14 March 2014

Typewriters in the Wild

Friend and creative colleague Hoja and I made a pilgrimage recently to Antiques on Second here in Milwaukee. This turn of the century brush factory boasts "37,000 square feet on three floors showcasing items from one hundred and fifty dealers." 

While my need to amass more typewriters has quieted, the joy of seeing the machines has not. And a recent acquisition of a newish smartyphone with a much better camera than its predecessor has made it possible to cheer my Typospherian's heart with mere images. 

Here's what we saw. Except for the modernish something peeking out of its case, priced at $45, all the machines were consistently priced at $69.95. Apparently this is the going rate in Milwaukee these days. 

I must confess the orange one did tempt me as it was small and solidly built. But not the color . . . no, not orange, not for me.  And there was something else. Not a typewriter and I know not what it was. It's last on the page here. If anyone knows what it is, please comment?



Looks like a machine to record on wax cylinders,
but too modern somehow. Anyone know?


  1. I'm pretty sure the last thing is dictation machine, similar to a Dictaphone ( http://www.macarthurmemorial.org/m_new_acquisitions_dictaphone.asp ). They used cylinders well into the 1950s, although they were flexible rather than hard.

  2. I agree, that's a Dictaphone or the like.

    Thanks for letting us ride along on your safari!

  3. Nice looking typewriters that are very over priced. I've found HHs here for $10.00 in great condition.

    That last machine is an old wax cylinder Dictapphone. Eons ago I worked for them, but it was way after the days of wax cylinders. We had one of each of the old machines in our office. The funny microphone is really only an acoustic coupler to the transducer head that held the stylus that engraved the cylinder. Some cylinders were shellac and I'm told they were scratchy sounding so wax prevailed until the plastic belt Dictaphones were built.

  4. Hopefully, they are willing to do a good bit of negotiating, as the demand can't be that high in your parts.

    If that SG1 is in working condition, it would be a great machine to add to a collection. Never heard of a Tessy, but that bright color is attractive.

    1. I've only bought one machine there - and only then because the vendor dropped the price after many months. I didn't haggle - just happened to be there one day and noticed the change. The vendors are often not actually present. Antiques on Second holds 3 stories of vendor booths. I doubt the people who run the place have permission to haggle all that much.

      I have no room for additional machines (unless it is a Royal Empress is good working order! Ha!). I am finding taking pictures of typewriters seems to be satisfying my desire for them these days. ;-)

  5. Nic, Richard, and Bill - Yes, a dictaphone! I was thrown off by the newishness of the machine - as I tend to associate wax cylinder recording with early 20th century. Thanks for the identification.

  6. It also reminded me of a Dictaphone, but haven't seen those wax ones yet. Nice find!

    The orange typewriter looks like the design Royal 'took over' from Halberg. It's also available in brown and two-tone blueish. Maybe that's more your style than that awful bright orange.

  7. at first glance I thought the last picture is of some sort of gas pump/nozzle model... then I read the caption.


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