Lego’s Vintage Typewriter Is A Work Of Art

Lego’s Vintage Typewriter Is A Work Of Art
Before mechanical keyboards, we had these. (Photo: The Lego Group)

From a distance Lego Ideas set 21327, Typewriter, doesn’t look very Lego. With printed pieces for each of its 32 keys, a working typebar mechanism, and a new cloth Lego element replicating a typewriter ribbon, it looks every bit the vintage writing tool it’s meant to emulate.

Originally conceived by Lego Masters UK champion Steve Guiness as a Lego Ideas project in 2018, the official Lego Typewriter set differs from his concept in that instead of using bricks to emulate paper, you can feed real sheets of bleached, pressed wood into the brick-built machine. The set is meant to pay homage to the modern typewriters of a bygone age, including the one used by Lego Group founder Ole Kirk Christiansen. Between that soft green colour and its distinctive form, it’s instantly recognisable as what it’s supposed to be.

No Dvorak layout? No sale.  (Photo: The Lego Group) No Dvorak layout? No sale. (Photo: The Lego Group)

Again, aside from the studs on the ribbon holder and a few along the frame it barely looks like Legos at all. This is the “computer” my journalist ancestors used to type up their primitive pseudoblogs before carefully sealing them in envelopes to mail to the ancient internet gods along with an appropriate sacrifice. It’s a celebration of putting words on paper for the world to see.

Press a key and the little typing bars rise. The carriage advances. The platen roller can be fed sheets of paper. I imagine if you swabbed the small Lego pieces with ink, it might even type some dots.

Perfect if you want to type colons, not great for much else.  (Photo: The Lego Group) Perfect if you want to type colons, not great for much else. (Photo: The Lego Group)

It’s an amazing feat of Lego engineering which, as it often does, translates into a relatively pricey set. Lego Ideas set 21327 goes on sale July 1 (earlier for Lego VIP members) for $329.99. As someone who recently spent $400 on the Lego Marvel Daily Bugle set, the timing couldn’t be worse. But the value seems excellent. Purchasers get 2,079 pieces that can be assembled into a nearly 5-inch-tall, 10-inch-wide typewriter. They also get a signed letter from Lego Group chairman Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, translated into 43 different languages. Said letter can be fed into the Lego typewriter for display, which is all sorts of clever.

As a Lego fan I think I’ve spent enough money on sets this year. As a career writer, however, I might have to type up a sternly worded letter to my wallet. I know just the machine for it.

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