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The LEGO typewriter consists of over 2000 pieces and features many mechanical details. It moves and sounds just like the real thing!

We spoke to James May, one of the designers of the LEGO typewriter, and asked him to tell us all about this new set and what was involved in bringing it to life.

James Inglis, Co-Curator of The Typewriter Revolution, took on the challenge of building the LEGO typewriter so he could offer his expert insight into how it compares to the real thing. It's a hard job, but someone had to do it! How long did it take him to build the set?

Find out more in our video below

The LEGO typewriter set

The original idea for this set was developed by LEGO fan Steve Guinness. LEGO designers James May and Wes Talbott collaborated with Steve to develop the final design, inspired by the classic typewriter used by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, the founder of The LEGO Group.

Lego typewriter in the collection stores alongside real typewriters.

One of these is not like the others... The LEGO model sits proudly among some of the other typewriters in our collection.

The set has been designed to replicate a working typewriter in a few fun ways. The centre typebar rises each time a letter key is pressed and the carriage moves across as you type. There is even a roller for the paper and a red and black textile ‘ribbon’.

James May, Product Designer

James studied Mechanical Design Engineering at the University of Glasgow before completing a Masters in Design Product Engineering at Glasgow School of Art. James now works at LEGO as a Product Designer.

James May takes a closer look at his set on display at the National Museum of Scotland.

The build

James Inglis co-curated The Typewriter Revolution and jumped at the chance to have a go at building a LEGO version of these iconic machines. The designer managed to build two sets in six hours (!) but suggested it would usually take six to twelve hours. James admirably persevered over several days and completed it in just under nine hours.

James Inglis hard at work building the LEGO typewriter.

Watch the video above to hear how James got on and discover how the LEGO set compares to the real thing.

Collecting the LEGO typewriter

Thanks to the designer's Scottish connection and how the set acts as a contemporary representation of the resurgence of the typewriter, we have acquired the LEGO typewriter set, adding it to our collections. The set was generously donated by LEGO.

lego typewriter on display.

The LEGO typewriter on display.

You can see it on display until the end of The Typewriter Revolution's run on 11 September 2022, just outside the exhibition.

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