Friday, 28 September 2012

Electric Dreams...

... living in electric dreams!

My new SCM Smith-Corona Coronet has arrived - all shiny and lovely.

The card gripped in the machine tells of the woes that go with it (but for a short time only I hope), and, as you will see, another machine had to supply the typecast.

Still, if I get too desperate I can always take it into the bathroom and use the shaver socket - it has a switch to enable it to use 110v.

As long as I wasn't sat IN the bath using it I would be fine!

Imagine explaining that to the ambulance crews...

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Well, it seems that it has been ages since I last blogged - it is all the fault of being to too busy at work and also having 'an upset stomach' (let the reader understand).

I can't wait for the new scanner...
Our new Network Scanner has not arrived yet, so I am still photographing my typecast.  I must chase up the company - they are delivering and installing our new copier/printer/scanner and taking away the old ones (the new one does the job of two).

I typed my typecast on my Royal Diana.  It has sat sadly neglected until I bought it recently, and it needs some tender loving care:  it will soon be right-as-rain.

You can see it in the photo below on one of my desks.  It looks perfect there, but I would prefer a desktop machine, so after I have nurtured it a bit it will be moved round to a better home.

As usual, please ignore the stuff in the background of the photo!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The perfect accessory for the Typospherian who has everything.

I hope the above is readable - one day soon I will sort my scanner out, and then I can just scan the typing rather than photographing it.

Anyway... here is the case...

As you can see it is the perfect size to carry around - much smaller than a full-sized brief case.

None of the photos show it, but there is a handle on the top.

Such a kind gift!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Gestetner and Typewriter - machines in perfect harmony.

On reflection, perhaps I should have left the ribbon engaged for the above post - it might have made it more readable!

I hope you can manage to understand it - especially if you are the fellow blogger mentioned.

The Gestetner is a wonderful invention, allowing typists to produce multiple copies of their work by the simple addition of a stencil to type on and (what feels like) a ton of carefully engineered gears, levers, cogs and rollers.

I don't know if you can make it out, but there is a crack in the framework just to the left of the gold Gestetner logo.  Perhaps it got dropped at sometime in its long life... but it still soldiers on, working perfectly and never missing a beat.

Needless to say I have several boxes of stencils and half-a-dozen tubes of ink, so it could go on working for many years to come.

I also have the younger brother, made in the 1970s, which is essentially the same but in a lovely beige colour and more enclosed.  That one was made on the cusp of the manual/electric office world, and so can be wound with a handle or electricity (I actually have two of the 1970 ones - I just realised... I might collect Gestetners).

The one we use now in the office was made about 10 years ago, and is disguised as a photocopier... but I know that underneath it is the same jumble of gears, levers, cogs and rollers.

I'll let you know what Anthony (from the company who looks after it for us) thinks about it.

A shiny shilling says that he is impressed.  Or, at the very least, nonplussed.

Pip pip.

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!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Joys of owning a Shed

I have a shed - and it doesn't contain any gardening tools (they live in the garage).

If anything, it is a bit too 'woody'.  When time - and money - permit, I intend to insulate it and clad the inside with something that can be painted.  I'm thinking white, or off-white.

It is a little escape.  What you can't see on the photo is the other piece of furniture in there - a three-seater sofa.  Very comfy.  Ideal for a cup of tea made on the camping stove.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Very Small, Far Away

Can you just make out a typewriter on the desk in the photo?  It's not a good photo - and, again, not cropped - but I hope that you can see it.

It is less than an inch across... it is on a desk in a small glass-fronted box that I put together for my mother.  Since she died it has hung on my living room wall.

I thought it was wonderful to come across such a small machine that actually looks as though it is based on a real-life prototype.

The kit (for such it was) was made out of white-metal, and I painted it and glued it together myself - and got a great deal of fun out of it all.  The 'tobacco' in the ash tray is really tea leaves.

That's all for today.

Pip pip.

PS - this typewriter and office combo don't count towards the ones I mentioned yesterday!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

This is the aforementioned Kitchen Typewriter.  It is an Olivetti M44, and has a lovely type action - a nice firm clack clack clack as I produce my shopping list. 

Of course, the list stays in the machine for several days, so it is usually a curly piece of paper that I end up taking to the shops with me.  But at least it's legible.

The machine was a gift - I had been chatting to an elderly acquaintance of mine, who would hate to be described as elderly, but there you go, and we were discussing the joys of typewriters.  A couple of weeks later I came home to find this joyous beastie waiting for me on the doorstep.  It's not the strangest thing I've ever found there, but that's another story.  After asking around a bit I discovered that it was she who was the anonymous donor.

It didn't need much of a clean, and with a new ribbon sparked straight into life.  That's one of the joys of a manual typewriter:  it sits there, coiled like a coiled thing, ready to spring into life at the touch of a key.

I've never asked it, but I'm sure that it would say that it is happy getting nearly daily use in the kitchen.  It had nightmares about becoming jewellery, but it knows it's safe here.

PS I've not yet got the hang of cropping photos... so ignore everything else you see loitering near the Olivetti!
Dear World

I'm going to try and join the typosphere and start blogging.  

Being one of life's collectors the smallest thing can set me off.  If you've got one thing, that's nice.  Two - well, then you've got a spare, just in case; three?  Three! now that's the start of a collection.

I've more telephones than I can shake a stick at, and a couple of weeks ago I realised that I collect typewriters... I went round the house and counted fourteen.   Most of them get used regularly - the one in the kitchen, for instance, is used for keeping a running note of items for the shopping list.  And why not?

During the course of our correspondence I hope to introduce you to some of my collection (which encompasses anything office), and to tell you why it is all important to me.

I hope you're well and keeping out of mischief.  

Pip pip.

PS I've yet to work out how to upload photos - but I shall unleash wonders onto a waiting world when I do.