Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer 2011: Typewriter finds in Geneva

It's been a pretty hot summer. Not today, though - it rained yesterday and has been unseasonably chilly all day. A nice respite from the days of relentless sun, but I hope those return too. I'm not quite ready to rediscover my collection of ragged fleece pullovers.

A favorite weekend activity this summer - as always - is making our rounds of the local markets. In addition to the usual flea market, each neighborhood in Geneva is given a weekend to organize a communal garage sale, and while I haven't yet worked up the nerve to set out my own unwanted items on the sidewalk, I don't mind browsing through others'. We went to quite a few of the markets this year, spotting the occasional Lettera 32, and then once coming across this impressive cluster: an Adler desktop (looks fun to use, look at that huge return lever!), a Hermes standard, and the ubiquitous Lettera 32 (seriously, enough already).

Of course, Lettera 32s are not the only typewriter that show up with unerring regularity in our outdoor markets: here, a Hermes Baby in the local flea market. Made of mint-green plastic, it was admittedly in good condition.

Did someone say Hermes? A '50s green Hermes Media steps out from behind a seller's table to say hello.

The thrift store did not bring many new thrills, but there was this Tippa which I was sorely tempted to bring home. However, the ribbon vibrator did not fall back down after typing each letter, and I didn't want to buy it and discover that it was a problem with no workable solutions. So we moved on.

I usually hesitate to describe typewriters as poorly-made, having shoddy construction, or just plain wretched. After all, they each have their charms and their admirers, even if I don't like them so much myself. This Remington Holiday, though, has tempted me to revise my stance. I have nothing against plastic when done properly, but the fit of the parts on this machine is atrocious. Just take a look at the bottom right-hand corner of the picture, where the ribbon cover starts to gape open.

A rather interesting find was this Underwood Correspondent typewriter, whose label claimed it was made in Canada. I've seen Leader, Star, Champion, Universal, etc, but the Correspondent is new to me. Very handsome - and it would be a stunner with a new coat of brightly-colored paint!

Back to the market, though, there was this shabby (but chic?) maroon Corona 4. And I was sort of interested, a little tempted... until I took in the peeling paint, the generous coating of dust, the mismatched ribbon spools (covers missing), the worn decals... and the seller's hefty quote of $30. Not to mention that a typebar was bent to the extent of blocking two others, and when I pointed this out he hastily proceeded to bend it back in the other direction... well, I couldn't leave his stand fast enough.

Not before taking a picture of his handsome glass-sided Royal 10...

And a less remarkable azerty-keyed brother of unknown vintage.

Also spotted on Saturday was this '70s Consul portable (model 231.3 of '69 according to Beeching). The Consul 232 is on my virtual wish list, but this one didn't do much for me. Too boxy and sharp-cornered; it was easy to pass up.

To conclude, it seems like the most interesting find this time around is the Canadian-made Underwood Correspondent! An internet search reveals nothing quite like this, although it is clearly a relabeled Universal of some sort. Any insights?


  1. If you can say to an Olivetti Lettera 32, "seriously, enough already," you must be in Geneva a.k.a. Typewriterlandia! Lol

    I might have swiped that Royal 10, the Hermes (yet again), and yes, that damn Lettera 32!

  2. I was imagining myself trundling a wheelbarrow filled with all those typewriters - and then trying to get them home from Geneva! They sure are in better shape than I find in Goodwill here!

  3. I've yet to find this many typewriters TOTAL, locally in two and a half years. Color me envious (that's green, right?).

  4. This was fun!

    I got to use Alan's Adler Universal at the typefest at my home. Very nice, impressive machine with two characters I'd never seen before: "ea" and double underline.

    (My word verification is a real word: "relent." What is Blogger telling me?)

  5. @lo-tech: I think this was the fourth one we saw in total. It was also in the best condition and had an international qwerty keyboard, but unfortunately we have pretty much the exact same thing at home (qwerty, elite type). While I didn't mind the procession of L32s, I wished at least one would have an unusual typeface so I could talk myself into getting it!

    @notagain: Without a car, I would indeed need a wheelbarrow to get some of those home!

    @deek: You should move in with notagain... he seems to have typewriters growing on trees in his neighborhood; and his ratio of finding to acquiring is impressively high...

    @Richard: Great to hear that Alan has one - I think the Adler Universal is underrepresented in the typosphere. I suppose they were not all that common in the U.S., unlike the Olympia SG-1 or SG-3.

  6. Everybody always is so jealous of your posts of 'finds you passed up' including me! That Consul, and the Underwood, and the Hermes, and the Olivetti... I want them all. *scowls* :p

  7. That's it. Geneva is where all the world's QWERTZ typewriters end up. It's like an international halfway house for typewriters.


Thanks for your comment! Please note that comments are moderated; so this will be posted as soon as I have read it :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...