04 September 2012

The Typewriter That Waited



Even though the leaves haven't begun changing their colors here in Wisconsin, I know Autumn is on its way because I've been craving doughnuts like there's no tomorrow!  It's the prepare for winter thing, even though 21st-century homo sapiens no longer need to grow extra fur or put on a protective, extra layer of warmth-ensuring fat.

I love this definition of food cravings from Wikipedia (bold type mine):
"A food craving is an intense desire to consume a specific food, stronger than simply normal hunger. According to Marcia Levin Pelchat "It may be the way in which foods are consumed (e.g. alternating access and restriction) rather than their sensory properties that leads to an addictive eating pattern." "
We have a running joke in our house regarding such things: If a craving lasts longer than three days, give in.  While this more typically applies to Gilles Frozen Custard  and/or homemade apple pie, it also applies to typewriters.

Thus it was that I found myself at the exceedingly fine Antiques on Second here in Milwaukee. 




This fine establishment is located in a building that once served as a turn of the century brush factory.  It boasts "37,000 square feet on three floors showcasing items from one hundred and fifty dealers."  I visit every other month or so, spending several hours wandering among the many vendor displays.  

I have told myself that I am done acquiring typewriters.  I live in a single level, 3-bedroom flat that is already packed to the gills with art making supplies, books, stationery of many kinds, musical instruments, a plethora of plastic dinosaurs, and a reasonably small collection of mechanical writing machines.

They are not so much stored as lying about in their cases, tucked into whatever corner, nook, or shelf that will contain them.  I can only dream of the day I have spaces like those below to not simply store but display my collection.






Image source/credit


Lucky for me, Antiques on Second usually doesn't have a lot of typewriters.  But the first time I was there, some 8 months ago, I saw one I wanted.  It was a late 1940s-era Royal Arrow.  Tucked away under a cheezy green upholstered chair from the same time period, and enclosed in a nice-condition black case, it was priced at $70 -- comfortably out of my comfort range.  Plus, had I not said to myself "No More?"  As there was also a weary but working Oliver 5 there with a ticket reading $120 I felt confident in my resolve.

Through Spring and Summer I continued to restrain myself.  I even posted a notice over on the Portable Typewriter Forum in case there were any fellow Typospherian Cheeseheads out there who might be interested in the machines.




Recently a friend and I got together to peruse the antiques and have lunch afterwards.  And there, 8 months later, sat the tell-tale black case.  "What the hecks," says I, "can't hurt to look . . . ." (And in the audience I imagine Typospherians smiling quietly at this phrase they have, no doubt, uttered to themselves more than once.)  So I did and noted that the mechanicals worked quite fine and there was none of that moldy smell or sickening scent of Eau d'nicotine. I pulled out the slip of paper I always carry in my wallet and typed out that famous sentence concerning the quick fox and lazy dog.


 Info on the creation of these two images can be found at my earlier post here.


The typeface was elite, which I didn't expect -- I've 3 other Royal portables and they all type in pica.  A better surprise was in store - the price had been marked down by $30! (I am pretty sure I squeaked when I saw that.)  I decided on the instant.  After 8 months, it would seem, the gods of the typosphere were insistent.  Who was I to refuse?










 
It was the typewriter that waited.  Being a literary type, the cadence of the phrase made me think of Harry Potter - called by his author, the boy who lived. So I've named this one Harry, in his honor!



My apologies to Mary GrandPr√©, the artist who did the cover 
 and chapter illustrations for the American editions of the Harry Potter books.

p.s.  I thought the Oliver looked more wizardly than the Arrow for this image!

Addendum at 8:30pm:  Check out fellow Typospherian Cameron's blog post for yesterday over at Living in the Woods. He also recently acquired a Royal Arrow! Neat!





20 comments:

  1. Sounds like you were destined to have that typewriter. I don't think you can have too many...

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    1. I was _very_ happy to see it. Still, if it hadn't been priced down, it would still be there!

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  2. Heh, I guess it's 1948 Royal Arrow day, because Cameron just posted about one he just picked up too. You and he both now have the pinnacle of post-war typing machines (:

    PS: I've never seen this particular year/style of Royal in any typeface other than Elite.

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    1. I hadn't seen Cameron's post yet - thanks for the heads up. As for typefaces. . . I am definitely a USER of these machines rather than historian. So I've no real notion of what is typical or not. (I seem to recall the Royal Empress I learned to type in back in high school was an Elite.)

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  3. "Shift Freedom" sounds like a Labor Day slogan!

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    1. Then my timing is good. AND, you can get your very own SHIFT FREEDOM t-shirt here: http://www.cafepress.com/mf/36449465/shift-freedompng_tshirt?shop=clickthing

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  4. Cool! You and Cameron posting the same machine on the same day is a happy coincidence :-) I hope you enjoy your new toy. It was destined to come home with you. I always innocently check inside the cases. Many machines are left behind, but some follow me like wayward kittens.

    I need to get my Royal QDL out for a typing session; however, a little roughhousing with Claire left me with a slightly gimpy paw. I may have to give in and use an electric machine until it recovers. rrrrrr!!!! (snap) rrrrrr!!!! (snap!) rrrrr!!!!! (snap!) and so on...

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    1. I just read Cameron's post. His machine looks to be in much better condition than mine. I love the tombstone keys! And the typing action is actually pretty nice.

      p.s. Beware the Gingercat. I hear she has fierce fictional friends with whom you don't want to tangle! ;-)

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  5. The Royal Arrow is really the only Royal typewriter I like. They are good, solid machines, with a nice feel and even nicer looks. I picked mine up from a community yard sale. The seller, an older woman, said it belonged to her late husband and it hadn't seen the light of day in years. Boy did that thing work nice when I got home. Plus, her late husband had the exact margin settings I prefer. Awesome!
    That woman was so excited when I told her I was going to make it shine like new again. Made me feel really happy.

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    1. Ken, I know what you mean about taking on the legacy of a typewriter. I love knowing the histories that come with my machines. (Did you ever get to show the cleaned up Arrow to the lady who sold it to you?)

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  6. Congratulations on your new typewriter. It is a beautiful machine. This must be Arrow month. And not just Arrow, but from the same era. Cameron just got one also.

    I really like that display case in the first photo. I really wish that I not only had one, but the room for it. (when I wish upon a star.....)

    You are not the only one with an over stuffed 3 BR and items stuffed, stacked, and hidden in every imaginable empty space. The only thing I can display is my Kodak collection and some fire department memorabilia. Those thing fit into my 2 Barrister book shelves.

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    1. Bill, my Dad used to have some glass-doored bookcases. Being 7th of 10 kids, though, I didn't get to lay claim on 'em. My oldest sister has them now. But I am wondering if they'd have been deep enough to hold typewriters. What do you think?

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  7. Ledeaux, it is nothing short of AMAZING that both of us posted about our recently-acquired Royal Arrows at nearly the same time!!

    Our machines are pretty much identical, down to the elite typeface. Yours might also be "petite elite", as Bill M. commented on my post.

    Congratulations! "Good things come to those..." etc. May you enjoy writing on your Arrow for years to come. I intend to!

    By the way, what is the serial number on yours? It would be doubly amazing if our machines were made close to the same time. (Just in case you don't know...move the carriage to the right and look underneath the exposed left corner, with the little slot/metal plate that contains the serial #. I'm very curious!)

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    1. Ooops -- I meant to say "petite pica"!

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    2. The serial number on mine is C-1747752. I've never heard of "petite pica" as a typeface option! How is that different from elite?

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    3. Thanks! Mine is slightly newer than yours: C-1751513. Both made in 1948.

      Petite pica, from what I understand, is slightly smaller at 11 characters per inch than regular pica, which is 10. (Elite is 12.) I think 11 is a perfect size, for my eyes and esthetic at least.

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    4. Thanks for the new info!

      I've added a post script to this post with a link to your Arrow post -- in case people don't read the comments. It's fun to be able to compare the two machines.

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    5. ...and I did the same on my blog...we've got it covered now!! ;)

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  8. I need to adopt your rule for food cravings - waiting three days before giving in would benefit me greatly! ;-)

    Pretty typewriter and cool photos, too!

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    1. Thanks! I must confess that said rule had absolutely NO effect last night when our friend Hoja was in town and made us dinner. PIE was created (plum/kiwi/apple) and IMMEDIATELY consumed. Happy we were (and rounder we are!).

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