Monday 27 August 2012

A New Love??

Having spent a week making the dolls, I have had plenty of time to think about practical matters like how to label them. The idea that I wanted to use up some of the job lot of vintage postcards bought from eBay ages ago occurred to me. I don't want to hand write labels, or to print them with letters as these two methods would take ages and probably not be very satisfactory. I wondered about printing them in my printer, and probably could do this, but then a more exciting idea filtered into my brain. How about an old typewriter?Another excuse for browsing on eBay was born. It didn't take me long to find my prize, an Olympia Splendid 99, for a not too unreasonable price. It was delivered really quickly, and worked fine, and I was having fun trying out ideas when it stopped working. I rang a typewriter repair person-well-his daughter, who happens to live locally, and she said he would ring me back, but he didn't. I then worked out that it was probably the fact that the ribbon had run out. I am waiting for ribbon to arrive so have had to leave it. Then Andy reminded me that he has an old typewriter. I had not thought about this, so after a bit of hunting I unearthed it and had a go. The carriage was locked, but there was a lot of info on line about this one,(a Remington from about 1930) and I found out how to unlock it. Again the ribbon was pretty worn. I had fun looking at it and fiddling with all the little controls-they are such intricate machines, then put it away for now. Next I found this blog- (a very interesting blog, not just about typewriters!) and was fascinated with how many typewriters seem to be available at flea markets and charity shops in Switzerland. Not so here I thought, not being able to remember ever seeing one for sale anywhere. There are loads on eBay, and quite a lot of them are quite expensive. By this time the typewriter thing was becoming more than a means to an end. The whole world of typewriters was becoming fascinating. They are beautiful looking objects as well as a practical ones. I like the names too. I bid on a beautiful German model which thankfully I didn't win, as it went to £62!
 The Olympia Splendid 99
 The Remington Compact

 The Olivetti Lettera 22
 The side profiles of all three machines.
 Names and information.
The Olivetti is an Italian design, but was manufactured in Glasgow. I think it is from around 1962. The Olympia is from about 1965.
Anyway, back to the tale of the typewriters. The next stage in my new obsession was the sudden desire to go to fresh junk hunting grounds-in other words-boot fairs! I found a great website showing all the boot fairs in London, and decided on one in Pimlico. I arrived at 11.30. By 12.00 I had bought not only a typewriter, but some lovely and very cheap yarn, a 1920s photograph of a lady called Miss Chummie La Mara, a small brown suitcase which was just the right size to fill a gap in my graduated pile of them, and the most beautiful little teapot I have ever seen, silver (plated) and round like a ball. The yarn was the first buy, then, only two stalls further on I spotted the typewriter. I wisely pressed a key, to see if the ribbon mechanism raised the ribbon like on my Olympia. It did. I enquired as to the price. The lady directed me to another lady who was selling the typewriter. 'I don't know' she said, 'how much would you like to pay for it?' '£5' I said, adding one more to make it £6 as she looked as if five wasn't enough. The first lady provided me with a Harrods carrier bag in which to bring home my very heavy new friend, and I went round the rest of the market very quickly, feeling very pleased with myself. I didn't get it out of the bag all day, as I was busy finishing my dolls. When I did I saw that the ribbon was not in the mechanism. I managed to get the top off, and carefully re-thread the ribbon into the little clips. Then I found how to detach the ribbon, sorted out a bit of a tangle underneath the spool, mended the ribbon with a small amount of tape (like they used to do with sound tapes and films), put it back on, and, hey presto-it works! After all this I looked up this make and model, an Olivetti Lettera 22-loads on eBay-mostly pretty expensive. I found this interesting article about it, (link below) the designers, and special features. It does not have a 1 as you can use the lower case letter l to make it. Some of them don't have a 0, but mine does. I love it!  But oh dear, not another collection. Something is going to have to go, maybe, one day, or not...
Olivetti Lettera 22 Typewriter

Here is the teapot!


Serenata said...

Wonderful! I have to laugh at how quickly a collection can happen...have fun won't you?!

Queenie Believe said...

Me thinks you have become besotted and entranced by the lure of typewriters. I'm of an age that remembers having to draft many a paper on a typewriter. They are wonderful machines...
The other day while window shopping on Etsy I ran across typewriters and/or just the key sets which were adapted and wired to work as keyboards for computers... Quite fun.
Have a great day.
Always, Queenie

Sarah said...

Yes, collections just appear!
I like the sound of reworked keypads-fun!
I remember using my Mum's typewriters, both mechanical and electric-more playing than serious work. When I was first at university word processing as it was called then, using computers was fairly new. How things have changed!
I asked my Mum about her old typewriter the other day- she took it to the top about a year ago!

Sarah said...

Tip I mean!

Leenie said...

I can understand your interest in typewriters. They are fascinating mechanical gadgets full of craftsmanship and moving parts all there for you to see and fiddle with--not stashed away in some mysterious hard case like computing and communicating devices. Looks like you came up with a fine one. Love the teapot too.

Linda Sue said...

Ribbon is tricky- finding ribbon for my old typewriter became such a hassle I tried to re-ink the existing ribbon and failed...then we had the flood and I guess Mr. Man thought it had to go in the bin. Damn!
Love a good typewriter! and your little chubby pot is adorable. I , of course, have Pimlico envy...

Carole Reid said...

If it weren't for us collectors all these treasures would be in the dump (tip?)! Good work, treasure collector and saviour!

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh, how quickly did your new collection start to form..
Love the old typewriters, good spotting.

Elizabeth said...

I think you are becoming the fleamarket queen!
Good hunting!
I much prefer a computer having written a whole novel on a typewriter......and making lots and lots of errors.
I love people who have obsessions and follow them up!

Shell said...

This is really cool that your into typewriters. I have fond memories of using typewriters in school and writing stories on when I was in my middle and high school.
As much as I love my little laptop, there is something beautifully romantic about typing away on a typewriter.

Rattling On said...

I once heard Tom Hanks on the radio, he collects typewriters- and buys them on ebay as well! I used to have a very old one and the writing was wonky and really expressive.