Sunday, 19 April 2009

EDM #186 - something I have always wanted. A long and rambling post about typewriters and coincidences.

Oh dear - drew the keys far too small!


There's a little story behind this one. Not that interesting or exciting a story, but a story nonetheless.

I have always loved typewriters. Not the writing part of things - I've never had the aspirations to be a writer that a lot of people have, not even when I was younger - but the machines themselves. Just like I obsess over old sewing machines and cameras, although I do actually like sewing and taking photos.

When I started secondary school, I was excited when I saw a whole room full of typewriters and found out that when you reached sixth year (which would probably be junior year of high school in the US) you were given typing lessons. I couldn't wait. Unfortunately, they phased out the typewriters before I was old enough, in favour of a room full of computers (RM Nimbus) which we were never allowed to use.

I always wanted a typewriter of my own, but we didn't have a lot of money, so instead my aunt gave me hers on long-term loan. I loved it. It was a Silver Reed portable and the ink was all but dried up, but I taught myself to type on it, and did a lot of my GCSE coursework on it.

Recently I've started wishing for a typewriter again, and even went so far as to research (on ebay mostly) which one I wanted. The machine of choice was a Smith Corona Calypso, because it was tiny, cute, a pretty colour, and looked like it might actually be usable. I managed to find an auction for one today, but got outbid at the last minute. I was so disappointed. But my disappointment was short-lived.

I had to go on a little trip to Islington for some calligraphy ink this afternoon (more on that later), and accidentally got off the bus a stop too early. On the way to the art shop, I walked past a junk shop I'd never seen before, and there, sitting outside on a knackered old table was a royal blue Smith Corona Calypso! Couldn't believe my eyes - what a huge coincidence. Sure it wouldn't be working, I fished an envelope out of my bag, stuck it in the typewriter and hit a few keys, and it was almost perfect. The price tag said £14, but I managed to get the seller to let me have it for £10. Less than half what the ebay one would have cost me if you take into account the postage costs. The A key is sticky and the shift lock doesn't work. I love it. Almost as much as my Olympus Trip 35.

If you're still reading after all that, here are some photos of the newest addition to our household.



Need to clean those keys a bit!



I haven't been drawing much over the past few days because I've been so busy with my last assignments for the year, which are due in next week, and also because I've been practicing my calligraphy. I haven't done it for ages and I'm so rusty it's depressing. But it's something I'm determined to get better at. No point posting my pages and pages of the same letter groups over and over - I don't think anyone would be interested in that! But I might show off my new coloured inks at some point. I've just discovered the joys of filling a fountain pen with ink instead of using a cartridge - the difference is amazing.

Oh and here's a bookmark I crocheted while watching TV last night. Bonus points if you recognise the book - even more bonus points if you recognise the artist.


12 comments:

freebird said...

I want a typewriter to type on metal foil to add to cards and other paper art stuff. Glad you got a great deal.

Like your bookmark. I haven't croceted in years. Isn't that the new Illustrated Journals book? I just ordered it and can't wait to get it.

Minerva said...

It's a beautiful story!!! And they say there are no coincidences at all...
Anyway, I can certainly sympathize with you: just a few months ago I asked my mother to lend us her Olivetti Lettera 32 because my daughter wanted to learn how to type. So my mom flew 2,300 miles with the tiny blue case as her carry on :)

Anonymous said...

I learned to type on the old black upright Smith-Corona typewriter, like the one Murder, She Wrote Angela Lansbury uses in the TV show.
I never did learn to type very well on that old banger but loved the typewriter...the looks of it.

I also love old cameras, especially the ones with the accordian pull out case with the nifty little metal ring for a viewfinder. Would love to have an old Graphix press type camera with the big old flash attachment like the reporters used in the 40's & 50's...Joan

kimzoph said...

Love your typewriter and your sketch. Nice job on the composition and the color! By the way, I love my twin lens reflex camera (Mamiya C33). If film and processing weren't so expensive, I'd probably shoot alot more with it.

raena said...

An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory, and the artist is Tommy Kane!!! I'd recognize his work anywhere!

So what will this typewriter be doing if you have no desire to write? It is cute; I suppose it could become decor? Well, your sketch is wonderful.

marancat said...

So thrilled for you! What a wonderful find - and what a bargin...
(I am still waiting for Amazon to send my copy of Danny's book!)

Alex said...

i like old typewriters too! :) But they really are a bit of a pain to type of course... but I still love them and the sounds they make.
The drawing is awesome :)

Fioleta said...

The typewriter looks beautiful and your post made me wish I owned one as well. I'm sure I could find some use for it without having to turn into a writer and my daughter would love playing with one.

jessica said...

I have the same typewriter and love it! Although when you try to roll the cylinder which moves the paper down the paper slides, which is rather disappointing. My problem is I don't have a ribbon in it that works! Any ideas how I can get one to work? One person suggested buying a ribbon and unwinding it onto the two spools that I have with the typewriter...surely not!

angeltreats said...

Hi Jessica, let me have a bit of a fiddle around re the cylinder and I'll get back to you. I'm pretty sure mine doesn't do that so there's probably a switch to loosen it or something.

I'm trying to get hold of some ribbons at the moment, I ordered some but they were the wrong size but hopefully the company will have some that are suitable so I'll get back to you on that too :)

jessica said...

thank you thank you thank you! I did email smith corona who were the ones suggesting I unravel a spool of new ribbon to put it on these old spools! keep me posted, thank you kindly.

angeltreats said...

Hi Jessica, I don't have your email so I'm hoping you might have subscribed to the comment updates. The company I was dealing with have been trying to get hold of the right ribbon for me but they found out that they've been discontinued by everyone, ages ago. So disappointing! They said if I sent them my old ribbon they would put a new length of ribbon on the spools for me, so better than nothing I guess. Sorry not to be more helpful!

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