Thursday, 28 March 2013

The mystery Baby.


You know... I like typewriters, and I like to think I know a fair bit about them. But every so often I come across a machine that reminds me that, simply put, I don't know jack. 

The mystery Baby in all its glory. Click to enlarge and have a good look at the keyboard.

I'm not in the business of collecting typewriters for the sake of unusual or unique variations of machines. I like typewriters for their beauty and their artistry. I like them for their functionality and form. I appreciate them for the history they bring with them, and I love them for the feeling I get when I write with one. 

I didn't need another Hermes baby, but I saw this guy on eBay and I threw my hat in the ring simply because I noticed a couple of odd characters on the keyboard. Auction day came and no one else bid, and so it became mine for a wallet hurting $15. Not only was it cheap, but it was about a 5 minute drive from where I work to collect it.

As you can see by the screen grab above, the seller only photographed half the keyboard. The other photos were blurry, and the description simply read:

Antique Portable Typewriter and carry case.

Hermes Baby - typewriter. 

I think this might have been used in a hospital in the 50's - there is in pen " Room 3" on the lid of the typewriter.

So I arrived at the seller's address at the appointed time, only to find that the seller was selling on behalf of the very much still alive owner of the machine - a quite senior and very lovely lady who was a former nurse. It appeared that her son was selling off a fair few of her possessions, or 'house clutter', and it was mostly piled up in the garage of the house - awaiting collection. 

I had a brief discussion with the lady, but her son was getting quite impatient. He demonstrated his expert experience of typewriters by banging the keys and showing the carriage shifted - before telling me "Everything works on this typewriter as a typewriter should".

But I wanted to know more about the machine. Once I was able to get a full look at keyboard, I noticed that it was significantly different to any of the other typewriter keyboards I had seen before. On the right hand side of the typewriter there was a whole host of characters I found that were unusual. 

"I bought it new when I was doing a business course before I became a nurse in the 60's" The lady explained "Its German made you know, and that's a German keyboard. It was made by Hermes - a very good company". She actually pronounced Hermes correctly too. The son argued a couple of points - insisting that it was the 50's. But she just looked confused about what he was saying, and tried to correct him that she bought it early to mid 60's. Also, it turned out that typewriter had never been near a hospital. I suspected the son was just obfuscating things to cover for the rather factually incorrect advertisement. Not that I cared about the advertisement, as I had long learned to disregard most of what a seller says on an eBay posting.

It most certainly wasn't a German keyboard, and I suggested this to the owner. I then muttered something about it being Swiss made, but she just nodded and said "That's a German keyboard".

The son shuffled about to display his impatience and suggest that the trade - and our business, was done. I was hoping to have a bit more of a chat, but it was obvious that this wasn't going to happen. So I just picked up my now paid for typewriter, said a gracious thank-you, and left. 

I got the Baby home and then started to inspect the machine. Lo and behold, the (now former) owner was right. It WAS made in Germany. 


I was a little stumped by this, but that was far from the last surprise for the afternoon. I had never heard of these machines being made in Germany before.

The typewriter wasn't made of plastic, but rather metal. This is the third Hermes Baby of this era I have come across, and the first that didn't appear to have been belted to a near pulp. This machine had been well used, but also quite looked after. I've found the metal on this version of the Hermes Baby to be the closest thing that you can find to play-doh, that is still a metal.

I also  bet about half the readers that read this blog just silently nodded their head in agreement.

So - I cracked open the case to have a look at the serial number, and found 9006303, which oddly didn't tie into a number range that was covered on Ted's excellent Serial number Database.

Okay... I thought. Let's just try typing with this machine.

And this is where it got weird. Not only did it have a better type feel than any other baby that I have ever owned or seen, but some other things seemed especially odd.

As you can see in the photo at the top of the page, the numbers are shift access only. But it isn't just the numbers. It's the full stop, and some other important characters as well. Then there was the character, which I just couldn't line up with any keyboard, character map or language alphabet at all.

I looked for currency symbols, only to find none. I was stumped.

I almost made a phone call to my friend Ray, who is a Linguist, when I stopped myself and just thought - "Rob Messenger will know, surely"!

 Just catching a few rays on the deck; trying to tan up that European paleness. 

Rob Messenger - Oztypewriter
It's a safe bet to ask Rob. He's got a vast head for a broad spectrum of details, and has been collecting for a lot longer than a lot of people i know. So I made Rob my first port of call. I'd been exchanging emails with Rob that afternoon over other matters, so I just dropped a mention of this machine into another email.

Amazingly, Rob got back to me within minutes. He wasn't absolutely certain, but he suggested that the machine had a "Brazilian 2" keyboard.

Coming from Rob, this was a suggestion that I was quite inclined to agree with. He'd gone through some reference material at a speed that would have to have been nothing but phenomenal, and had come up with what i knew would be an educated suggestion.

Rob also suggested that I have a chat with Georg Sommeregger, as he was much more extensively versed in the ways of the Hermes machines, and would know more about how a Hermes Baby come to be made in Germany - and possibly more on the keyboard.

Georg Sommeregger - Sommeregger's Sommelsuirum and Hermes Baby
Rob was right. As it was, Georg has a very strong knowledge on the German made Hermes baby. Georg told me a little about where the machine was made, and where it sat in relationship to the then existing Hermes factory (not very far at all, incidentally). And that he also lived in the same area.

It was quite fascinating. Georg also suggested that the machine was made in the earlier phase of Pailards manufacturing of the Baby in Germany, which would put the machine's manufacture around 1965. This was great news, as it matched up with the time-frame which the previous owner claimed to have bought the typewriter new.

So in my mind, the mysteries of the date and location of manufacture were solved.

Georg also made a suggestion about the keyboard. He sent me a scan of a character map for a Gossen Tippa - that showed the 'Italiano' layout of their keyboards. The layout was almost identical to the layout of my Hermes - except for two crucial differences. Firstly it didn't have an on the keyboard, but had a ∘ instead. Also, the Italiano keyboard layout was QZERTY, and not QWERTY.

The rest of the keyboard, including the shifted full-stop (period) matched perfectly.

I thanked Georg as he'd been a great help, and then messaged Rob with the findings - confident that Georg's suggestion of it being 'possibly a variation of the Italiano keyboard' was right. Rob however was a little more skeptical.

Natalie Tan - NatsLapTaps
Meanwhile, I had been spit-balling a few ideas with a few people on facebook. Nat made an interesting suggestion about the key, and suggested that it was used to write N - as it was a common abbreviation of 'Number'. My Cyrillic Hermes has a N key for this specific purpose, so I was a little cynical of this idea. Nat also then suggested that the machine perhaps had been set up to write lots of numbers, and names in capital letters - hence why those important functions, including writing N, were all achievable with the keyboard caps locked. 

Emigrant keyboards.
While talking to Georg, I wrote that I felt that the Italiano keyboard made a lot of sense - particularly as Australia had taken in a lot of post war refugees, and economic refugees. One of the largest groups represented in this mass migration to Australia - were the Italians. The Greeks followed soon after, and subsequently made Melbourne famous for having the largest Greek population outside of Greece.
 A lot of these migrant groups formed communities in Australia, and it wasn't unusual to find their languages and customs being continued in various areas.

Anyone my age or older, can remember exactly what Lygon street in Melbourne used to be like - before it became a tourist attraction. And then there's Franco Cozzo - who crammed Italian, Greek and English into his television commercials in the 80's. Not to mention crammed his show-rooms full of truly ugly furniture (and somehow drugs, but that's another story).

 Oh, the Nostalgia!
Foot-as-cray! (sorry, local in-joke. Teeritz and John are likely to get it).

I could almost see the raised eyebrow in Georg's reply email. This time around, he sent me a couple of examples of a 'Lithuanian emigration' keyboard. The emigration keyboard layout he showed me went from the traditional AĆ ERTZ keyboard, to a QWERTZ layout (migrating to Germany perhaps?), while still retaining much of the character map and layout outside of the figurative characters. 

The suggestion was that perhaps this machine of mine had been designed specifically for Italians that were migrating to Australia. However, there wasn't any concrete evidence to suggest that this machine could be such a machine.

No one seems to be certain about the nature of this keyboard and who it may have been made for. What also remains a mystery, is how this machine came to be owned by an Anglo-Australian nurse - who bought it new from the show-room. Natalie made a suggestion that a shop might have sold it at a discounted rate to her, which may have encouraged her to buy such a machine. But unfortunately I'm not in a position to easily check out this idea.

So there we have it! The mystery Baby. A machine that seems to have a blurred history that hints at an interesting story of humanity at almost every turn. Stories that seem sort of painfully just outside of my reach.

I like this little machine. If I'm going to use it, I know I'm going to struggle a bit with the shifted full-stop. And its story very much intrigues me. If you have any suggestions or ideas about this machine, please leave a comment below.

I also really appreciate the help I got from Rob, Georg and Natalie. Thanks guys!

I can't believe I seriously mentioned Franco Cozzo in a semi-serious way on my blog. Also, if this is indeed an Italiano keyboard, does this mean that the typewriter should be really called a "Hermes Bambino"?

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Back from the brink: 1927 Bing from John.


1927 Bing No 2. 

You may recall that a little while ago I got a 'Bing' typewriter off John. The machine was beaten, battered and bent. It was also missing some fairly rather crucial parts - namely all three bearings from the carriage. To all intents and purposes this machine had largely had its day.

But there's just something about a typewriter I have received from someone. I now feel responsible for that machine, and I feel that - there's no point taking a typewriter off someone else, if you're not going to be responsible for giving it a future.

I could have shoved a few pins of dowel into the carriage and left it as a display piece. But that  felt like giving up can copping out. The trouble was, that I just simply didn't have the bearings to place back in. Nor did I have any information on the size of bearings that I would need - a pretty important piece of information, as you couldn't just simply 'guess' the size.

I also really, really wanted a working Bing. I've largely decided that I want a collection of Art Deco era machines, and the Bing was an excellent example of Art Deco and early Bauhaus influenced design.


So... I set to work. I dropped in a couple of bearings that I had hanging around from the Valentine project, and found them to be way too small. But I looked at the wear marks on the tracks of the old bearings, and got a rough idea of how much larger the original bearings were.

I took a few measurements, and a few more measurements and did a few calculations. I didn't have the ideal equipment to get the best measurements (remember, when it comes to bearings, you need to be able to get the sizes right to mere 10ths of a millimeter) so I was just kind of winging it.

Once I had estimated the size, I sourced a handful of bearings from the engineering shop. I got 4 of a size that was as close as possible to my estimation, 4 of the next available size larger, and 4 of the closest size smaller.

I needn't have bothered. It turns out that my estimation was correct, and the first size was right. I estimated 7.3mm, and the closest I could find was 7.14. The bearings were a touch under-tolerance for the machine once installed, as confirmed that my 7.3 estimation was pretty much right.

So now I had the bearings, and a bit of a phobia of putting them in. I still vividly recall the nightmare of trying to get the Valentine's bearings back in, and I expected this machine to be just as difficult.

But it wasn't so. With 15 minutes of thinking and planning, and 2 minutes of doing, I had the bearings perfectly lined into the typewriter. I breathed a sigh of relief then filled the tracks with lubricant, and started to work the lubricant in by moving the carriage back and forth.

The draw band needed to be replaced as well. This stupidly took even longer than the bearings to did, largely because of the unusual mainspring. I produced a new band out of 60lb fishing line, and soon everything was working (sort of) as it should. There's some pushing and prodding to do yet, but once again the typewriter was back to life, and mostly operating.


The aluminum keys are actually quite beautiful, and unique, and I don't know of any other typewriter that has anything like them. The action on the keys is also quite snappy - and it certainly gives a hell of a thump against the platen. But that wasn't the end of what is unique about the design of this typewriter. As I inspected it closely, I found this typeface:




I saw Ton's write up on the Bing some time ago, which contains an interesting example of the typeface. The typeface looks largely the same as my bing, but it isn't. Actually, there's some significant and subtle differences that gives a nod at the Bauhaus influence of the design. Can't see it? Have a look at the 'i', and then the lower case 'L'. Compare it to Ton's example when you have a moment.


I don't have a ribbon that will fit this typewriter, as it is a 10mm ribbon, - or maybe even an 8mm. But I shoved into the carriage a folded scrap of paper, and stuffed an old and somewhat dried ribbon between the prongs of the ribbon non-vibrator (it doesn't move... ever) to try and squeeze a sample out of this machine.

For now... I call this typeface 'Fat Vogue', until someone gives me an idea of its actual name.

This machine still needs a bit of adjusting and problem solving, but this sample gives you an idea of the structure of the typeface.

The Bing is never going to be someone's primary writing machine. It doesn't have any margin settings, it doesn't have a carriage lever, and it doesn't have a bell... That's right, this Bing has no 'bing'. But it isn't an awful typewriter either, and while many consider it a toy it really is a simple and low-cost typewriter that was made in an era when Germany was suffering severe financial and social problems.

The original idea of Bauhaus design was to bring art and functionality to the wider community in an affordable way. This principal is very much in the spirit of the design of the Bing, and defines its character. Some people see it as a unique machine, while others see it as a bit of an oddity.

This machine has quite a way to go before it again is a fully functioning typewriter. Its got some dings that need to be bent out, and some bits and pieces that need to be fixed and adjusted. But getting the bearings in, and finding the typewriter is largely working is a major step in that direction.

Now... time to fire up the CAD software again, and design a 3D printable set of replacement spools.

Was this 1920's enough, Sophia? :D

And again, a sincere thank-you to John for this marvelous typewriter. 

Friday, 22 March 2013

They may be just props, but I like it.





I'm particularly fond of women with intelligence. A sharp wit, a cutting intellect... what's not to like? As far as physical attributes are concerned, curly hair and a cheeky smile are pretty much at the top of the list.

And so I found myself sitting down to watch 'Canberra Confidential' on Channel 2 (Australia's government funded television body - the ABC), which was being hosted by one of my favorite political writers - Annabel Crabb.  She's always offered some very considered and thoughtful political commentary, and has some great curly hair and a very warm smile.

The show was great. It delved into some of the more bizarre back room (and often lounge room) historical goings on in our political capital - and was worth the watch. Even if it was more along the lines of entertainment, than political discussion.

But hey... with a title like 'Canberra Confidential', what more did you expect? I just wish there was more of it!

So, I'm guilty... I enjoyed the show. And I enjoyed it all the more for seeing Annabel Crabb sitting behind a great looking Remington 5 typewriter, along with some great Deco era decor. Gear that I'd feel right at home at.

Is it wrong to find this.... visually appealing?


 And while we're at it. Is this Remington one of Rob Messengers? I mean... he was local after all.

I want one.
The typewriter. Not Annebel Crabb.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A little spot of spotting!


The sun arose into a clear sky over Brisbane Saturday, and I awoke rather excited about taking a little trip out to Ipswich. 

I'm still adjusting to my new job and new hours, but I grabbed an extra shift at work on Friday night that saw me working till about 10pm just to keep my funds respectable. Hospitals are weird places after 7pm and it has been a very long time since I have done the after hours shift at work. At 9 o'clock when there's pretty much nobody in the corridors, all the doors on the campus automatically shut and lock-down. If you're in the hallways at the time, it is as though a fleet of ghosts have slammed all the doors shut and locked you out.

Despite working late, I still sprung out of bed ready for the drive - albeit with a slight headache. It is a fair way from my home to the town of Ipswich, but conditions were brilliant, and it looked like a lovely day to be out on the road. The objective for the day was to attend the Ipswich Antiques and collectables fair and have a browse - and hopefully spot some typers out in the wild. 


It took an hour to get to 'Ippy', which is a city just a little to the west from Brisbane. It's an odd little town that originally grew as a trade hub for the rural community, but became something of a miner's town in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, where the outskirts of Ippy were mined for coal to feed Brisbane's power needs as it mechanized with steam then electricity. 

When the mines closed - largely due to a string of underground disasters in the 1960's, the town relied on its rail-yards and train workshops to continue its economy. Now, the city is an odd mix of rural industry and tourism. A lot of people think about Ipswich by its 'blue collar' and somewhat impoverished outer suburbs, while others think of it by its proud heritage. Unlike Brisbane much of Ipswich has been able to keep a lot of its characteristic old buildings and homesteads.

It is a city that shows how much of the charm has been stripped away from Brisbane and its rush to ditch the past and replace it with the new and shiny and somewhat temporary.

So I was very curious about what might turn up at the fair. Naturally, I was inclined to do a bit of typewriter spotting - and perhaps buying if the price was right and the machine interesting enough.

 Upon arrival we were greeted at the door by this magnificent Ariel motorcycle which looks as though it has been someone's loving project. The day was beautiful, and why wouldn't you take your pride and joy out for a ride!

 I've likened restoring typewriters to working on Motorcycles before, and I'm sure many of the typosphere can appreciate what I'm talking about when you see a chrome, metal and rubber beast like this. My grandfather, a typewriter mechanic, lost the ends of two of his fingers while working on his motorcycle when he was younger. Oddly, it never seemed to stop him from being able to fix typewriters - or ride motorcycles. However, I have no intention of repeating family history.



Ms Jane was with me, and after we'd ohhh'd and ahhhh'd over the motorcycle for a bit we made our way inside.

The day was beginning to get quite hot, and the shed that the fair was being held in was really starting to cook up with the heat and the dense crowd inside. Once we'd gotten through the door, we had to push our way through clogged aisles of people inspecting wares and haggling over the price of a dainty little tea set or a Princess Dianna plate.

I never understood the charm of collecting plates. But there were plenty of collectable plates here. The Dianna ones always seemed especially gaudy. There were some spectacular jewelery pieces, but Ms Jane didn't have the budget to buy what she liked the most.
  
 Towards the back of the shed the crowds dropped off a little. But the temperature was several degrees hotter. I was starting to feel the sweat run down my back, and almost every trader exclaimed a complaint about the heat the moment you attempted to engage with them. 

As Paul McDermott (of DAAS) once said: "Of course we sweat in Queensland. It's all we do. If we didn't like sweating, we wouldn't live here".  But as I'm a Victorian at heart - my point of view is "F**k this heat. Let's find some air-conditioning before my shirt shows a sweat patch. You know how much this black shirt cost"?

I"d sussed out a Kerosene lamp that seemed to be a good price, but I didn't buy. I thumbed through a few books and rumbled through bits of junk under tables. Antique tools always seem to be a big hit, and oddly enough the old bottle openers that I saw selling at the Antiques auction a couple of months ago, seemed to be liberally scattered around the table with these antique tools. How very Australian - you need some beers open in order to be able to use these old world tools. 

The first typewriter I stumbled across wasn't really a typewriter at all, but rather a toy typer.


At $45, I felt compelled to leave it exactly where it was. I clanked the keys for a little bit, and well and truly affirmed that this machine had no place in my collection. It looked in great condition, but being in great condition doesn't simply equate to being a great machine. And besides.... it has a creepy as all get-up Dali-lama doll next to it, which I'm sure would posses its soul and have it quoting evil platitudes. 




As to be expected, and no doubt to the joy of our friends in Geneva, there were a lot.... and I mean a lot... of sewing machines. Singer seemed to be the brand of choice, and there were a lot of the old-style cast metal machines about. As it happens, I already gotten a sewing machine myself recently, so it was time to move on...

Not far from the Petite toy typewriter I discovered a nice and curvy Alder Tippa.

The photo doesn't really show it, but this machine had a few nasty looking blemishes in the plastic. I've wanted one of this model Tippa for a while, but at $55.... I wasn't too sure if I wanted to grab this one. I asked if they had the case, and they did.... but I passed it up anyway. 

Outside of that, the collection was a bit thin with typewriters. There was only one more to be had.... and it was this Imperial desktop machine:


$200? No thanks. The Imperial was not coming home with me today. Too heavy, too ugly. Too expensive. I bet it is a great machine... but... 

So that was that. I didn't co home empty handed though. I ended up getting this amazing 1950"s fan.


The powder blue was quite striking, but it needs a bit of a clean up. It works far better than most of my modern fans, and we've already made good use of this over hot weekend. As I walked out the door one of the traders yelled at me "Hey! Could you turn that thing on"? As he slowly melted into his seat.


The Maryborough
fair is on next fortnight, but I doubt I'll be driving up there. However, in about a month, it's the Toowomba fair. And Toowomba beautifully interesting town.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

So... do you type-in here often?


It was a glorious Sunday morning, but I was feeling in far from magnificent form. I crawled out of bed with aching muscles, and a rather sore head. I was very tired after the week's adjustment to my new (old) job.

I caught up with some of the activity from the Typosphere online, while listening to the congregation of the Samoan community church about half a block away as they belted out harmonies that instantly made me feel I was on a tropical island somewhere. I then cooked up a breakfast and got some typewriters ready.

Mr Pinky Beecroft was the first to be added to the pile. He's a pink Lettera 22 which I've been readying as a gift to 'Baroness'. My friend Mars had made a tentative gesture that she was interested in coming, so I picked out my Script Royalite 220 for her. I then rounded off my collection with my chrome Royal, which was going to be its debut outing.


I thought I could bluff my way past the tiredness. But after looking at both Robert's photos, and others taken by Ms Jane I realised that I probably didn't carry off 'tired' with the grace and elegance that I thought I had.

Not to worry.

I got to the Breakfast creek hotel at a time approaching about 1:30. Loaded with typewriters and other bits, I did a quick cursory look around the hotel to find the museum room - but didn't quite seem to find it. As it turned out, I had. My understanding was that we'd had the room booked for just us. But they had shuffled in a few extra plastic tables - which were filled by patrons of the pub having their lunch. Some of which turned out to be Rob Messenger, John and Margaret. (I hope I got that spelling correct)

The pub was mostly standing room only. It was the first cool but sunny day that we'd had for a month, and the hoteliers were scrambling to find enough space to put everyone in the massive complex. People were fighting (politely) over parking spots in the car park - not to mention every disabled parking spot had been filled by cars that were missing the requisite sticker.

There was a little anxiety at first about setting out our machines in what appeared to be a room of the bar. But by the time I had laid out my three machines, and a few other people had put theirs on the table, it was pretty obvious that we were dominating the room.

Other patrons around us started to look confused, and oddly anxious themselves as we set up our glistening writing machines on the table. But they soon relaxed, and in fact some of them even came over and tried a few of them out!


I helped John get a handful of his machines out from the back of his car, and as I did a lady drove past me and called my name. I turned around and was greeted by a smiling face. "I'm Kate"! she said.

Kate drove off to find a parking spot, while I carried in Johns Visigraph machine. I walked through the complex with this heavy but beautiful piece of machinery cradled in my arms, while people gazed at me in surprise as I passed them. The looks were priceless.

Before long Steve Snow turned up with a handful of machines. He carefully placed a Corona 3 and a Corona 4 on the table, before unzipping a mushroom Lettera 22 that was in excellent condition, which he sat next to Mr Pinky Beecroft.

Kate had a small case on wheels, which she extracted a lovely Royal Deluxe out of. The machine still clung to the dust of its many years, but was actually in much better condition than the difficult to clean crinkle paint let on. The machine felt snappy and tight, and would probably scrub up to be an amazing little machine. But in its current state it was a charming machine. I'd never quite seen one line it before.

At the other end of the bench John's astonishingly beautiful Royal 5 flatbed was ruling the roost. This machine is in amazing condition. ...and someone had just slotted in a piece of paper. I couldn't help myself. I had wanted to try one of these for a very long time, and I have to say - I wasn't disappointed.

Definitely the Queen Royal, flanked by the prince and princess. 

John's Visigraph was also attracting a lot of attention. I myself had never seen a machine setup so beautifully. It typed very well too - with the exception of the missing 'e' from the type-stub.

Between them say my Chrome Royal P. My chrome machine looked so small and insignificant between them. But its shiny looks made it an unmissable machine. The customised keys also attracted a lot of attention - but I'll tell you more about this machine at a later date. (i.e. when it is actually finished)

Mr Pinky Beecroft seemed to be the darling of the show to the women that wandered past. Most of the visitors that we had drop onto a chair and start typing, almost invariably gave Pinky a go. Sure - they also had a go at other machines, but Pinky was never  close to being lonely for most of the day. Which was odd... because he wasn't the best to type on.

Rino's Hermes 3000 was there too. The BMX tyre repair seemed to have worked beautifully on it. I'm even inclined to try it on a machine or two of my own now. Or at least, when I have the time. The keyboard was quite a surprise though, and Rino suggested that it was German. But I wasn't quite so sure. I'm going to have to do a bit more research on this.

The Royalite 220 surprised a lot of people, and I saw Rino giving it a go on several occasions. On the other hand, the Everest Mod 90 surprised me with its magnificent feel. I loved it! It was a great machine. However it sadly drew short of being perfect (in my opinion) with its awfully long arcing carriage lever.

A young blond lady sat down at Pinky, and asked if she could give him a go. "Sure"! We replied almost unanimously. The lady pressed down on a key and nothing seemed to happen, so I simply told her "Give that key a good hit. Don't be shy of it"!

And so she did, and she was off and writing.

Or at least until she asked "Where's the return key"?

People seemed to be largely enjoying themselves. I got to meet new people. They got to meet each other, and Steve got some great advice on how to fix his Smith Premier machine.

Rino and Kate were both very interesting to chat to. 

And I got a book! Rino left me with a copy of his "Song logic - essays in Music" - which a cursory look at gave me the feeling that it will intelligently accompany some of the themes introduced in Craig Schuftan's "Hey Nietzsche! Leave them kids alone" book that I'd read a little while ago. I'm looking forward to spending some time with it.

Meanwhile..... 


There was knitting..... 
* * *

We had a few people drop in from the outside bar, the inside bar, and the other bars - to take a look. Some of them were even brave enough to sit at the keyboards and give it a try. My initial anxiety about being in such an exposed area turned out to make the day all the more enjoyable.

Eventually we packed up our machines and headed home. I brought my car around along side Robert's in the quickly emptying car park, and transferred a few machines that Rob had picked up from Scienceworks into the boot of my car. A large family wandered by and a small army of heads turned. Pointing at and IBM Selectric a woman announced to her children "That's what we used for a computer when I was a kid". It must have been the Selectric, as I very much doubt it would have been the Remington 7 that I was holding between my arms at the time.

 We'd decided to make this an annual event, so those who missed out this year, all I can say is: don't be such a pussy, and come next year. Although, we're probably not going to have it in a pub next time.

Soon everyone had driven off into the sunset. Ms Jane and I returned inside and got ourselves a nice breakfast creek dinner,  and by the time I got home I was exhausted. I left home with 3 typewriters, and came back with 7. Carrying them up the stairs into my house almost proved my downfall - literally. But I was still too excited not to have a bit of a play with the Remington 7.

But that's another project for another day.

Thursday, 7 March 2013