Friday, June 29, 2012

Market Sightings: Pity Purchases and Other Stories

Here is the Hermes, reproaching me for leaving her behind. You can just make out the missing Y key in the bottom row (on the left, next to the shift key). The red-and-white box next to it contains the skirt marker. While I kept telling myself it would have been a pity purchase, I did notice some people stopping by to take a closer look and I am sure at that price it would have sold quickly.

Later that day, we swung by the thrift store and discovered a freshly stocked typewriter section, including this Olivetti Lettera 25 (terribly damaged, I'm afraid) and a '70s Brother (with fake woodgrain accents) next to it.

Lurking in the back row, though, was this absolutely splendid Hermes 3000, which even has a nicer case than most (with the green handle). Quite rare to come across two 3000s in one day, and I briefly thought about getting it for Peter, but he already has one. So I stayed strong and resisted temptation yet again. Whew.

Also in the pile was this AZERTY Underwood 319...

And a rather nice Hermes 2000. Speaking of which, a later one of those was sighted at the market last week:

Again I contemplated holding it for Peter, but he already has one of these (at least the Media version).

It is not often I come across non-pica/ elite typefaces, but this no-name (I suspect it's a rebadged Erika and I can't recall what the label said, President or some such) had a round epoca-like typeface, which I think is exactly the one Dirk showed off on his blog. The plastic body turned me off and I left it behind, but now I sort of wish I had brought it home to play with for a while. Oh, well. I should bend on my "no new typewriters"/ "no plastic typewriters" policy sometimes, I guess.

The round-up ends with a few Americans - this Remington Standard 12 baking in the sun;

A Royal QDL (?) with the dreaded French keyboard...

And a Royalite that I hope for the seller's sake is not the same one I spotted in the market last year. It probably isn't; while they are rarely sighted, I think they were imported in sufficient numbers that seeing one a year is not outside the realm of possibility.

And that is it for now! No more sightings in the queue to show you, unless I see anything else over the weekend. Happy Friday, everyone! Any exciting weekend plans? We'll be off sauntering about Lausanne, and who knows what we will find there...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When Peter came to town

Peter tries out the Rooy.

A storm brews over our type-in at the park.

The view down to the lake from  our picnic spot. There weren't very many others in the park.

Peter tries out his Triumph Tippa. 

 My typecast on the spot. We didn't take along the Galaxie because I was sure Peter had had enough of typing on it for a while!

Perfect picnic-sized portables. 

Oh, well, I suppose I should put up a picture of myself as well. More on Peter's blog, including me blending remarkably well into my couch!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Finds: Vide-Grenier Sewing Machines & Typewriter Listings

Now it is the turn of the sewing machines that I photographed during the vide-greniers. There were a few - not as many as I expected, but they definitely made a strong showing. There are some days I feel better about shopping at vide-greniers than the flea market: there's more of an emotional connection when buying from the original owner than from some random chap who scored a heap of stuff at an estate sale and refuses to bargain or entertain offers. Not that I'm bitter or anything; I guess they have to make a living somehow. Anyway:

Peter's last post showed an Elna Supermatic that he spotted in a Zurich thrift store, and as I commented, that must have been a very popular model in the '50s because there is no shortage of them in Geneva! To put this into some context, here is an ad for the Supermatic back when it was made:

Isn't it lovely? I saw a few others:

I rather like the light green color here.

This beige color looks to be the same one in this ad:

Elna Supermatics seem plentiful in Geneva and I have read good things about them, but for space reasons I shall not be bringing one home just yet. They probably weigh a ton, too. I already have one heavyweight machine (I know, I know, post on it upcoming) and I don't foresee needing another.

The 2nd generation of Elna Supermatics was also sighted:

But lest you think Geneva is an all-Elna town (which wouldn't be surprising as their factory was here), there were a few other brands represented too:

Another Swissie - this time a Bernina 125. Nice and portable - their Grasshopper equivalent, I would imagine. I was tempted to ask after it, but it looked like it had seen better days and that was certainly not the original case.

Not Swiss but a neighbor - the German Pfaff 360. Look how sturdy this is! Solid metal with the exception of a few plastic knobs, and built to last. And purchasing one costs about the same as (ok, maybe a tiny bit more if the seller is stubborn) Ikea's sewing machine:

Umm... ok. Great for a kid, sure, I can see that. Although, I can't say that before going on my vintage kick I wasn't intrigued when I saw it at IKEA in person... now that I take a closer look, I think it is made by the same company that made my own wimpy plastic machine that I now can't bear the sight of. I think even as a back-up, I would still prefer a lovely solid metal machine with a history... some soul! Like this amazing Husqvarna:

I was sold on the beautiful hammertone-green paint finish. A real Swedish-made machine, too, unlike the above-mentioned imposter...

A couple of Singers rounded out the sighting...

Including a hand-crank one that is exactly like the ones my mother and grandmother used, although I confess I have become spoiled using an electric one. This would be the perfect counterpart to a manual typewriter but they are a whole lot less portable! Since it is unlikely one would travel much with it anyway, why not tether it to an electrical outlet and make it easier to use? That's how I see it. Unless you live in Accra with frequent power outages, in which case this is the best option.

Anyhow, moving on. This post is already long enough, but I promised some typewriter listings, so I wanted to show you a few things here and there that have caught my eye:
  • Anyone want to tell Alan Seaver that someone has pinched one of his pictures (of a Deutsche Remington) to sell a typewriter on Etsy? The funny thing is that the stolen picture does not match the description (apparently a Butler Brothers Remington No. 2), but the description is also lifted word-for-word from Alan's site. Whew. That is a lot of cutting-and-pasting! That sort of hard labor does not come cheap, either, only $350. 
  •  Speaking of Etsy, I suppose this is what the keychoppers need all those keys for - even the plastic ones that I could not imagine being used for jewelry. The seller is also using some "faux vintage" keys in his work, but I suspect a few of them are real. (Take a look at his sold items as well, it seems to be a brisk business.)
  • Even on the mannequin, this hand poised over a typewriter is in a rather compromising position...
  • I am looking forward to Robert Messenger's biting commentary on this funky atomic retro orange typewriter and the frenzied bidding it has received. mAybE I sHouLD L@@K into using random capital letters, too.
  • It is not often that I see a Swissa for sale in the US - I love how the seller does not know how to "change" it to type in cursive!
  • Finally, this is a beautiful Rooy/ Roxy - or at least fetchingly photographed. It is nice seeing a QWERTY one of these pop up every so often.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Exploring Geneva's Vide-Greniers: Typewriters

This later Underwood standard was not very far from where I picked up the Studio 42.

While this round-up of typewriter sightings does not include any particularly rare birds, I thought this Corona Silent was notable - it is not often we find these in the wild here, and even with a QWERTY keyboard.

In direct contrast is this Hermes 3000, which may be found easily at almost any time...

Well, this Olympia Traveller de Luxe looks familiar. I had one earlier this year but gladly parted ways with it. Looks like this seller has the same idea!

This Japy portable was so popular that it seems to make up a good 10% of all typewriters I see listed for sale in France. This one crossed the border into Geneva, but didn't seem to be attracting any more interest.

I could tell the seller of this Royal would ask a lot for it - after all, he had gone to all the trouble of writing down its history on an index card stuck in the platen.

A Royal KHM/KMM? Again, not very common here.

I suppose the Americans had a strong showing! This Remington Monarch was only $15 and the mint-green color was lovely, but it was otherwise rather ordinary.

An Olympia SM-8, type bars raised in the classic "I was just mauled by a small child" salute.

A Hermes Baby makes an appearance - of course.

Two nicely-maintained typewriters turned up in my neighborhood over the weekend: an Adler Gabriele and a Smith Corona Sterling,  $20 each.

A fine Halda standard, but that French keyboard will be a pain to use.

 My favorite sighting: absolutely pristine Underwood Leader. Just lovely.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Phenomenal Find: Olivetti Studio 42

While I am - of course - thrilled to have found this beauty (even more so because of its QWERTY keyboard, as this is a British Olivetti from Glasgow, "Made in Italy and Assembled in Great Britain"), there are a few shortcomings I discovered once I had brought it home and the flush of excitement had worn off. The most serious is that this has suffered a considerable impact at some point in its lifetime: from this angle it may look ok, but see this:

Whoa. The funny thing is that this does not affect the typing action in any way, except for an annoying click when the space bar hits the frame as you type. If you can ignore that - which I will learn to, I guess - this typewriter is perfectly functional for producing a page or two of text.

When I found it, it was propped up in such a way as to mask the damaged case, shown above. Fortunately, some glue and a couple of screws have made it whole again, although I would not trust it to fully support the weight of the typewriter. I'm surprised how flimsy it feels, though.

Here it is, as found - just ignore my giant shadow. Not easy to detect the broken case, as you can see, and I was more concerned with making sure it typed properly than checking for a bent frame. Quite impressive that despite the damage sustained, it still works so well.

I haven't cleaned it properly yet - still a bit of dust and eraser shavings to get rid of - but it was in a decent enough state to be photographed.

I think my favorite part is how the typebar cover swings out on a hinge. Beautifully designed.

It's not often that I just happen to stumble across a typewriter I have been coveting, which is why I'm naming this my find of the year (at least so far). I suppose last year's equivalent would be my script Hermes Baby, as script typewriters are notoriously difficult to find in the wild in Switzerland.

After discovering the bent frame, I thought seriously about whether I wanted to keep this or not, but I have decided that I will. It's taken me a couple of years since I first coveted one to come across this, and it has a desirable QWERTY keyboard and a crisp elite typeface (just need to clean the type slugs, though). So until I come across a better one, this will do nicely to fill up the Olivetti Studio gap in the collection (we parted with the 44, and I wouldn't want a 45 or 46). Besides, if I am bothered by how it looks in the front, I can just turn it around and admire it for a while - the back view is just about perfect :).
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