Thanks for linking to my story! Strangely enough, most of the typewriters in my collection seem to have suffered from a lifetime of loveless neglect-- they seem hardly used! One exception is my 40's era Hermes Rocket, which has its Hermes logo rubbed off from wear, and someone's name ink-penned on the ribbon cover, which the last seller tried diligently to buff away. It does have a certain watchlike smoothness that my other machines lack.I think you are right that it is these previous owners and their inferred histories that imbue the typewriter with its soul.
I think it's telling that one of the first things your niece did was decorate the machine. I suppose the modern tech equivalent is custom ring tones or vinyl skins for your iPod. Although neither our phones or music players will last like a typewriter, we still want to dress them up and make them a reflection of our own sense of style. Old typewriters and cameras and such have the benefit of being built much better, and so have earned their distinctiveness solely by the virtue of having survived.
Well said, Mike. I think this is what I was feeling when I hauled my latest find (the Remington Standard) across the street and into my home. The fact that it was a smooth typer and a substantial machine is great; what really made it valuable to me is its history as a long-term resident of my tiny village's post office.
I like to see others articulate some of these things I've thought about. I was wondering the other day what had become of a pair of old binoculars that I used to use when I was young. The black paint was beginning to wear away in places to show the brass underneath. My grandfather was a naturalist and I think they belonged to him. If so it would be a thrill to use them again - I should ask my dad.
This is why all my typewriters have names. There's serious residual mojo left in the machines and I find more in the script machines than any others. When I find a new tyewriter, I sit at the table with it and let it tell me what to type - a little like palm reading - until I find that sweetspot and the machine's muse takes over. Strangely enough, I've not yet met one with a masculine vibe. That's why I don't have a collection - it's a harem.
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