Thomas the Typewriter

“Clackety-clack, clackety-clack!” went Thomas, as his wheels clattered along the track.

“Clickety-click, clickety-click!” went the Reverend W.V. Awdrey, as he typed on his Imperial 66.

In bingo-caller parlance “66” equates to “clickety-click”.

Who knows, maybe the Anglican vicar Wilbert Vere Awdry (1911-1997) — the original author of the Thomas The Tank Engine series of children’s books — called the numbers at many a church fete.


A subconscious choice of typewriter, or possibly Awdry simply wanted a typewriter that was made in Britain and built like a tank? Either way, the hefty Imperial 66 is on display at the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Trust: Wharf Station, Tywyn, Gwynedd, Wales.

The first Thomas the Tank Engine books were written as bedtime stories in 1943 for Wilbert’s then three-year-old son, Chris, who was sick with measles. As an adult, Chris wrote numerous Thomas the Tank Engine books following his father’s retirement in 1972.


Opponents of the talking locomotive have branded the 70-year-old series as sexist, authoritarian and conformist. Chris said. “My father simply saw steam engines as male and the carriages as female.”  He added that his father did eventually introduce two female engines – Daisy and Mavis.

Dr Aric Sigman, a psychologist who has researched the impact of television on children, has suggested it is wrong to criticise Thomas & Friends for being hierarchical:

“If you are looking at the world of mechanistic things – the military, the police, the fire service – those things have hierarchy. People have uniforms and they have to know their place. Things that involve men and machinery normally have some sort of hierarchy and social order.”


Continental, Wanderer-Werke


Mercedes DUURT


la rapidisima Hispano-Olivetti


One for the train-spotters.


A “first-class” record sleeve.


Closely Observed Trains

2 thoughts on “Thomas the Typewriter

  1. I remember the Thomas the Tank Engine books as a child, read them to my children and later my grandson.


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