Monday, November 14, 2011

Typecast: A Tale of Two Babies

Look at that immaculate paint finish! I couldn't be prouder of this thing if I had pulled a Hephaestus and forged it with my bare hands. I made sure to take several pictures before sending it off wistfully. And not without a twinge of regret, but that's ok.

In this and all the other pictures, New Baby is on the right - and here you can really see the difference. Old Baby seems to have a few bumps and scuffs, while New Baby is gleaming. Oh, the other thing I almost forgot to mention is that New Baby has a Swiss-French keyboard, as opposed to Old Baby's Swiss-German one. Since the Hermes 3000 was also Swiss-French, this gives Deek a perfect matching set!

The great thing about Swiss-French keyboards is that some of them inadvertently have a funny emoticon next to the backspace key... can you make it out? By the way, here is the link to the timeline of Hermes Baby evolution on

And here's the case - which I suppose looks as though it might contain snow tires? At least that is what someone at the thrift store thought... an error I am grateful for!

Retro Tech Geneva: We Might* Get It** For You If You'll Pay For Shipping***.

*If you ask nicely and we feel like it :-P

**"It" being the nice finds I sadly leave behind at thrift stores and flea markets. Do note that probability of "It" being a Hermes is quite high - with the occasional Swissa thrown in - and the probability of a QWERTZ keyboard is pretty close to 100%. And I would never want to ship anything bigger than a Hermes 3000! Even a '50s 2000 is cutting it close - those had some hefty boxes.

***Shipping plus the seller's asking price for the typewriter, of course. Current exchange rates apply.


  1. I. *Read article*
    II. *Lift the Hermes 3000 out of the shelf*
    III. i. *Open the case*
    ii. *Breathe*

  2. I actually just did that last night, took a big whiff from both the 3000 and the Baby (and my Baby Colin, as he just took a bath and has that fresh baby smell).

    The 3000 is still such a pleasure to write on and has been part of 100% of my noveling this November.

    The Baby exceeded all expectations. Its an exquisite typewriter from a magnificent person! I've already had it on my lap and wrote two letters, which looked like a little over 3,000 words.

    And best of all, the Baby fits in my messenger bag. I've already had it out with me while traveling, although I have yet to type on it away from home.

  3. WOW, what a fantastic story!
    It had me sitting on the very edge of my seat.
    Really read like a suspense novel.

    I'm glad you mentioned the Typewriter Smell. Each machine has a different odor. Naturally, the ones in cases have a stronger aroma. Aged like fine wine (hopefully!)

    What a great find and a great ending to this story.

  4. First, many thanks for yet another very interesting post.

    I'm reading this just as I had come to a decision to give my grey Hermes Baby to a good friend for Christmas. If you remember, that was my first surgical project. It types but is not in top shape (my friend is more of a collector than actual typer so that's not too important for him). I told myself that I would get the green version in case I decide to get another Baby in the future. Now I'm finding that extra motivation after reading your post haha.

    I know that distinct Hermes smell, my Hermes Media has that!

  5. Definitely a beautiful story about a beautiful typewriter. I've just added the Hermes Baby to my wishlist!

  6. Great story and very nice machines! Wish I could make such nice finds where I live, only one small thrift store, no flea markets. I understand the Hermes smell. Sure beats the mildew. Aaaaah the smell of success.

  7. That is such a fun story! You should know we were this close ===> <=== to setting up an exchange via my sister-in-law last August. It turned out she would have been delighted to do the detour on a "mission" and here I didn't want to impose. Ah, well.

  8. Ooooh I would love a Baby to take back to Malaysia as a souvenir! Been living in Zurich for 5 years now (another 2 to go till I finish my PhD), and just sent home an Elna grasshopper sewing machine - a wonderful piece of Swiss 1950's machinery. Now on a hunt for a beautiful Swiss typewriter so I can do little tags and artsy things with it... but now that winter has come, I don't know of any flohmarkts operating. Any tips of where I should be hunting in Zurich (apart from, which I am browsing, no reasonably priced green, white or red Baby's listed). Are the white or red Babys very rare? Thanks for your advice, and for sharing your collection with us!!!

  9. Hey chia, I'm from Zurich, too. I've visited the three most suspicious thrift stores a few times:
    -BROCK Bertastrasse 6, near Lochergut VBZ ->Found a japanese Adler there for 15 Fr. yesterday. Might be a good try!
    -Zürcher Brockenhaus, Neugasse 11 ->Got a Hermes Media 3 in 2nd style for 14 Fr. today, but that was the only find over 3 visits.
    -Heilsarmee Brocki, near Hardbrücke ->High asking prices (Hermes 2000 without ribbon: 25 Fr., but Selectric II 5 Fr.
    -EMMAUS Zürich ->Not a thrift store, more a second hand shop. No typewriters.

  10. Thanks maschinengeschrieben! Looks like you have been on the prowl ;) I used to live near Lochergut... I probably passed that brocki a gazillion times but never noticed anything nice (one never notices the good stuff unless you're looking for them). I think tomorrow morning will be brocki-visiting day, including the fleamarket at helvetiaplatz! Thanks so much for sharing your tips!!!


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