Sunday, March 30, 2014

The journey to Greensburg

Indiana Highway 46 -- a quiet, rolling drive so much better than the Interstate it parallels:

A Greensburg landmark: the tower tree that grows on top of the Decatur County courthouse.

Like most midwestern county seats, Greensburg has an attractive square around the courthouse, lined with small businesses.

A few blocks away is Jackson Office Equipment:

In a large shed behind the now-empty store, the machines are arranged on shelves.

Notice the device glimpsed at the bottom of the picture below. It's an early electronic calculator with a round display screen. It's in pieces.

I wanted to save all of these machines, but of course I couldn't. After making my selection, I headed back on Route 46, passing through Batesville.

"You Can't Beat Batesville":

A major local industry is coffinmaking.

So what did I rescue?

These are my backseat passengers.

There's a Smith-Corona Super-Speed that seems to work like a charm despite decades of neglect.

I saved this Remington 17 because I just like the action so much.

This was an exciting acquisition: a Victor adder with streamlined bakelite housing. I've wanted one of these for some time. After taking this picture I cleaned it up. It looks gorgeous and runs fine. I'll post more pictures on the blog eventually.

I grabbed this little Remington Rand adder even though it's probably frozen and has no value.
Behind it is a rusty Oliver 9 that was brought over by the local retired Royal repairman who donated my parts cabinets. My garage is becoming a hoarder's paradise ...

I also grabbed this cute little checkwriter adder.

I couldn't resist saving the R. C. Allen Visomatic. I'm fond of these typewriters even though they seem to attract filth like magnets. This thing looks quite foul, but I hope it will clean up OK.

Quiz: can you identify the manufacturers of the typewriters in these cases?

If you find your heart bleeding for the remaining doomed machines, and if you're within driving distance of Greensburg, Indiana, call Bob Jackson now at 812-663-2156.


  1. hmmn, plastic SCM case, Remington-Rand, Skyriter, Corona 3, Hermes Baby?

  2. Really nice trup. Wish I still lived in the North.
    SCM,Royal or Reimingotn, '49 or '50 Skyriter, I agree with Ted, Corona 3, The last one looks older than a Baby, maybe an old Featherweight.

    Great looking Victor adding machine.

  3. Very nice to see these images of the country, evocative :) That railroad luggage carriage looks like it's been watercolored into the landscape.
    To follow on the Remington-Rand case; given its proportions, is that a Noiseless?
    (Was that an early Electric Typewriter Company machine on the top shelf?)

    1. I think you mean an Electromatic -- yes.

      I'll let a few more people speculate on the cases before I give the answers.

  4. Don't know if I could have resisted the mutt & jeff on the shelves: the gigundo S-C 8-20 and the early Hermes Baby/Featherweight.

    Regarding the cases, I'l lgo with: S-C, Underwood, Skyriter, Corona 3 or 4, first design Hermes Baby/Featherweight.

  5. Great pictures from the road. I very much like the rain-enhanced feeling of solitude and desolation. Quite a few nice machines there too :)

  6. Remington Noiseless, Halberg Junior, Corona Four, Hermes Baby/Featherweight.
    Great sentimental trip, thanks for doing, and sharing.

  7. I have NO idea how you made the choice! It reminds me of a philosophical 'which do you pick...' conundrum, so you are well qualified. I think I enjoyed the road trip more than you did but the salvage is worth it and I'm sure WordPlay will make excellent use of a bakelite adding machine :-)

    1. Oh, I enjoyed the trip, slightly melancholy though it was. We all need a little rain in our lives.

      And I'm keeping that adder!

      I find myself wishing that I'd saved the big green Royal Electress ... and the big '60s Remington ... and the funny yellow-and-white Smith-Corona electric that looks like a toy ... but I'm happy with the experience. This was like a dream.

  8. Those are some nice machines. What would it take for me to get that Remington 17?

  9. Quite a haul. I look forward to seeing these.

  10. This is a great read, thanks for sharing. I can just imagine how it must have been a hard selection.Those adders look amazing, the Victor especially.

  11. What a poignant post - sad in a way but joyful to read of the rescue of at least some machines.
    I like the shop sign... that fortress like arrangement of the Boss's desk, on which there sits that monster of technology, the 19" CRT screen.
    And is that a little Speed-o-Print mimeo I can see on the floor of the first shelves photo?
    And on another bottom shelf, what looks like a CT ammonia type copier...
    I just can't imagine how you were able to contain your choices ..
    thank you for sharing.

  12. Looks like a very nice trip, despite the rainy weather.

    I did see a Selectric I in those photos---wonder if it was in working condition? Most likely not but would be a wonderful machine for us Selectric enthusiasts.

    It's always a little sad to see a shop like Mr. Jackson's. But who knows, maybe we'll see some new shops open in the future. I'd LOVE to do that. I can't imagine more fun than working on and talking to customers about these old magnificent machines.


  13. Great photos of the surrounding area and what an exciting prospect it must have been. Those poor wedges ...

  14. OK, here are the answers to the case quiz. There were some very good guesses; you guys know your typewriters! I cheated a bit because some of the cases are actually empty.

    From left to right, they are: Smith-Corona Classic 12 (probably a parts machine); empty Remington case (but I also got an Underwood Noiseless portable in a very similar case); Skyriter; Corona 3 (empty case, but I also got a Corona 4 in a case); and Hermes Featherweight.

  15. Sad to read the shop is closing. Thought the typewriter insurgency was going strong enough to keep them all in business. But apparently not (yet).

  16. I wonder if Mr. Jackson would be willing to sell some of his typewriters online?

    I have my eye on that avocado-green Electress, but I live much too far away from him to pick it up.