Write me a letter




... or e-mail me at polt@xavier.edu.

24 comments:

  1. My uncle was Norman Saksvig and my family inherited his chrome-plated Smith Corona typewriter. I still have the top-most piece of his world championship trophy - a brass scrulpture (trophies were better back then). I keep this item above my piano. Norman loved my piano playing. In the sixties after he passed away my mother also inherited his 1959 Impala convertible - white with red leather interior. I was permitted to drive this car as my own for a couple of years until my parents sold it. Wish I still had the typewriter and car!

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    1. Thanks for your interesting story!

      I believe you left a similar comment here:
      http://writingball.blogspot.com/2011/01/tips-to-typists-from-smith-corona.html

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  2. Just to add to your typewriter repair shop list, is Dennis Johnson at Precision Office Machines, 115 5th Ave So. #100, Lacrosse, Wisconsin 54601. His cell # is 608 386-1796, and e-mail denjohn@gmail.com. He's a very nice man, still repairs typewriters, and is reasonably priced.
    Thank you for all you do for our passionate community! Don- in southwest Wisconsin

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    1. I was in Wagner's Office Machines in Chicago in early Decermber. They were to be closing in a week or two at the South Pulaski location, but moving out to a nearby suburb off Route 83 and I 55. They wont have a store front per se, but will have an office. They'll be reachable at their same phone #
      773 - 581 - 4111 They have been in business since 1912, so I asked if they were related to Franz Wagner of "Underwood" fame, but he said no. They do have the original style spools, and ribbon for the classic Royal typewriters! They're 25.00, but available for those who need them. Thanks again for your contributions to our community!!

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  3. Boy was I tempted a couple of days ago. www.shopgoodwill.com had a SCM 12 electric portable (with manual carriage return and backspace), for $4.95 opening bid, and no takers. It was in Knoxville, so freight would have added about $22 for me. But what attracted me: it was Italic type! I've always wanted a typewriter with script, but after getting a script element for my Selectric, I've decided it is too much. I want something sort of personal and informal, but easy to read. Unfortunately I don't have room for another typewriter. This one I would want someplace where I could have it ready for typing a short note or envelope.

    Back in May when you were in Tampa, you took pictures of a ?? Princess. But what caught my notice, was a smart looking LED table lamp, with a thin shade, on a slanting, swiveling post. After much searching, I found it at www.ylighting.com, for $399!. I couldn't believe that a hotel would spend that for a lamp that could walk out the door, even at a 50% discount. The cheapest I could find it was $289 or something. That room must have been expensive.

    But it made that Princess look good.

    I enjoy your blog immensely. Don't ever give it up.

    Phil (Phoenix)

    (Let me know if you ever decide to trade your Vari-Typer)

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    1. Thanks, Phil! Yes, italic machines are cool -- and pretty hard to find.

      Maybe the hotel got a great deal on a truckload of lamps?

      "Don't have room for another typewriter"? Balderdash! There is always room for Just One More.

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    2. I thought in the last twenty or so years, that the typewriter has finally died, and that typewriter hobbyists like me would take our places alongside the blacksmiths and carriage drivers. But to my delight, I find that the typewriter preservation movement is very much alive and well. I have been a typewriter hobbyist for 35 years, and have seen a great deal in the world of these fascinating machines--and hope to see a great deal more. I could tell stories about the rare typewriters I've owned (and let get away), strange ways I've gotten a few of my machines (one turns 100 this year!), and all the typewriter mechanics I've met over the years (one guy's business sign hangs in my bedroom). I'm not sure just how I got into typewriter repair and restoration, but I think when I got jealous of my sister's ten-year birthday present (a toy typewriter), and whenever I took apart Maw's typewriter is when it happened. Anyway, long live the typewriter!!! I'll try to happen along here and again to share a story or two.

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  4. Hi Richard. I was thinking of getting a typewriter and came across your blog. I have a more modern electric typewriter (340 Correctronic), but I'd really like to get a mechanical typewriter. I've been looking at ebay, but I'm totally clueless and I have no idea if any typewriter I purchased untested would be salvageable. I definitely want something that works. I saw that you are located in Cincinnati and I was wondering if you have typewriters for sale? I'm only up in Mason, so not a far trip.

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    1. Hi Leigh. Yes! I restore typewriters for sale through The Urban Legend Institute in Northside, a shop that supports the nonprofit WordPlay Cincy. Send me an e-mail and I can provide more details (polt@xavier.edu).

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  5. I came across an issue of this magazine (The Typewriter Topics), which just shows how intensive were the typewriting news in 1907 - dozens of pages! Enjoy it scanned-free on the Google Books here:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=EHdQAAAAYAAJ&dq=blickensderfer%20typewriter&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

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    1. Thanks! I actually have several digital volumes of this publication. It makes for very interesting reading.

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  6. Hi! This might be a long shot, but do you have any idea what spool an Underwood 142 (portable) would take? Only, I dug out an old typewriter that hasn't got a spool, and I have no clue which to buy because (for some reason) the Underwood 142 has zero information on it anywhere! Thanks!

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    1. Hi there. The Underwood 142 was made by Olivetti and needs a ribbon spool specifically for Olivetti. It should be a half-inch-wide ribbon with eyelets on the end. One good source is Baco Ribbons, bacoribbon@sbcglobal.net. I hope you have the nuts that screw down to hold the ribbon spools on; if not, look for some nuts at a hardware store that will fit onto the shafts.

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  7. Hi there I really like your blog. I remember typing a lot of letters and essays on my mum's manual white portable machine from the mid-1970s onwards. This was in Europe and I think it was an Olympia with a very nice font - slightly smaller and more rounded and stylised than standard Courier-type fonts. The machine itself had a fairly upright shape and it stood out against the very flat looking funky portable ones that became popular in the 1970s, but it was still a portable in a carry case with removable lid. I think the machine body was made of plastic. If anyone knows what model that may have been I would appreciate knowing it (or based on the description of the font, has a suggestion which other make and model it could have been - the font is quite distinctive).

    I very recently bought a 1965 Facit TP2 for $10 for my daughter who fell in love with it. It needs repairing but I have found a local guy.

    As an aside, it was as recent as five years ago that I remember still needing a typewriter for certain legal forms (which are now all online). So it took a long time for typewriters to be totally removed from offices - much longer than people realise.

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    1. Thanks for your interesting comment. At my university, some forms still must be filled out on paper, which I'm happy to do with one of my handy typewriters.

      A TP2 for $10 is a real steal!

      It might be that your mum's machine was an Olympia SM8 or SM9, but they have metal bodies.

      You might find the typeface here:
      http://munk.org/typecast/2011/04/23/1964-nomda-blue-book-olympia-font-styles/

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    2. Thank you for your quick reply. The Olympia SM8 looks very close to what I remember so maybe it was metal after all. The closest typeface to my memory is Senatorial No. 71 but I would have to dig up an old letter to see. I liked it a lot.

      The TP2 (green) is definitely in used condition but it does have the original carrycase which still locks and the handle is sturdy. The whole thing cost me about US$7 ($10 local currency). The repair guy said it would probably be about US$35 to get it going. Even if it was double that, I'm pretty chuffed.

      Any recommended products or handy tips on how to clean the black leather-look vinyl carrycase and what to use on the rusted clasps?

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    3. Scrubbing Bubbles works well to clean cases like that. On the clasps, I would try superfine steel wool.

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  8. I've read a comment of yours that you have repainted typewriters. I'm repainting a Skyriter. Can you advise what kind of paint to use? Paint by spray can (limited colours) or dip (too heavy a coat) or roller? Primer first? A sealant? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. Essentially, you remove the body panels, strip the paint (or just sand it a bit if you don't mind the remaining texture), apply primer, and apply the color. A clear coat on top of that can be nice. I use spray paint; you can find many colors at a hobby store. Be sure to give each coat enough time to dry.

      There are more tips and ideas in Chapter 7 of my book. Enjoy!

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  9. Hi Richard! My name is Iker and my from the south of Spain . I've loved typewriters since i was a child .The past year , with 17 (Today 18) my interest in typewriters returned to my mind incredibly stronger than afterwards. I bought a second hand typewriter called Olympiette de-luxe, but it was poorly made and didn't type well. this year I bought a brand new ( i found one , and pretty cheap) Olivetti Studio 46 typewriter. its wonderful but I have to find two little metal cilinders that are missing from the carriage and that are allowed to select the fast space key or something. I'm about to buy your book this summer. My english is not as good as I would like to but if there are not too many technicisms I think I'll manage to read it. The point is (I'm planning to buy an Olivetti Lettera 42 , less heavy) that I've seen that royal is still selling brand new ( I love braqnd new typewriters ) , like the Royal Epoch or Royal Epoch Escrittore II... My question is , as I've read a bad critic from you to this machine at your blog, if there is any other place where I can buy or where can I find bran new typewriters , with high quality ( with spanish keyboard , for sure). Is there any project out there to take our beloved machine back to the factories?
    Kind regards from spain

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    1. Hi Iker, Thanks for writing. I think the new Nakajima typewriters are very good, if you like electronic daisy-wheel machines. But there are no new manual typewriters of high quality. Is it possible in the future? Maybe ... I speculate about this question in the final chapter of my book. ¡Espero que te guste!

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