Book-smell perfume, typewriter noise app appeal to nostalgia
Categories: Science & Technology
What are the sounds and smells of nostalgia? With the recent rise of super-slim laptop computers and e-book readers, it might be the click-clack of a typewriter, or the musty scent of a printed book.
U.K.-based publisher Steidl recently launched Paper Passion, a fragrance formulated to smell like old books. Now you, too, can carry the scent of wood pulp, ink and the gradual acidic breakdown of fibres.
Steidl's founder Gerhard Steidl teamed with Wallpaper* magazine and perfumer Geza Schoen to create the scent for Paper Passion. The idea came from a discussion between Steidl and Chanel's creative director Karl Lagerfeld, according to the perfume's product page. "The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world," said Lagerfeld.
While some avid book lovers may jump at the chance to smell like their favourite paperback edition, how exactly does one describe the smell of a book, and what causes that unmistakable musk?
In 2009, an international group of scientists determined the chemicals and environmental effects that create the scent of an aging book. It defines the smell as "a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness," according to the Guardian.
A physical printed book is made, ultimately, of organic components - wood pulp for the pages, ink, glue and string to hold the spine together - and these components slowly react to heat, light and moisture, the Guardian's science blog GrrlScientist explains.
The Noisy Typer app makes your sleek Macbook keyboard sound like an old-fashioned - and very loud - typewriter, complete with the carriage return bell ring. (Theo Watson/Noisy Typer)
If a printed book contains the smell of nostalgia, however, the loud click-clack of a typewriter might be its sound. The Noisy Typer app, currently available only for Macs, simulates the sound of a typewriter's keys whenever you type on a keyboard for your iMac or Macbook.
It also includes separate sounds for the backspace and space keys, as well as the recognizable bell ring when pressing the Enter key to start a new line in a word processor to simulate a carriage return.
If you really want to type it old-school, the USB Typewriter connects to an iPad tablet via USB port. Each is hand-made and will set you back between $400 and $500 U.S.
Just don't be afraid of the dirty looks you might attract while typing away on a mechanical keyboard, or a Mac with Noisy Typer installed, at work.
Would you be interested in either a perfume that smells of books or an app that makes your keyboard sound like an old-fashioned typewriter?
What other inventions or products have you seen that invoke nostalgia of past times? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' replies.)
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