Thursday, February 24, 2011

Visual Catalogs and Underappreciated Typewriters

Triumph Contessa, with chipped plastic well-hidden under ribbon cover.
Triumph Gabriele 10, gaily festooned with beach-themed stickers. Not sure it's helping.


  1. I love the catalog and the index. Very nice job, there!

  2. Your Rheinmetal (sp?) is my favorite, incredible styling on that one! I've never seen a SCM Clipper with the QWERTZ keyboard before--that was quite interesting.

  3. The catalog and index are very cool.

    I've been meaning to send you a letter but have been occupied with other things recently. Soon, though, soon, I'll be sending my first over-seas letter.

  4. Adwoa, you're very enterprising! I think these ugly plastic ducklings are lovable in their own way.

  5. Plastic typers are *excellent* dye-job prospects. See the before and after versions of my own dye-job dabbling. I used a product intended for painting the fabric and interior of cars, which comes in an aerosol can like regular paint, but which (supposedly) bonds tightly with the plastic.

    I tried using spray-paint intended for plastic on my Alphasmart, and the result was not nearly as good. The paint has rubbed and flaked off at the corners, and the entire machine feels slightly gummy. Not so with the typer, which (still!) has a residual odor as the only indicator that it went through a transformation.

  6. Adwoa, love the catalogs. I may have to come to you for advice. I have many machines left to show and most of them have been photographed before. mpc, that red looks great with the black keys.

  7. mpclemens - That's interesting! I must search for a similar product around here.
    Regarding spray-paint for plastics, I also had some not-so-good results with a can tested on a rather boring and yellowed Rover. For some reason (quite possibily a conflict between paint and plastic own compositions) the end result wasn't the best and I had to scrap it off the plastic. I managed to use an automotive paint with good results thereafter, but only after applying a compatible primer. Too much time and effort for little if any tangible results...

  8. Adwoa, my grandfather used a Gabriele 10 exactly like yours (minus the "Verano Azul" stickers...) for years. He liked this typewriter a lot, and what had begun life as a second machine (to complement his much loved Olympia SM-4), later on took up most of the typing time at home. I think granddad found the Gabriele 10 convenient to use and so he keep using it well beyond his own retirement. But the good old SM-4 was only retired somewhere in the mid-80s. It also had quite a career!

  9. Thanks, everyone! Now that I've scrolled through my catalog a few times, I like it so much that I'm planning to make the index a visual index, too! Most of the pictures are already hosted someplace, anyway.

    @Martin: The Rheinmetall is my answer to all those sleek black Vosses in the typosphere! *CoughRichardandDuffyMoonCough*Glad you're able to appreciate the aesthetic of a non-Oliver typewriter :)

    @Snohomish: No worries! I'll be very glad to continue exchanging letters long after ITAM is over. I'm sure my correspondents feel the same way! Right, people? *looks around at empty room*

    @Richard: Maybe so, but these things were not built to last. And there seems to be so much air between the metal components of the typewriter and the plastic shell that one wonders what they did with all that space! To say nothing of the bulky case. Sure, they fit a basket shift in there and *maybe* the keyboard has more room, but a basket-shifted Tippa is far preferable.

    @MPClemens - You have no idea how many times I have looked at those posts on your blog, wondering how you managed to transform that typewriter! I have also spent many hours browsing the aisles of the d-i-y shop here, but I couldn't find a suitably fetching color among the plastic dyes. I've already painted a couple of machines red and I'd like to try something else. I'll give it another go this summer.

    @Peter: Taking photos of the typewriters is my favorite part of blogging! I'm happy to help, just ask.

    @Ruy: Perhaps your grandfather tired of the carriage shift on the SM-4; I know I would! The Gabriele 10 is a rather light touch, I shall grudgingly admit, but I think a stately basket-shifted Torpedo or Olympia SM-9 would have been more suited to the task...

  10. Adwoa - Yes, I think you are absolutely right about the Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger, er, SM-9 ability to get the job done! My father used a Hermes 3000 (the boxy one, of late 1960s vintage) instead: I think he loved the 3000 because of its segment-shifted nature, which made it comfortable for long typing stretches (he worked as a journalist at a daily newspaper then). Sadly enough, he sold the minty, well preserved machine long before I became interested in typewriters... so, the Hermes 3000 is still missing from my collection.

  11. I got an Adler Gabriele 10 a week ago, so not 100% identical to the one you're showing festooned with sea side stickers. However it is quickly becoming a huge favorite of mine. The highly stylised German eagle looks great too; I was surprised when I found it, as I thought 'they' had been censored it here, as 'they' do with most other things. Mine's got a techno 'elite' font and works like a dream. The only thing is the plastic outer, but I find to my surprise it's actually forgivable... and after all, it's supposed to be a "portable" for it's time).
    I couldn't commend it more to the 6th Floor!! Big time.


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