Friday, September 28, 2012

A Rare Bird - Royal Quiet de Luxe

(The images below are all taken with my phone camera, so I thought I would continue the grainy theme on the typecast as well.)

First up, the case. I knew this would be interesting because while I realized it was a typewriter case straight away, I did not know which typewriter it contained. Now, at this stage in the game, there are very few typewriters I do not recognize, so that was immediately intriguing.

And here she is! Beautiful, clean, but what language is that? Thai was my best guess.

A closer look at the keyboard - beautiful, really, but absolutely impractical for me.

The funny thing is that this is the same thrift store where I scored my Arabic Olivetti Lettera 32 two years ago (since given away to a friend who actually speaks the language!). Amazing how such rare birds can find their way to an obscure shop in Geneva.

Alas, while that one cost me only CHF 10 - pocket change, and cheap enough to justify bringing it home to take pictures - this one was going for CHF 25... not exactly an impulse purchase. Oh, well. I wonder if someone else will snap it up - it is quite decorative, at the very least!

Fortunately, the thrift store was rather abandoned and I took full advantage to get a few pictures from all angles, so my curiosity and desire for documentation is satisfied. What do you think of this little gem?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Sewing Machines - Visiting A Milanese Repair Shop

Shop overview - crammed to the gills with sewing machines and paraphernalia. 

A Singer, a Pfaff, a Vigorelli...

Durkopp, Necchi...

The fantastically curvy machines on the top right are Necchi Lydias, Italian-made. 

I see a couple of Elna Supermatics, and an Adler on the top shelf...

There were several Berninas, of course. 

The storefront, as seen from inside the store. The Navigli canal is in the background. 

It was a lovely visit, and there was lots to see - so much that the owner could not immediately locate the size of belt J needed for his Bernina. He asked us to come back in a few days, and we might have returned, only we chanced upon another sewing machine store (one of the antiseptic ones this time) and they had the right belt, so we bought it there. In any case, this store is a lovely retro tech haven in the heart of Milan, and I will be intrigued to see how/ whether it survives - I sure hope so! 

Today started out foggy and cool, and we started off by exploring another neighborhood garage sale. A few typewriters were spotted! Nothing super special, but I'll save them for the next post. We took a stroll before dinner to the nearby park, to visit a fig tree I have had my eye on. Since fig season seems to be upon us, I wanted to see if these were ripe (fully aware that other passers-by/ birds would probably have beaten me to the punch, anyway). Sadly, I still have to wait a bit: 

Hurry up, figs! I'll be back in a couple of weeks to see if there's anything left. 

Sigh.. and now the weekend is over. Hope you have enjoyed yours!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another Kind of Retro Tech: The Rescued Mixte Bike

 One of those generic '70s steel frame ladies' bikes, branded Rüdi Altig, who is apparently a German professional cyclist (now retired). While I would have liked to say it is a classic ten-speed, I'm having to settle for six.

 I have always admired the mixte frame style, and the turquoise color is perfect. We have since found a saddle for it and pumped the tires. Other repairs that were needed: spoke replaced in back wheel, handlebar stem changed, brakes and brake levers fixed, and gears tested.

 Pity about the missing back fender, though. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before we find one abandoned somewhere...

 As I write this, she is ready to be ridden, having held the air in her tires for more than a week without much discernible leakage (a good sign). As a novice who stops abruptly in the middle of the street when I need to scratch my nose, I am not sure how I intend to ride this (the shifters are on the headset). This should be fun!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Greetings From Milan + Flea Market Sightings

(Typecast on Olivetti Pluma 22 with Spanish keyboard.)

I am actually back in Geneva now, happily reunited with my internet connection, and making it a priority to put up this post before I get sidetracked by my RSS feed. So much to catch up on! Well, here are the pictures from the Milanese flea market last Sunday; and then I will be off:

Olivetti Lettera 32 - nothing remarkable, but good to document. I did peek at all the typefaces but they were all ordinary pica.

Another Lettera 32 in a delicious pistachio green - but this time labelled BMB 232. A department store rebranding, perhaps? Intriguing!

The Lettera 22 - cute, exactly the same color scheme as the Pluma 22 on which I typed this post.

 The Lettera 35 - pictured here with an Olympia Traveller de Luxe, and a pretty orange Terraillon scale.

Now for the Studios - here, the 42 for which the seller wanted 45 euros. Paintwork not in the best condition, however.

Olivetti Studio 45 in an unusual brown/ white color scheme.

Last in the Olivetti line-up was this Olivetti Diaspron 82, c. 1959.

 The not-Olivettis were well represented as well, mostly from the '70s. Here, a late generation Olympia Splendid.

A sleek-looking Marina 20 which calls to mind the Olivetti Lettera 33 or DL.

The omnipresent (quite a few of these in Geneva as well) Japanese-made Silver Reed 200.

A rather recent Olympiette de Luxe - probably from the '90s.

The Antares Lisa 30 - do you notice the resemblance to the Olivetti Valentine?

Another Antares which I really should have taken a better picture of.

And finally, a wide-platen Everest Standard. Love the glass keys!

Definitely a market worth seeing, and it started off our Milan trip on a very good note. More to come just as soon as I have caught up with everyone - how have you all been?

*Ted, thanks for the poke! :P
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