Saturday, July 27, 2013

London miscellany and “Populaire” review

London: a twenty-first-century city haunted by many ghosts ...

... including the ghosts of typewriters ...

(seen in a Soho storefront)

Modern architecture in London includes some winners and losers. The Shard (left, finished thought it looks unfinished) is the city's highest building, currently mostly empty.

One place where 21st-century architecture is particularly on view is the south side of the Thames. This composite panorama shows both sides of the river, photographed from the Millennium Bridge, a pedestrian bridge. (Click to enlarge, but it's still not very big. If you want the really big size, e-mail me with a request.)

In the evening, the Thames can be magical.

This morning I went to the famous Portobello Road, which is a good place for antiques on Saturday mornings (get there before 10 to avoid the worst crowds). The scene below is more impressive when you realize that each entrance leads not to just one shop, but to an arcade or gallery holding a variety of booths, sometimes on several levels -- an intricate warren of vendors.

Items for sale include lots of glass, porcelain, books, and cameras:

Typewriters? Not so much, although this gentleman was selling two Good Companions for a stiff £125 apiece.

Other sightings included a Petite toy, an understroke Remington (probably no. 6 or 7), a Royal 10, and a Scheidegger Princess-Matic like mine.

And now the movie review:

The Cincy Typing Challenge this month marked the 125th anniversary of a legendary contest in Cincinnati that pitted Frank McGurrin (Remington 2) against Louis Traub (Caligraph). McGurrin's victory proved the advantages of having a shift key. The event included a typewriter display with machines from Herman Price's collection, my collection, and WordPlay; showings of "The Typewriter (In the 21st Century)"; and contests on typewriters, computers, phones, and the new TrewGrip mobile QWERTY keyboard, whose makers sponsored the contest.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed Portobello though I visited during my pre-typewriter years.

    Nice Scheidegger, that one looks beige rather than the more common grey. I'm curious how much it was going for.

    What a bonus that you saw Populaire.

  2. Too bad the understrike Remington is so far away... that's a kind of machine I have in my list, but sadly it's quite unlikely I'll ever see in the flesh around here. For all that I've been able to find, typewriters arrived in Mexico in the first decade of the 20th century or so; so we did have some early models (with Spanish keyboards and all!) like the Remington 10, the L.C. Smiths, and the Oliver, but alas, blind typers are very, very rare down here.

    Nevermind the good companions... you got me there with those luggage trunks! The larger ones, like the one labeled "cabin", were probably made of wood and covered in fine leather, with brass hardware. Those would be the kind of trunks one carried in the back of the early cars and into the ship's cabin, and would make some really nice, really sturdy and really decorative typewriter storage units, IMHO.

    And that vintage camera stand is also a feast for the eyes!

    See? I've just added a couple more places to visit during my lifetime.

  3. That movie has cast a little spell on me - which I hope I'll be able to reveal soon... :)