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Fact sheet


In the time before computers and tablets, on-line gaming and social networking there were other things kids wanted for Christmas, but despite this old advert, I'm not sure many children wanted a typewriter.

I inherited this one when my father abandoned it for a desktop PC and printer. We've posted it in the cabinet of curiosities because its become a curiosity, not old enough to be worth anything, but so few are seen now that it has become a curiosity. 

Long before the days of word processing typewriters were writing and printing devices that required no electricity, no internet, and had 0 MB of memory. Despite the drawbacks, these devices were used in almost every workplace, and many homes. Each typewriter had a printer built in and an almost everlasting ink cartridge. They were entirely mechanical, and required quite a bit of strength to bash the keys. Each key hit moved levers within the machine with letters embossed in metal. For each key pressed, a type bar jumped up and hit the ink ribbon producing an imprint of a letter on the paper. Brilliant devices, but I can't see them making a come back any day soon.

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About this collection

Cabinets of curiosities were personal collections of natural and man-made objects displayed in a single cabinet.

It was a fashion that reached its peak in the seventeenth Century, but something that is returning in modern times as uncategorised virtual or travelling physical exhibits, sometimes crowd sourced and changing. The original cabinets of curiosities were the personal and often idiosyncratic collections of wealthy owners, and their main function was to provoke a sense of curiosity and wonder in the viewer. Our Cabinet of Curiosities is a collection of curious things that we came across in museums, and a few things we've found in mineral shows. There isn't a learning objective – they're just interesting.

Sample details

Category guide  
Category Guide
Refers to any word or phrase that appears in the individual rock names. Names are generally descriptive; they allow users to search for broad terms like ‘granite’ as well as more specific names such as ‘breccia’. However, the adjacent descriptions of the specimens captures a wider range of general words and phrases and is a more powerful search tool.
Refers to any word or phrase that appears anywhere in the descriptions of the specimens
Accessory minerals
Minerals that occur in very low abundance in a rock. They are usually not visible with the naked eye and contribute perhapssver, they often dominate the rare elements such as platinum group metals.
Rock-forming minerals
Minerals that make up the bulk of all rock samples and are also the ones used in rock classi?cation.
Selecting one or more period, for example 'Jurassic'.
A term used to group together related samples that are not already gathered into a single Collection. For instance, there is a ‘SW England granites’ theme that includes such rock types as granite, hydrothermal breccia, skarn and vein samples.
A general term used to label a rock sample. It is a useful way of grouping similar samples throughout a collection. Category names are often, but not exclusively, common rock names (e.g. granite, basalt, dolerite, gabbro, greisen, skarn, gneiss, amphibolite, limestone, sandstone).
The owner of the sample that appears in the collection. For example, NASA owns all the samples that appear in the Moon Rocks collection