Tag: typewriter

Couldn’t Help Myself

Another Royal Quiet De Luxe, this one from 1955.

Another Royal Quiet De Luxe, this one from 1955.

His name is Uncle Robin. If you’re wondering why, see my post on The Royal Family. He fits in nicely, don’t you think? And he looks pretty spiffy sitting beside Pinkie Pie.

I’m just smitten.

This one types so easy. I started tapping away and before I knew it I’d filled half a page.

Total typewriter count: 14. I also bought a cursive 1962 Hermes 3000 this week (it’s haunted! More on that soon) and an Olympia Monica from Germany with both a QWERTZ keyboard and the techno Senatorial font. At this point I’m starting to wonder where I’m going to put them all…

Want to learn more about my typewriters? Check them out here.

Purple Haze

It came today. It came today!

Giddy. I'm giddy.

Giddy. I’m giddy.

That. That, my friends, is a Remington Portable No. 3. IN TWO-TONE PURPLE.

You can’t see the purpleyness of it in that pic so here’s a better one.

This one is from 1930. The colour scheme is officially called Orchid.

This one is from 1930. The colour scheme is officially called Orchid.

And from the side, so you can see the lighter lavender:

Lovely and worn in exactly the right way. This machine has been used and loved.

Lovely and worn in exactly the right way. This machine has been used and loved.

The first time I ever saw the purple Remington Portable, I knew it would be on my must-have list. Purple is my very favourite colour. But they seem to be astonishingly hard to find – not surprising, since they’re 80+ years old, and not many were made with these colours. I thought I’d never find one for myself, to the point where I was considering powder coating another typewriter of mine purple instead. But it would never be a Remington. It’s very simply a thing of beauty.

Then this one came along. Like so many of my favourites, I found it by chance on eBay. I wasn’t even seriously looking at listings; we had just gotten home from a long weekend of camping and I was browsing, seeing which auctions were ending soonest. And this came up – 40 minutes to go, still priced at what I thought was a steal. I’d never seen one for sale before. My heart was actually pounding, but I had to act all casual and off-handedly mention to my very understanding, if possibly typewriter-weary husband that there was something I might bid on, if the price stayed reasonable. I think he was going to start to say maybe not, but when he saw the pic I clearly saw the resignation in his eyes. There was no question this one was going to be mine. And after an agonizing 40 minutes, when I placed my sneaky last-second bid with moments to go, I was the proud owner of this lovely machine.

The two weeks it took to arrive from Michigan felt like months. And then when I got home from work today, there was a large package propped up on my front step. “Is it the purple typewriter?” Kid 2 shouted. Both of them clamoured all over me while I opened the box, then the travel case. And seriously, we all gasped in unison. For the next 45 minutes, during which I was supposed to be making supper, we instead fiddled with it, got the carriage unlocked, moved the margin settings, and typed out a short note.

It works perfectly. It’s 83 years old and every single key strikes smoothly and without hesitation. It might be my best-working machine of them all (and this makes ten). I’m not sure if I’m ready to say I love it the very best – Pinkie Pie, my Royal Quiet De Luxe, my two cursives (Ivy the Olympia SM4, still a work in progress, and a Royal Aristocrat, which will get its own post soon) and another you-won’t-believe-it machine are all near and dear to my heart, but it’s a strong contender.

It’s the only one I’ve taken into my bed, though. I’m writing this blog post right before I turn in and it’s laying beside me in the spot where my husband should be. Not joking.

I feel like the only thing it’s missing is a purple ribbon to complete the colour scheme. So that’ll be my next eBay purchase, and then I really need to put my account to bed for awhile.

Unless an Olivetti Valentine comes up at a good price…

Want to learn more about my typewriters: Check them out here.

Ivy, or the Cursed Cursive

Olympia SM4 portable from 1959.

Olympia SM4 portable from 1959.

Ivy had a storied journey to get to me. I bought her on eBay for what I thought was a steal, then paid more to have her shipped to me than I did to bid. Such is the life of the international eBayer.

In the pictures posted in the listing she looked like she was in okay condition but would need some cleaning. The description noted that all keys were working, which is pretty important. There was a particular reason why I wanted this machine, so I bid and won.

Herein lies the beginning of Ivy’s tragedy. The typewriter was listed as coming with a carrying case, as many portables do. These carrying cases have latches on the bottom so you can secure the machine to it and it doesn’t shift around inside. Well, the seller put Ivy in the carrying case UPSIDE DOWN. Those latches, meant to prevent damage, instead scratched the everloving shit out of the top cover. Then it was shipped in a plain cardboard box with no packing paterials other than a couple crumpled up balls of newspaper. The box looked like it had been beaten with a bat. So needless to say, Ivy wasn’t in good shape when I opened the package. I could have cried when I saw her for the first time.

An example of the damage to the top cover. Sadness :(

An example of the damage to the top cover. Sadness 🙁

Once I got my ridiculously high shipping fees refunded, I set to seeing what I could do to actually fix it. The damage from the poor shipping was totally cosmetic, but I soon discovered I had bigger problems at hand. Namely, the machine itself. The keys were not all working. They were not all working at all. About a third of them stuck, and that’s why I have it disassembled in the first picture. Note the many bottles of toxic solvents and cleaning tools (and my Method soft scrub – you know, for the environment). I have been cleaning Ivy for TWO MONTHS. I think somewhere along the way this machine was dipped in oil, and it’s full of sludge. In fact when I cleaned the exterior, it proved to be a completely different colour from what the pictures in the eBay listing showed. It’s actually robin’s egg blue, not swampy greenish. But all that oil has completely gunked up the inside and it’s been a bitch to sort out. Every time it seems like I’ve got it working, the solvent evaporates and I’m back to square one. But I’m making progress. Some of the keys wouldn’t strike at all in the beginning, and now they all will, as long as I give it a shot of degreaser first. The problem is the degreaser dries out eventually and it’s back to sticking. But I will persevere, even if it means disassembling it completely and soaking it in a cleaning solution for a few days.

As a side note, want to know what’s actually really useful to clean out a typewriter, for those hard-to-reach places? Tampons. You’re welcome.

So why go to all this trouble for Ivy?

IMGP0933aI have a soft spot for cursive machines. They type beautifully, but they’re also hard to find and Olympia cursives usually go for a few hundred bucks. And I really, really love this typeset. I’m determined to make it work (and get a new ribbon, obviously).

Stay tuned for a hopefully victorious post featuring Ivy, fully restored. In the meantime, I need another box of Tampax because there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Want to learn more about my typewriters: Check them out here.

Meet Pinkie Pie

A pink Royal Quiet De Luxe from 1956.

A pink Royal Quiet De Luxe from 1956.

So from pretty much the very first moment I started collecting typewriters, a Royal Quiet De Luxe has been tops on my list. The mod styling, the features, the bright colours – it’s everything I want in a typewriter. At the time I thought red was the one I had to have, but now that I have Pinkie, I realize the error of my ways, because she’s absolutely perfect for me.

I bought her on eBay, and she came to me covered in gunk from tape and a weird white powdery-sticky residue. I spent an entire evening cleaning her up, but now she’s in near-perfect condition. The R key sticks a bit, but I think it’s nothing a bit of degreaser won’t fix, and other than needing a new ribbon, she’s ready to roll.

I am completely in love with this one.

Want to learn more about my typewriters? Check them out here.

My Stargate Typewriter

I got a lovely new machine today, an  Olympia SG-1 (now you know why I’m calling it my Stargate typewriter!) It’s a real beast:

Olympia SG-1, 1959

Olympia SG-1, 1959

These were premier typewriters back in the day, and the woman who sold it to me said she brought it over from England decades ago and it’s been sitting at the bottom of a trunk, unused. Other than some cosmetic flaws, it’s in excellent condition, doesn’t even need oiling.

When I saw the pictures in the ad, I thought it was a steely blue colour and fell in love with it, but it’s actually a gunmetal grey, so I may consider refinishing it to something more interesting. You know, with all that free time I have. *eyeroll* Still, I like it quite a lot, especially given the fact that it’s in usable condition. It’ll make a nice addition to my collection!

I’m just putting this out to the universe now: for my next one, I’d really love to find a Royal portable, something bright and awesome. Do you hear that, typewriter Fates? A red one would be fantastic.

Olympia SG-1 logo closeup

Logo close-up. She’s a pretty one.

Want to learn more about my typewriters? Check them out here.

Shenanigans

I’m working on my outline some more. So much fun! I’m enjoying seeing the basic structure unfold.

I don’t go into great detail, just bullet points describing key scenes in a short paragraph. Some of them are only a few words long.

My very favourite part is these two points, back-to-back:

  • Shower-stall time machine.
  • Major next-day awkwardness. Now Callie’s really confused.

It makes perfect sense when you read the rest of the outline, but out of context, all on its own like that, it’s more than a little ridiculous. Which is why it’s my favourite part. And for anyone who’s read The Unravelling, you’re probably scratching your head right now, thinking, what the hell? Which was my intention all along.

Also. ALSO! I scored an incredible find on Kijiji today. It’s 100% the best thing I’ve ever bought from there. Check it out:

It’s a Smith-Corona Super-5. I did a bunch of research on it today and from what I can gather it’s from 1956 and is one of the best manual typewriters ever made. It works pretty well, too! I only paid $20 but from what I’ve learned it could be worth a lot more. Like if I was on Storage Wars it would be the find of the day. Not that I’d consider selling it though. I’m totally in love with it, and it’s found a home on my bookshelf. I plan to pull it out from time to time to shake things up when I’m stuck for ideas. And post-2012/peak oil/comet strike/nuclear war/rapture/solar super-flare/your favourite apocalyptic end times scenario here, guess who’s still going to be able to write while the rest of you are trying to hack your Macbooks to take D-cells? This girl, that’s who.

Want to learn more about my typewriters? Check them out here.