Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hermes Hoard Held Hostage

Young girl cheerfully makes off with a stash of Hermes typewriters.... never to be seen again!
(Hermes poster courtesy www.mfk.ch)

(Prototype of midsized Hermes portable from the '70s)

(Hermes 1000 prototype, which has seen better days. From the '70s - perhaps it was just as well this was never made!)

Now that Georg is making friends with the museum staff, I expect that he'll soon be inviting us over to see the collection...

If you would like to see more images from the Museum's Paillard collection, visit their Collection Database and enter "hermes schreibmaschine" in the keyword field. For more than just Paillard, try "schreibmaschine"... they have many other brands represented too! It's a fantastic assortment, and I hope it will be made open to the public as more people clamor to view it.


  1. Me and my wife are going to Bern in December (she is presenting a paper at a conference and I'm tagging along). I was excited about the typewriter exhibit. This is very disappointing to hear. I guess, like you, I will have to check out all of the thrift stores.

  2. So it's the official Hermes Co. collection -- very interesting.

    Like most museums, evidently this one has many more objects than they can possibly display at a time. And very few people go to a museum asking to see typewriters. So they all get stashed away, or if you're lucky, a handful get taken out for a special exhibit once in a while. I hope they are at least being stored properly, and given the reputation of the Swiss, I am optimistic.

    You could all make a pilgrimage to South Tyrol sometime and visit the Mitterhofer Typewriter Museum in Partschins.

  3. The ads are a great window into the past, and I loved the bi-colored stationery, the likes of which I have never seen before.

    I wish that I were a bit more understanding about the museum's space limitations, but their attitude comes off as being very snobbish and exclusive, and ever-so-subtly rude.

    At least they allowed you access to their website, and through your personal connections have hopes of seeing the collection in the future.

  4. @Jason: If you only have time for one thrift store, make it Spooky Lorraine! Feel free to email me for addresses if you would like. And leave some space in your luggage to bring home your haul...

    @Richard: Yes, it's a pity that Paillard's official collection is hidden away; it is a rather significant one. I know Olivetti has a museum operating in Ivrea, but now I wonder what happened to the official collections of American manufacturers...?

    Anyway, Partschins was on our minds... although it might be too far to take young Florian. I am trying to convince J to make a summer holiday of it though, since it will take some time to get there by train. A week in Merano could be fun.

    @Cameron: I am afraid the museum's display is now almost completely given over to multimedia exhibits with interactive touchscreens... that seems to be the way to attract visitors (and kids, which is what they're aiming for) in 2011, more's the pity. I suppose a whole bunch of typewriters (some in a delicate state after so many years) does not fit very well with what they're doing.

    Thanks for the complement about the stationery! I cobbled it together myself... :)


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