Sunday, October 9, 2011

A few typewriter sightings, some days late

I have been back from Paris for a day now, and faced with the grey skies and constant drizzle of Geneva, I look back on the trip with fond longing. It is not very far, really, and so it is almost difficult to believe the speed with which I have found myself back at home, dreading another Monday, barely having had the time to unpack, review my many pictures and travel stories, and all the souvenirs I brought back.

I thought to myself that I really must write something for the blog today, and even though I have left it too late to put up a proper typecast, I remembered I took pictures at the Geneva market a couple of weeks ago that I have not yet shared, so here they are. There is much to be shared about the trip to Paris, some of it even concerning typewriters, but not as much as I had hoped (is there ever?).

Breathtaking typewriter finds have been few and far between in Geneva these days, so you will excuse this rather dull round-up of plastic-bodied azerty Remingtons and re-branded Brother typewriters...

Was Paris any more productive? Well, let's just say I made sure to pack in 7 (yes, count 'em) visits to brocantes (antique markets), vide-greniers (literally attic-emptiers, this usually means a neighborhood-wide garage sale), and marches aux puces (flea markets). The results were... well, interesting (in that not-entirely-positive sort of way). You'll see.

Back to Geneva, I'm sad to have missed the market for the past couple of weeks (due to train travel) just as things were beginning to look interesting, but I'll make up for it this Saturday, weather-permitting. The fact that we sighted all five of the typewriters in this post in one day is very promising indeed, because for just about the whole summer, we were fortunate if we saw even one per week.

A Hermes Media... but of course :-)

The next post will be on typewriter sightings in Paris - there weren't overly many, and to lift my spirits I did a lot of stationery shopping (papeteries are as ubiquitous as pharmacies and news stands) which turned out to be quite productive as well and will be written up in due course.


  1. Why? Sunshine here in Basel! Hermes - what's the serial numbers? Just kidding. Looking forward to machines à écrire report from France.

  2. I can't get over how many show up there. Also can't wait for the Paris recap. Your name came up a lot at the PHX type-in, the Swissa was nice to use.

  3. Yep, the Swissa was very popular at the mini Tiki Type-In last week. I'll need to have the platen recovered on it because it's just hard enough that the type cuts ribbon/paper when people who aren't used to actually typing on typewriters use it (which has been pretty often lately, as I drag it around and show it off quite a lot) :D

  4. Surely, by now you must have made a name for yourself in the local street markets. "The lady who photographs typewriters". Wonder if the stall-holders even guess the pictures end up here?

  5. It is nice to see good typewriters in the wild. My thrift shop circuit has been pretty empty. I'm not sure if it is due to a lack of machines coming out of basements and garages, people buying to flip on ebay, someone adopting a typewriter to actually use it, or artists hoarding parts before the cold, dark months.

    I know Hermes are relatively common there, but I would still love to see one somewhere other than on ebay or etsy.

    Were the typefaces any better than the machines?

  6. @shordzi: Geneva is cursed with a persistent low-hanging stratus most days in fall/ winter, so my griping about gray skies will be a recurrent theme for the next few months, I'm afraid :(

    @notagain: Glad you got a chance to use the Swissa! I feel so much better that the little kid is out there in the big US of A making a name for herself instead of lingering in my closet :)

    @Ted: I still remember typing on it and having the backing sheet unusable after one page! Indeed, some new rubber would be very welcome and you're a good man for offering to do it... you'll get many more fine years out of her that way too :D

    @Rob: Funny, I'm fairly sure no one's noticed. I do it so quickly, you see, and sometimes they may not even know what it is I'm peering at since there is so much other junk on the tables. I've always thought I'd be pleased if someone I bought a typewriter from later looked me up and found this site... hasn't happened yet, though.

    @Dwayne: No, sadly the typefaces have been just as dull as the typewriters! I'm getting a bit lazy about giving a good look just in case it just *might* be interesting, but when I see a rather humdrum typewriter I'm not even inspired to check.

  7. Believe I've seen that M-Office thingummy in Ohio as a "K-Mart" machine.
    Not a bad typer, actually, for a plastic jobby.

  8. You write: "so you will excuse this rather dull round-up of plastic-bodied azerty Remingtons and re-branded Brother typewriters..."

    You are hereby excused. It is interesting to me how different your part of the world is, regarding the typers you find there. It would be quite a challenge for me to navigate those AZERTY keyboards!


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