This rather ordinary craigslist ad sent me on a safari today. While my daughter was at a 3-hour birthday party, I decided to hit the road to Miamisburg, figuring I would at least get a nice Sunday drive out of it.
Miamisburg is a town on the Great Miami River (Ohio, not Florida) which I'd never visited before. I avoided the Interstate and took Ohio Route 127, passing through Hamilton. This is a rather decrepit industrial town that got the bright idea in the '80s of calling itself Hamilton! with an exclamation mark. It didn't work.
Still, it has some beautiful spots. I discovered the Dayton Lane historic district, with gorgeous houses like these.
One block away from Dayton Lane there's this:
I think these old factories have a decadent beauty of their own.
After Hamilton there was wide-open country road with almost no traffic—the kind of driving that lets me breathe free.
I passed through the metropolis of Gratis (pop. 881) and other villages I'd never visited before, finally reaching Miamisburg.
Well, the Royal was gone and there was not another open antique shop to be found.
The town is charming, though, and they have an excellent Masonic Temple. Yes, the sides really slant, forming the base of a very tall invisible obelisk.
My typewriter bone was still tingling. I figured I had just enough time to make it to the Ohio Valley Antique Mall, already featured in my February and April safaris. I zipped down Interstate 75 and was soon in the mall.
Sure enough, many of the old typewriters had disappeared and there were some new ones, such as this wide-carriage Underwood for $42.50. Its serial number, 4654007-18, dates it at 1937.
Our next Underwood is S5575626-11, from 1942, for $38.
This Smith-Corona Galaxie Twelve from the late '70s (?) was priced at $45.
Back to the Underwoods. This one, 11-6630507, was made in 1949 and cost $74.95.
A Royal Companion (no tab, no touch adjustment, no Magic Margin), S3281457 from 1956, price $39.
A typewriter for 59¢!
No, actually, it was tagged at $75. Its serial number, UB-98322, identifies it as a Varsity model and dates it at 1939.
Not a very interesting machine, aside from its shift key for a shop on "Mad. Ave." in New York City. (I peeked on Google Street View; 624 Madison Avenue is a glassy postwar skyscraper that probably postdares the installation of this cute little ad.)
Here's an item for only $6 -- an empty Underwood case.
Well, I had 15 minutes left to get back to my daughter's birthday party, just enough. It was time to leave.
I was heading for the exit when I was brought up short by this:
A Coxhead DSJ (Differential Spacing-Justifying) Varityper. I have never seen one in person before, and like Robert Messenger, I've been curious. $120? ... Um ...... I'll take it!
The machine is now in my trunk, awaiting attention. The tag says it doesn't work, but we'll see about that, once I've thoroughly cleaned it. There's a nice set of type shuttles in the drawer under the keyboard. I'm excited to dig into this device and educate myself. I currently have this '30s Varityper in my collection, but the DSJ is a whole new level of complexity. Wish me luck!