that Japanese militarists inflicted upon many nations in Asia, in particular, China during WWII, there were some righteous Japanese with a heart of gold.  Mr. Chiune Sugihara, born January 1900 , died 31 July 1986, was a Japanese diplomat who served as Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Lithuania. During World War II, he helped several thousand Jews leave the country by issuing transit visas to Jewish refugees so that they could travel to Japan. Most of the Jews who escaped were refugees from German-occupied Poland and residents of Lithuania. Sugihara wrote travel visas that facilitated the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family's lives. Sugihara had told the refugees to call him "Sempo", the Sino-Japanese reading of the characters in his first name, discovering it was much easier for Western people to pronounce.[1] In 1985, Israel honored him as Righteous Among the Nations for his actions.