Monday, February 15, 2021

The continuing saga of the “Govrland"

Seen on eBay this morning:

Cool T-shirt, huh? Yes ... except that the typewriter looks so darn weird. What is that huge structure in front of the platen?

I know the answer, of course. This is yet another representation of a fake typewriter made in China, originally designed as a crude imitation of a Gourland. This silly thing has taken many forms over the years, even appearing as a tattoo on the skin of some hapless person who has obviously never used a real typewriter.

I'll take it as yet another sign of the enduring appeal of typewriters ... but I do wish artists would bother to do a little more research before they create yet another iteration of a phony.

PS: "Sincerily"?

Monday, February 8, 2021


Two neat typewriters from 1939 just dropped in my lap. 

This Remington was donated to WordPlay Cincy by a local woman. It had been in her brother-in-law's family for generations. She was glad to drop it off on my porch (social distancing!) and I promised her it would go to a good cause.

You might say it doesn't look like it was made in 1939, and you'd be right—it doesn't. That's because it was clearly refurbished in the 1950s, getting a modern tan (or gray, once I clean it?) wrinkle finish and a '50s Remington Rand logo. But here's what it originally must have looked like:

You can tell the early Remington no. 17s by the two little panels on top that flip up to provide ribbon access. All of these machines date from 1939. On later no. 17s, the whole top plate lifts off easily.

In case you're wondering, here's what the inside of the right flip-up panel says (it's just the same on the machine I just got).

As for my other recent acquisition, it turned on eBay a couple of days ago (with the typo "PortableTypewriter" in the title). It was a Buy It Now for under $100 (a pretty small fraction of its market value). It was in Ohio, so it got to me quickly. It came with a user's manual like this one, with the original owner's name typed on it. (An obituary tells me that he served in the South Pacific in WWII and lived to the age of 94.)

This beauty is fully functional. It just needs a little cleaning and new feet. I haven't added any typewriters to my personal collection for a while, so I'm tempted to keep this one side by side with my black and green Champions.

1939: horrible year for war and politics, good year for typewriters.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021


No deep thoughts here today—just delight at the results of an Instagram search.