Thursday, June 5, 2008

Retail therapy

I've had the best luck at Goodwill, defining "luck" as "tripping over typewriters." Today was a rare day in that I was actually dropping off stuff rather than shopping for stuff. And isn't that always the way...

20080605 typecast
Olivander writes a test-poem, I run through the keys on an index card.

When you least expect it, bang. Fate clubs you one in the kisser. I've been looking with envy at, resigning myself to the likely fact that any machine won there involves the added gamble of interstate shipping, something that still foils many collectors on eBay. Tot up the winner cost + shipping charges, and suddenly that $7 bargain machine costs $40 or more, and since I can't do the usual ritual of try-before-you-buy, I've been wary. None of the participating stores on the web site are anywhere near me.

As I bent down to drop off the box of clothes, I caught the unmistakeable shape of a typewriter case. A quick peek, and off to the registers, tally ho! Inside:
  • Olivetti-Underwood Studio 44, a twin to the one pictured on Will Davis' site
  • A small paper bag containing a ribbon purchased twenty years ago from the now defunct local typewriter service place
  • The original? brushes
  • An eraser shield and eraser
Initial impressions:
  • It's freaking huge for a portable, and heavy, too. Will says that these are sometimes called "semi-portable" and I can see why. Once the adrenaline rush wore off, lugging it is a chore.
  • The case is fuzzy inside. Not mold-fuzzy, but soft-fuzzy. Fabric-lined, and powder blue. Wild.
  • Obviously a yard-sale leftover, as it's still sporting a "$10" sticker on the ribbon cover. Arrgh. Goodwill does not honor other people's prices, though to be fair, I snatched it from the donation section.
  • Giddy, giddy, giddy. My .com envy has been abated for now.
UPDATE: Zsa Zsa's first portrait.


Monda said...

This never happens to me, at least no with an Olivetti. I'm beginning to think they just weren't sold down here in the south.

Lucky, lucky man.

mpclemens said...

I'd trade some of that luck to be located close to a shop like Acme, though. The typewriter place in Berkeley -- though highly recommended -- keeps very limited hours and charges about $75 just for a cleaning. I feel like I'm not doing some of these machines justice with my clumsy fumbling.

Monda said...

Seventy-five dollars.


I could have three typewriters cleaned, repaired, and wound with fresh ribbon for that.

I'd love to have a Studio 44, though. They're gorgeous and i understand they type like a dream.

mpclemens said...

I should say that they /start/ at $75. Acme-style servicing has been quoted to me at $100. Seriously.

And so, I dabble at cleaning and minor repairs.

Strikethru said...

Yes, it costs me over $100 at my typewriter shop here in Washington, and no ribbon included. Thus, my beautiful Quiet De Luxe still sits dusty and clogged with eraser shavings.


mpclemens said...

Strikethru, if the Quiet De Luxe has a bottom on it, just unscrewing it should let fly many years' worth of eraser bits from the innards. With the bottom off, a can of compressed air, or a hair dryer on a "cool" setting should work to get the other loose gunk out.

I plan to de-bottom the Studio 44 soon, and expect a lot to fall out of there. Following up with a little brushing with some clean artists' brushes, and lubricating the key pieces with this:

I would love to have the machines professionally serviced, but since I keep picking up MORE (sigh) that particular budget item is out of reach.