Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Talented Baby Hermes

In Edith's Diary and in The Talented Mr. Ripley, author Patricia Highsmith refers to the Hermes Baby. In the first book, Edith is in her wayward son's room and regards the machine on his desk, it had a dent on the top and was all covered in dust; she contemplates how expensive it was for them to have bought it for him and now feels its neglect.  In TTMR, Tom Ripley types out a forged will by Dickie Greenleaf Jr. But the reference is again to a Hermes Baby, this one is in so need of repair that it's type could be easily traced back to its source, so Tom takes the machine & its case and went out into the streets of Rome & dropped it into the canal. She writes: "He was glad to be rid of the typewriter, though he had not been willing to part with it until now." (pg.204, Norton)  This makes me wonder if she wasn't really expressing her own feeling about her schreibmaschine?

Friday, 15 April 2011

Oranges not Apples

Well, what can I say? I feel like a parent who loves one more than another. That said, you just have to look and you will see why. This electric (yes, plug in) orange Adler Meteor stole my heart. I found it online & haven't looked back.  Made in Nurnburg, Germany (in Bavaria) it is a solid precision portable with smooth, silent carriage return.  Manufactured in 1974 it is in great condition. Bright orange with contrasting black keys and trim. It is called Meteor and I believe the font is a 12 Elite.  I have used it a few times already & find it a pleasure to type on; great speed, responsive, quick action to the keys, it is going to be a difficult decision not to want to work with this machine everyday. It does have a bit of a scent to it and I am thinking it might be from either oil that has dripped into the motor, or a total lack of oil in the motor. I will have to see about a possible tune-up some day in the future. I will not be able to tackle those types of electrical issues. I should mention its beautiful matching plastic case in the same bright orange. This machine is a pleasure to look at and and equal pleasure to use.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Cavalier Speedwriter

This is circa 1963 from Simpsons Sears. Back then it cost $49.97.  I bought this a few months ago from a lovely man here in Toronto. He finds typewriters around town and cleans them up beautifully. I really had only to put a new ribbon into it & begin banging away. He did not know anything about it. There was no country of origin on it anywhere, but it is solid, made of strong steel, so we knew it was not made in Japan. It is a two-tone gray and taupe. The keys are gray. Bland, but somehow nice. The key action is not as smooth as some, but still very workable. I like using it. It took a bit of online research, but I finally found this old catalogue ad: I like knowing it is from the same decade as me. 

Friday, 8 April 2011

Corona Folding Portable 1917


This is the 2nd acquisition in my collection.

It is a Corona No. 3, manufactured in 1917 in Groton NY,
previously known as The Rose Typewriter Company of New York City. It was sometimes referred to as the Personal Writing Machine, I suppose because the machine itself is so compact.  It folds.  The carriage flips over so that is sits only a few inches off the table. As a result, it had a smaller case; mine came with case in fairly good condition and the manual is inside! As well, a small receptacle
containing oil with a slim dipstick (still intact) was found in the case in a cleverly designed metal holder. I will photo and post this. The machine works quite well.  The platen needs to be refreshed and of course a new tiny ribbon needs to be found. However during a recent move, I accidentally dropped the case (machine inside) and the carriage mechanism (a string) broke.  Nonetheless, why be a collector if you are not going to learn to troubleshoot and repair these beautiful, old and well-designed machines, right?  I am trying to read as much as I can about typewriters; other collectors are most generous with any information they come across and I want to join in this with the same spirit.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Machine: Underwood Noiseless/Elliott Fisher Co.

My partner found this Underwood Noiseless made by the Elliott Fisher Manufacturing Company in an antique store in Port Credit Ontario.  It is made in the USA of course, and probably dates from the mid-1930's. It is very heavy and this one unfortunately was stored poorly so there is a lot of rust. Some of the keys do not work, but I have yet to even address all its issues. I have not really even cleaned it properly yet. I am photographing it in its as-is state so that I can then post the "after" shots when I am done.   Here is a great ad for the Noiseless Office, which incidentally was never truly achieved and I read somewhere that without the loud clanking of the keys, office management questioned productivity.