Thursday, August 02, 2007

History Detective explains typewriter flub

Steve Brannon, a fellow typewriter addict, has written to draw attention to "The History Detective's" mea culpa regarding the PBS program's flawed investigation of a vintage typewriter purported have belonged to beloved World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle.

I wrote about the error here.

Steve has passed on "detective" Wes Cowan's response to those who wrote him about the error.

Here's the relevant part of Cowan's response, which was posted a couple of weeks ago:

ERNIE PYLE'S TYPEWRITER ... I wanted to thank viewers for pointing out a slip-up in our story. Our expert, Jacqueline Joseph, compared the way the number 1 looked when typed by our typewriter to a document Ernie Pyle typed with the date 1945. But as several viewers noticed, many people in those days used the lowercase ā€œlā€ instead of the number 1 because it was easier to reach. What we showed you was just the first part of quite a detailed examination where we compared many features throughout the documents. The other numbers in the 1945 were also looked at, and we noticed other significant differences such as the letter sizes, and the spaces between letters, words and lines of type. So, thank you to our eagle-eyed viewers and rest assured that this did not affect the outcome of our investigation!

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