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.

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.

California Typewriter

Usually I loathe documentaries and only watch a couple in any given year. Mainly I don’t like material presented to me in such a manipulative format. I like it to be as close to data as I can get it and form my own opinion.

Or put it this way: If you are watching a Michael Moore film and you think you are getting facts, you live in fairytale land.

But this one is right up my alley. It is about typewriters! And how awesome they are. Although I had to abandon the idea of exclusively writing on one. I like to sit at it when I have a moment and have a continuing narrative going on with it.

The trailer was pretty interesting. It’s nice to know I’m not the only typephile out there. Tom Hanks says he has over 250 typewriters. Way to go, buddy, I feel your love!