I received a new toy in the post today. Well. It’s clearly not new. But hey, I haven’t used a typewriter since tapping the keys of my mum’s 1960’s Olivetti Lettera 32, back in the eighties. So to me it’s as good as new.
And it seems to be working fine so far. But I must say that ‘tapping’ is hardly the correct description to use in reference to pressing down the keys of a vintage typewriter. If one merely taps on a key one can barely get the key to make contact with the ribbon. ‘Bashing’ is more apt. Perhaps before modern computers, smart phones and pads, tapping was an acceptable word. Before we really new what it was like to literally tap out a few words with our fingers.
Today after testing the keys to make sure they truly are in working order, I announced to my mum (via a tapped out text message on my smart phone): ‘How you ever typed fast on a typewriter is beyond me’. Mum could type fast. Lightning-fast it appeared to me when I was a two-finger-tapping…make that ‘bashing’…youngster.
Anyway, I didn’t make my new purchase to assist with my typing speed. I decided I’d like to use a typewriter to produce little labels for some of the softies and such that I create. I thought genuine typewritten cards would be a nice touch. As opposed to just using a computer typewriter font and printing them.
So I’ve been searching online lately and eventually found this Olympia Splendid, apparently from the 1970’s. I didn’t pay much for it. I bid on ebay and was the lucky winner. But golly gosh. I could have paid lots and lots for an old typewriter. During my recent typewriter quest I discovered that people will pay big money for old typewriters. Even if the machines are not in working order. Antique stores, online or not, seem to charge no less than $100 for anything from the 70’s or older. Mostly closer to $200, and of course the asking prices go well above that especially for any that hail from the first half of the 20th century. On ebay it’s easier to snap a bargain, but most of the starting bids for vintage typewriters are set at $60 or more! Plus delivery. I settled for something that was still clutching on to it’s youth, and in working order. But without an exorbitant fee.
There’s something really appealing to me about vintage typewriter typeset. The imperfection. The rawness. The nostalgia. And to enrich this appeal is the existence now of different coloured typewriter ribbons. My excitement on discovering not only green and blue but pink…yes!..and purple…no?!…was perhaps a slight overreaction! But isn’t that brilliant?!!
My intention was to type out this post on my splendid new typewriter. And then scan it. I thought it would look quite cool. But the problem is a typewriter wasn’t intended to use when everyone else in the house (particularly easily woken babies) is asleep. And when everyone else in the house is asleep happens to be the only chance I have to write my blog posts (without distraction). I also wanted to finish the post before the end of the year. So I had to settle for the above photo.
I might just become an obsessive vintage typewriter collector yet. Like this fellow in Canberra. Amazing.
But for now I’m going to get re-acquainted with an old friend. Not that old, really. But old enough to be vintage. Just like me. I think we’ll be happy with each other.