24 April 2011

A Typewriter for a Wizard



One aspect of the Summer Wizarding Event is to be a mobile Post Office.  We've been finding a lot of inspiration from images like the one above.  But we also want the office side of of things available to our new students.



ttelyob, a Flickr photostreamer, has a few images of the interior of a 1950s era village post office in England that is giving us lots of ideas.  Of course the amount of stuff in this P.O. will not fit onto the wagon/trolley device we are designing.  But we liked the"activity" going on behind the wire screen and the little forms placed out in front of it.  This inspired the idea of having a small typewriter out on a fold-out counter along with some faux telegram and aerogram forms for the Post Master/Mistress and our new students to use.  

I had planned on lending this machine from my small collection.  It has a nice, easy-to-read pica typeface; can handle the hard hits from young hands unused to the strength it takes to make typewriting keys strike well; and looks sort of friendly-like.  Its only downside was its weight.

This and all following photos by me

A couple of weeks ago I was using it to type a letter to one of my pen friends, though, and the entire mechanism that governs the shift-key/upper case activity broke or seized up.  The keys still work but the line of type is all messed up.

As it happens, I was at one of our local resale shops last week looking for cool items to include in the postal game when I saw a small, rather flat, ivory-colored case on a bottom shelf.  It was half open with the cover lying at an unforgiving angle.  It looked broken. The case looked like something that might hold a mini drill set or vintage office machine of some kind.  But it had that tell-tale curve to its top that made me think it just might be a typewriter.


Eureka!  (Though I said it under my breath.)  It was indeed a typewriter; remarkably small and in seeming good condition.  Having bought "seeming" machines too quickly in the past, however, I didn't assume my luck was true.  Usually I carry a small piece of paper with me to test typers when I discover them.  I didn't have that and could only test it by striking each key, checking to see if the various mechanicals worked (shift key, tabs, margin stops, ribbon advance, etc.) 



All seemed well.  I checked to see if the cover, which had been lying off kilter on the shelf, attached properly.  It did, creating a tiny, very chic and slightly funky-looking item.  Then the most excellent discovery: the price sticker.  This little lovely was priced at only $4.99! 


I was surprised to see the Smith Corona label.  Unlike the above machine which has all the battleship-solidity of which many in the Smith Corona line of machines tend to boast, this one is lightweight and has a plastic body rather than metal.  It looks just a little otherworldly - though the imprint on the back only says Made in England.

Dear Reader, the wee typer is now sitting with my other Wizarding Event supplies and equipment.  It needs a little cleaning, and I am thinking that I will paint the "Owl Post" postmark I designed onto its cover.  

A nice final feature: when I got home and tried it out with paper, the words typed along in a kind of bouncing fashion.  I was looking for odd and friendly - I think I found it!





4 comments:

  1. Looks like a Corsair Deluxe by another name, which is really a more modern version of a Skyriter [sic]. Perfect for kids!

    I've long wondered if the latex rub-off transfers used by scrapbookers would stick to the plastic of a typewriter shell. It seems like you could affix your own lettering to it ("Wizardgram"?) or some ornate scroll-work-looking designs to theme it.

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  2. My plan is to trace the design on the cover and use the kind of paint that my brothers used when they painted their plastic model cars. Or one of those metallic markers in black or silver. I will definitely post a pic when I get it done. (It has a slightly nubbins-texture to it, so I don't think a transfer would stay on.)

    The name "Profile" is imprinted on the piece above the platen. I typed some more on it this morning - amazingly snappy action, which I always like.

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  3. If you decide to paint, I'd also look into vinyl die, which comes in a spray can and is sold in automotive supply stores. It's meant for customizing fabric and interiors. I used a can of red for my Pimpwriter project. With some careful masking and taping, you could do some largish silvery things as background, and then enhance with model paints.

    Looking forward to the "after" pics!

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  4. wish you lived closer by - I'd commission you to do the work! Thanks for the extra info. ;-)

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