Friday, 7 September 2012

Channelling the Spirit of Jessica Fletcher

A plot worthy of Murder She Wrote?

This typewriter is the Grandfather of my collection.  It's around 100 years old, and it has a story to tell.

I've owned it for the last 20 years, and it was found by my friends Margaret and Phil when they were digging in their new garden.  It was wrapped in some tarpaulin, which had protected it somewhat, but the previous owner of the house had cast it out and used it as land-fill.  The horror.

They gave it to me, and I spent several days cleaning it up - including plunging parts of it in an oil bath for several days. The intensive care worked, and it was brought back to life.  

It does carry the scars of its rough treatment:  the left-hand margin indicator has broken off (interestingly, on this model, the left-hand margin indicator is on the right-hand side); the backspace key no longer engages properly; and the spacebar travels that little bit too far (and the screw that would allow me to alter that has been a little bit destroyed by being buried.

But I love it, for all its faults.  

It is a beautiful piece of machinery - look at the architectural stateliness of the design... 

Look at the beautiful openness and roundness of the font...

Look at that fantastic little wheel on the lower left - perfect for winding the ribbon on.  

I'm going to give it a new ribbon later.  I think it deserves it, even though it has a fiendishly convoluted route for the ribbon to travel.  

I honestly can't imagine anyone wanting to throw it out!


  1. Now, that is one lucky typewriter! Rescued from the grave! That IS quite a story, and evidently it's still very capable of typing the story itself.

  2. I wonder was I the only one humming the theme from Muder She Wrote as I read? Quite a story, thank you.

  3. It must have been so great to find something like that buried in the ground. What a find! At least the person that buried it had the common decency to wrap it in something before doing the deed.

  4. 'Twas a mafia hit, I tell you! A mafia hit! The machine knew too much... It had been used to write many an extortion note, and before the fuzz came to take a witness statement from its typeface, they buried it in a shallow grave in a bag of lime.

  5. Buried alive! That poor Underwood. That must have been a surprise for it and its finders when it was unearthed again!

  6. The Mafia? Hadn't thought of that. I hope that I haven't blown the Witness Protection cover.

  7. What a grand old machine with a fascinating story!

    There is nothing quite like those huge, hulking black behemoths of a century ago. As you have demonstrated so aptly, you just can't kill these old typewriters. They were built to last.