Another New Acquisition

This is a (as close as I have been able to get, however, all evidence says I am spot on) 1957 Remington Quiet-Rite manual typewriter. The wife and I were at an antique store – Sidebar: western North Carolina is sick with antique shops and swap meets (but more antique shops), if antiquing is your thing, this is your place – and came across this for $42. I didn’t buy it right then but went home with the intent to buy something better later on (see previous post). I was on ebay and discovered that that typewriter usually sells for double that and in worse shape, usually, than the one I had just passed up. So we went back down later in the day and the booth it was in earlier was 50% off everything, so I got it for $21.

It is in decent condition:

The pictures don’t really show the condition of the casing, it is rather discolored and soiled. The type bar, type guide (the under stuff) and the platen, all appear to be in good working order. Nothing is too gummy or too dried. There is some corrosion and some dust and oil build-up as is natural for something this old. But overall it is in remarkably good condition.

The case isn’t. It smells atrocious and is cracked on one side. The case is made of wood with a (what once was) a felt(?) interior, and I think the outside is leather – maybe.

The typewriter itself stinks to high heaven. Someone went straight into a casket smoking at this thing. The quiet type typewriters (Royal had a Quiet Deluxe, Smith-Corona the Silent Super, etc) usually had the body panels and cover (the part over the type keys) lined with felt or some other noise-reducing material on the inside. I think it is this that absorbed most of the smell, and, I think, a little mildew. But it is hard to tell over the smell of cigarette.

The typewriter ribbon is rather dry as I don’t believe this typewriter has seen use since at least the Carter administration. It leaves light character marks on the paper but needs replacing. However, it is one of those old nylon type ribbons used on Remington and Underwood typewriters. So I got myself some black stamp ink and am going to attempt to re-ink the ribbon myself. I have some modern equivalents on the way that a customer on Amazon assures everyone who will listen that they work on her mother’s Remington Quiet-Riter.

I got me some toothbrushes and baking soda for cleaning up the body. I will look into replacing the sound-proofing on the inside later. I got a screwdriver set for intricate work. Got some mineral spirits for breaking up gunk, and some machine oil on the way. A site recommended dryer sheets like Bounce for cleaning up debris and deposits on the inside of the typewriter.

This Saturday my Smith-Corona Electra is supposed to arrive. That should be fun. I already watched a video about its drive belts. I completely forgot those things had little motors in them. I mean I was a little kid the last time I saw one. I worry about the motor though. If that blows, is there an equivalent out there? Or do I have to scrap for parts? Not a commonly asked question as I am on my third Google page with no answers yet.

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New Acquisition

A beauty, no? I got it on ebay for $1.04. This isn’t the actual photo, but a stock image from the net. The ebay photos don’t seem to be jpegs and I haven’t received the item yet. My mother had one of these in the 70’s and I remember they were quite good machines. Maybe not an IBM Selectric level of awesome, but still very good machines.

Last year I had bought a manual Royal Epoch manual typewriter. It seemed to be put out to prove the epoch of the typewriter was dead and you should give up on it. It was pretty crappy, clunk and you needed powerful fingers indeed to get out coherent sentences.

Last Thursday I got off work and went to Staples and purchased one of the last still manufactured electric typewriters, the Royal Scriptor Electric Typewriter. This thing was a hot mess from the start. First the margins couldn’t be set to where the paper was to be inserted, but insisted on starting and inch off paper even though the instructions clearly marked where to insert the paper. Then (and get this) no key hit produced that mark on the paper. You hit ‘Y’ and you would get & or p or ? or anything – M was e or 5 or whatever. Completely scatological. Called Royal and guys says “Yep, defective, return it to store.” Which I did for a refund.

So I await my SC Electra.

I found a Remington Quiet-Riter in good working order at an antique store today, but I am holding out for this baby.

Olivetti was the Lamborghini of typewriters until the retardation of man through computers. I know, I know, I say this from behind a computer screen, and if I didn’t have it you would never read me saying this. I don’t care, I say it anyway.

Regardless, that is a beautiful machine right there. I hope to slowly amass a small fleet of them keeping at least a couple functional for writing until I can’t get away with it anymore. I write a little with a computer, but it simply isn’t the same. I’ve tried for years but I can’t get around it.

I am too Catholic, I require the body as well as the mind. The book, the idea, the spirit is already in my mind. Typing to a computer keyboard is really the experience of it going from spirit to some other spirit. It is like a wish unfulfilled. The thought not made flesh. Yes, you could hit the print button after a session, but it is already too late. None of it is really physical until the printer barfs it out. I seek an immediacy, a physicality like ink from a fountain to a page.

What? Where Have I Been?

I am having a hard time connecting my life to this blog. I go weeks forgetting about it altogether. I think it is a general disconnect from moving shock. After all, outside of family and friends, there was no continuity with my other moves (Arizona to Wisconsin, Wisconsin to Washington). This, my blog, would be a continuity.

I am still adjusting to living in North Carolina. It is a bigger cultural change than I have done before.

Although Asheville, NC is really just a small version of Portland Oregon. They have the drum circles, the unbathed hippies, the homeless, the skanky vegan chicks, the hoity-toity eating and reading establishments. And it is so “woke” in its bullshit progressiveness. Indeed I think this place may be more wretched than the posh districts of the Seattle area and Portland. After all, it was not until I moved here that I encountered bumper-stickeres that read “Vaginatarian” That would be someone that EATS PUSSY. The cars are not owned by men.

It is actually just the downtown area that reeks so. I live in the south end of Asheville. More normal. There are a few things I like about the area. The thing I like most is the Basilica of Saint Lawrence Deacon and Martyr.

Current reads are Bishop Barron’s: To Light a Fire on the Earth. Thomas Ligotti’s: Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe. G.K. Chesterton’s: Father Brown Crime Stories: 24 Short Mysteries.

And, lastly, Chris Fox’s Six Figure Author. This last one is interesting and worrisome. It is sort of exciting that one could actually write and steer their own career. but if one reads it closely, one gets the feeling you hit this level of sales by being mediocre. The starving artist inside me rages against the indignity of being a barometer for what other people want. It doesn’t seem to be a formula for success.

That depends, though, on how we define success. If it is measured merely by the means of money, then being the middle of any ground will get you there. And then it will get you out of there as the crowd moves on. And what are you stuck with then? Not a work of soul. Then again, the popular entertainment hasn’t moved in over a decade so maybe the same old shit sells as good today as it did a generation ago. Things appear to be in a hold and repeat pattern. Just look at all the remakes or reboots.