Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Of serendipity and the scarlet red 1955 Everest K2


 This was such a fortuitous find that I was on a typewriter high for the rest of the week (you know how it is!). If I had not been sitting in the front office that day, if I had not taken a break to watch the workers, if our office had not been located on the ground floor... this beauty would have been on her way to the dump. Makes one wonder how many others... eh, better not to think about it. 

Sometime last year, my mother-in-law drew us this card to commemorate the start of our typewriter obsession. (The cheerful cow is a recurring character on her cards, and she is depicted in a different activity depending on the time of year/ occasion.) At the time, she claimed the typewriter in the drawing was a Valentine, but we think the Everest is a much closer match!

For a typewriter that was so callously abandoned, this Everest K2 is in surprisingly good condition. The lipstick-red color has held up fairly well over the years, although there are a couple of rough spots that could use a touch up of paint, but I shall leave that up to Georg's discretion. 

I have been trying to make up a back story: French expatriate (explains the azerty keyboard) settles in Geneva, purchases typewriter with familiar layout (the dealer label on the case has a Geneva address), uses it for a few decades, and upon retiring to a country manor in Provence, clears out his apartment, and leaves this behind. Such is life. I haven't seen other Everest K2s in this hue and I am pleasantly surprised that they came in other colors other than drab and blah.

A shot of the inner workings - note the carriage drawstring, as thick as a shoelace! Each ribbon is enclosed in a very elegant red platter -makes even plastic spools look pretty nice.

The typeface is a crisp elite, as shown in the typecast. The keyboard has a couple of interesting characters: a degree symbol, and an "ie" character which I think might have been the French equivalent of "th", as in "5th". These days it is standard to write "5eme" as in "cinquieme", so I am not quite sure my theory holds up. 

The case that clued me in - I just knew it had to be a typewriter! It's a bit like the SM-3 case, but instead of wood, it's made entirely of metal and finished in an appealing gray hammertone.

I fear our little trash corner may have yielded its first and only typewriter, but now I take a peek every time I walk by so I won't miss anything! One never knows.


  1. Excellent save! I can just imagine the endorphin rush you've been on. :D

    PS, That is a beautiful case, and *metal*? Too awesome.

  2. C'est maqnifique! What a lovely machine. Just the thought of it being tossed into a dump truck... *shudder*

  3. Wow! Impressed, admiring and just a little jealous. Even the feet look like somebody thought about their fitting their design in with the rest of the body.

  4. Well done, Adwoa! What a brilliant save, and a brilliant story. I'm happy to say I've made one or two of these sorts of saves myself, including an Everest desktop which arrived at a recycling centre just as I was pulling away. I just the colour of this one, though.

  5. Mamma mia!! What an incredible stroke of luck. It is a beauty.

    These pictures make my heart race for various reasons. A couple of years ago I imported a red K2 like this one from Italy, but it arrived smashed due to the seller's idiocy. However, I did recently get another red Everest, an older one. I'll have to feature it on my blog soon as part of the typosphere's Everest Week.

    Congratulations to you and Georg.

  6. Oh my, what a catch! I shall be most happy to swap the red mountain against an Eastern German humming bird - at your discretion. It does look solid as a rock.
    The cow painting is excellent and visionary - clearly the Everest.

  7. Happy Everest week, everyone! And thanks for the nice comments; I am glad to see my fellow typewriter enthusiasts would have all rushed to the aid of this red damsel in distress.

    I am a little jealous of Shordzi that he gets to keep this one, but I look forward to my Eastern German hummingbird (that is a good enough clue for the typosphere for now, more details when the swap has officially taken place!), and that should have a more manageable keyboard layout as well.

    I am so glad this story has a happy ending; I once had to leave a Selectric in the dumpster where I found it because I did not know whether it worked/ had no means of transporting it/ nowhere to store it/ no one to give it to. This Everest's relative rarity, vibrant hue and graceful good looks have definitely served her well!

  8. That thing is a sheer beauty.

  9. Late for the part, but I just acquired a K2 and remembered your post. I'd only just fallen for the charms of Olympias and now this - mine's a khaki green/brown and I wanted it for its shape and mountain inspired marketing back-story. But now I like it because it such a comfortable writing iron! Can we have another Everest week next year?


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