Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Typing Pool Upstairs

So, we were going up the stairs ... at the top you turn back on your self and walk to the end of the hall into this room. It's traditionally supposed to be the 'Master Bedroom,' but we have it set up as a library/ work room/ spare bedroom. It's where our collection, of 18 (and counting), typewriters live. Aren't they lovely?

As you can see, we haven't 'restored' the door yet. It did have two large pieces of hardboard (a common occurrence in this house) nailed to either side, for that 70's flush look. Amazing that the original bubble glass and door was underneath - good old DIY'er Albert again.

From top[ left, an Olivetti Valentine 1969, Adler Tippa 1971/72,  next shelf from left: Olivetti Lettera 22, Olivetti Lettera 32, next shelf two Imperial 66's 1959, last shelf from top Olivetti Adding Machine, and a Hermes 3000.
Yes the cases underneath all contain typewriters too!


  1. I adore the Alder Tippa, and I'm not even going to mention the Valentine... A this is a seriously impressive display. Are they displayed in this way
    a. because of it being a collection? b. because they're beautiful objects to look at or c. because the display allows for easy access/use? I'm also curious to know whether S uses his or whether he just enjoys mending them? Personally I sometimes find the cases a little disappointing, so I usually remove the typewriter for that reason.
    I see that the painted grey floorboards are also continued up here, dod you have to strip them first? I did the lazy DIY option of painting and not bothering to strip!

  2. a. b. & c. P! It's good to be able to keep them all together somewhere, and the shelving units were perfect for this - there are more of the same units over the other side of the room. S changes the typewriters around to have different ones out at different times, as they are such nice objects, but will put them away so they don't get too much dust in them - not good for their wellbeing! S doesn't use them as typewriters much, but enjoys fixing and maintaining them, as they all need a tweak every now and then, and some have had to go straight into the 'hospital' on arrival. I think he particularly likes the Hermes 3000 as it's last model of typewriter that Jack Kerouac used, it recently sold for $22,500.

    S also has a soft spot for the Imperial 66, as his Mum learnt to type using that model - she had a word speed of 120 words a minute.
    We took up Audrey's carpet in here - the underlay was yellow and has totally perished to powder. It was like being in a sherbert fountain for a while. The floorboards were unpainted and quite untouched, so we painted straight on top. I think that's fine ... I say we're being practical, not lazy! Sanding is very messy!

  3. A rotating display – this is very impressive! and it suits the space very well.

    It’s interesting how we bestow favouritism on specific objects, in S’s case it seems linked to nostalgia – the Hermes 3000 is indeed a fine looking specimen though. (I once worked in a studio – pre apple mac – where I had to type the invoices each month – and also used an Imperial 66.)
    In terms of my own typewriters – my favourites are those that have either a beautiful typing motion (the Olivetti Lettra 22 can’t be beaten) or are well styled!

    I have also encountered the sherbert fountain underlay scenario on many occasions! and I agree that sanding is messy… I wonder what Albert would make of the changes to the house, I’m not sure he would approve of bare floorboards…

  4. Yes, S has found out lots of typewriter factoids and he really wanted to source the model of typewriter, an Adler Universal used in 'The Shining' for his forthcoming typewriter exhibition. He found one on e-bay, but mysteriously it was removed from the auction before it had ended. He knows lots of historical knowledge, I didn't realise that some Typewriter manufacturers used to be gun makers beforehand and of course he knows the ins and outs of the workings of different machines etc.
    The Imperial 66's were THE Office machine weren't they?! Steadfast and reliable workhorses, though I know that S's Mum used to find them quite tiring to work on, as they were so heavy duty.
    I haven't yet typed with our Olivetti Lettera 22, needless to say I will be using it today. The nicest typing action I've come across so far is from the Smith Corona Galaxie (not pictured). It has a beautiful cursive script, and is a joy to type with ...
    I think Albert would be quite amused by all the changes we've done to the house. I'm sure he would think we are barking to have 'just' floorboards and no carpet! He'd definitely have some DIY advice, and be secretly quite pleased that we hadn't changed the bay window downstairs (the biggest bay in the street!).

  5. I had no idea either that typewriter manufacturers once made guns; S's exhibition sounds intriguing, will it include other typewriters that appear in films and/or were used by authors? (James Caan uses a Royal 10 in Stephen King's Misery) - this would be a great theme! yes, the Smith Corona Galaxie has one of the most interesting typewriter fonts that I've seen, just lovely.
    I like the fact that this collection is obviously used - and in different contexts. Too often we collect things and put them in cabinets, never to be used, or worse - wrapped up and kept out of sight. I think Albert would be quite bemused by the collection - and undoubtedly proud that the biggest bay in the street still belongs to no.18!

  6. The Exhibition will definitely feature the Lettera 32 as it is the same model that Cormac Mc.Carthy has written all his novels on - an interesting article in the NY Times. His Lettera 32 was sold at an auction, and raised over 1/4 million dollars (the money raised was to be donated to a scientific institution). Afterwards a friend of Mc.Carthy's went out and bought him, no not a computer, but a new typewriter to work on, the exact same model. Bought for less than $20!

    It's definitely a working collection, and a space where both our interests meet. Nothing is bought and kept just for posterity.

    I'm sure Albert would be totally bemused at our typewriter collection, though I did have a small collection of Albert's for a while ... when we dismantled the home made 'fitted' wardrobes in Audrey's bedroom, they were all put together with 4 inch screws - huge things! Think Albert just used whatever he had to hand when he built furniture - there were so many of them. I think we even used some to screw a few of the loose floorboards down. Albert would've liked the recycling!

  7. I've got Typewriter envy big style :-) Love the way they are displayed, those shelves are perfect. I showed my boyfriend and he just said "No!"

  8. Ah, you see A you have to get boyfriends/partners etc. involved on a shared interest basis. This then buys you both license to indulge.
    S likes fixing things and machines, and I like using typewriters to make books and ephemera - it's a win-win.


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