I actually ran into Ray Charles once, in the Concorde Lounge at Dulles Airport, back in the days when one could accompany friends to the gates. Charles was famous for singing and leading a great band, for great piano playing, and for doing things most people would think blind people can’t or don’t do. Like drive a car.
Should we be surprised that a blind musician would use a typewriter? Is Stevie Wonder a good typist, putting down lyrics so others can sing his songs? Or is this a set-up shot for fun?
There is a series of typewriters by Underwood listed as “Rhythm Touch.” The machine pictured may well be one. Can anyone tell? The image seems to have originated from Greg Fudacz at the Antikey Chop.
The image shows up several times on Pinterest, but nowhere else I can find. Anyone got details on it?
Is it a “Rhythm Touch”? Well, maybe. The term seems to have originated circa 1946 as a new feature, first called “the Rhythm Touch”, rather vaguely described in marketing terms but presumably corresponding to some development in the typing action. At least one 1946 print ad shows a black Underwood with the chrome racing stripe said to have the Rhythm Touch — so not at first a model but a marketing feature, and this machine may have been so marketed.
As for surprising that a blind person could use a typewriter — why not? Touch typing is less difficult than touch playing a larger piano keyboard, the difficulty would be they could not read back what they wrote.
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