Typecast as a Nerd

15 Aug

I’m not too sure WHY this chap spent so much time and effort, but an interesting result, none the less. From July 1950 Popular Mechanics:

Tapestry in Typewriting

ERNEST MESSELY, an instructor in business correspondence at Roubaix, France, sat down at his typewriter, struck the keys 180,000 times and “wove” the beautiful tapestry shown on these pages. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. He was inspired to try his hand at “painting” with a typewriter by an article on the subject which appeared more than a year ago in Mecanique Populaire, the French edition of Popular Mechanics.

The completed work of art measures almost 4 ½ feet in length by slightly more than two feet in width. From a few feet away it looks like a tapestry woven in great detail. It was typed on paper panels eight inches wide. Three different colors of paper – green, yellow and blue – and three ribbon colors – red, black and violet – were combined to achieve the multicolor effect in the painting. Messely varied the intensity of the colors by his choice of typewritten characters and the pressure on each stroke. The 84 characters of the keyboard produce many different results; for example, an “M” is darker than an “I” and a black “H” combined with a red “I” produces a shadowed red. The typewriter artist experimented many hours with the various characters before he started his painting. He estimates that he worked 400 hours in completing the art work.


  • Messely is typing his new work of art on a cotton cloth which will not deteriorate as fast as paper. Several panels will be combined in finished painting.

  • From a few feet away, the typewritten masterpiece looks like an exquisite tapestry. Variations in the characters and pressure of strokes produce shading.

  • Enlarged detail of the small area outlined above shows how individual characters produce the painting. There are about 180,000 strokes in work of art.

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