Sunday, March 18, 2012

An Account of the March 17 Basel Type-Fest

The welcoming scene that greeted us in the garden.
Even before we arrived, Alfred typed our names on this Apex toy typewriter; how sweet!
I hope occasional Instagram use is not too frowned upon - here, the train from Geneva (with stray foot).
Also lurking in the garden was this giant blue Remington Noiseless, but I didn't have a chance to try it out.
Goodbye, Voss! Believe it or not, Georg is making progress with it... I just might claim it back at this rate :P
The Ideal Standard, which I hastily abandoned when even feeding in paper turned out to be difficult.
Florian's Olivetti ICO, with which he triumphed in the speed typing contests.

The results of the speed typing contest - note the Princess 300 ribbon cover, which came loose and was rapidly discarded!
 
The cat was curious - aren't they always - but the turtle gleefully evaded capture.
In his cellar museum, Georg shows us a very special Erika M.
The typecast I produced on the spot, using first the Underwood Electric, then the Princess 300.
No words. Just... wow. What a presence, and what speed!
Georg reappeared just as I was about to smuggle this off... sigh.

It was great to take a close look at unfamiliar machines, like this bakelite Express.

Among the machines I tried was this Olympia Traveller de Luxe (German-made, unlike mine), which made me revise my poor opinion of the series. It actually typed pleasantly well! Color me surprised. Could be that it's properly broken in, though.
Georg's fraktur Urania Piccola, which I secretly prefer to my Senta (four-bank keyboards are much easier to use!)
I loved the glossy blue of Georg's Continental portable, and the matching ribbon spools.
A first look at my own Continental (thanks, Florian!). While Georg's blue one is nice, I prefer the glass keys on mine.
I also got to see - for the first time - the article about the Swiss typosphere that had appeared in the previous day's Tages Anzeiger. Waiting for the translation from Florian, but my first reaction was... "Sigh. I suppose it's no longer possible to tell the story of Retro Tech Geneva without narrating the extraordinary saga of The Dress."

20 comments:

  1. Great account! I counted on you for detailed "review" of evers machine. ;)
    I actually counted 22 Hermes Babies in Georg's basement.
    Glad to see the Continental "Tab" works nicely. The translation of the Tages-Anzeiger article will be published in 3 hours.

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  2. Wine lakes? Butter mountains? And now Europe's stockpile of Baby Hermes! Really pleased you haven't completely given up on the Voss and thanks for sharing what must have been a great event.

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  3. Wow, Adwoa, I hadn't realized I have so many typewriters... thanks for your write-up... what a wonderful day it was!!! On the downside, I need to inform you that your Voss has been repaired and I'M GONNA KEEP IT ;) Thanks again. Oh, has anyone seen my Princess 300? What's the serial number?

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    1. Oooh, does this mean you wouldn't miss your Princess 300? You know who can't wait to get her hands on it! Feel free to bring it along next time :P

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  4. Oh, wow! When you Suisse put together a party, you really put a party together :D

    Georg has some really unique and beautiful machines in his home museum, thanks so much for not only sharing them with the European community, but also with all of us around the planet! (:

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  5. Oh, PS: I hope George has as much luck fixing your Voss as Bill at MTE had with my '49 QDL with the similar problem. I just got it back this week, and it types like a charm! A little manual bending of the carriage rails by a pro was all it took (:

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    1. Ted, as Georg has reported, the Voss is fixed! The only thing is, he is keeping it :( I don't mind too much, actually, I'm just sad I never got to type on the thing. I'll make it a priority to give the Voss a spin the next time I'm in Basel, whenever that is.

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  6. Thanks for the bird's-eye view of the Basel Type-Fest! Lots of interesting machines...but the people were well-hidden from your camera.

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    1. Sorry about that, Cameron! I just realized it when you pointed it out. Not all that intentional - it's just that when everyone was typing (which would have been the most relevant time to take a picture), I was, too!

      For pictures of the people who participated in the Type-In, I refer you to Georg's excellent write-up and photos: http://sommeregger.blogspot.com/2012/03/thank-you-impressions-from-type-in.html

      I look a bit disheveled myself, doubtless from wrestling with all the typewriters... the Ideal in particular!

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  7. Somehow when I spotted the 3000 I knew even if it was not yours you would be the one using it! Great post! Thank you for all the fine photos. The typewriters all look very nice and the garden location is the perfect spot. It was very nice of George to set things up and share his machines. He must have a real nice collection. I hope he is successful in repairing your Voss.

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    1. Georg has a fantastic collection, Bill, and better luck (and tools) for repairing the Voss than I did. It was a pain to get it over there, but I am glad I went to the trouble.

      When it came to picking a typewriter for the speed contest, the Hermes 3000 was the only one I trusted to hold up under the pressure! Even my Continental, which I used second and which did just ok, showed its weaknesses when it came to speed typing: the backspace doesn't work consistently (worn mechanism) and the margin release was rather far away from the keyboard (next to the line spacing lever).

      In conclusion, go Hermes 3000!!!

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  8. Thoroughly enjoyed your post, Adwoa, a fitting conclusion to the type-in diaries of the Swiss holy trinity.

    Such a dizzying array of stunning typewriters, I don't know where to look. I particularly loved the 14th photo with the papers strewn about on the typewriters. It must be a trip looking at the typewriters in Georg's cellar museum, if I get so engrossed just looking at his collection on typewriters.ch, how much more live?!

    Nice close-up of Florian's Ico; yes, me too, I always get malevolent thoughts of stealing whenever I see photos of it, Lol! So awesome that you even squeezed-in another type-in over at Florian's, you guys are unstoppable!

    And congratulations for the big media splash, well-deserved!

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    1. Thanks, Ton! Going over to Georg's is always a matter of too many typewriters and too little time. There's no need to bring along a typewriter for the type-in either; it's not like he doesn't have any to spare :-)

      Seeing the ICO up close and personal has cemented my desire for one... now it's just a matter of waiting for the right one to come along. We spent the whole time at Georg's (only about 3 hrs, really), and didn't go to Florian's... he also lives a couple of hours away from Georg, anyway.

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  9. What great fun! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I'm shopping for flights. Start looking at late June!

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    1. I'll even meet you at the airport if you promise to bring along one of your script typewriters! :-)

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    2. Hooray, intercontinental Type-In!
      Bring two of them, please. :)

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    3. No direct flights from here, I'll probably go via Paris ond/or Amsterdam and take the train. I'm trying to also get to Hamtronic in Friedrichshafen.

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    4. For taking a train to Switzerland, Paris would be much closer than Amsterdam; it's only three hours from Geneva or Basel. Then again, it's 1.5 hrs to fly from Amsterdam to Geneva so that's another option.

      Once you are here, you can get to Friedrichshafen with the Deutsche Bahn train from Basel.

      Good luck with your trip planning and I hope you get to make it come true; it sounds like it would be a lot of fun!

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  11. What a great review! Sounds you've had a delightful afternoon. I'm a little envious :( To bad there's no one around here with whom I can gather for a type-in... Perhaps one of this days I'll pay you a visit :)

    Gorgeous typewriters also. And that green lettera 22 almost made turn green too. I've been searching for one like a mad. Almost got it twice but something always goes wrong in the end. And the Princess sounds perfect. It's in a great color and the scrip typeface it's the cherry on top of the cake!

    Too bad there aren't any pictures of yourselves. I'd love to finally associate the names with the faces.

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