In the spirit of Adwoa's jealousy-inducing trips to well-stocked Swiss flea markets, I thought I'd celebrate my self-restraint and post some of the local machines that have been coming up on our local Craigslist and have not come home with me. The moral here is "you can't save them all (but you'll want to.)"
This monster shows up under a "RARE ITEMS TO BARTER" heading, which is never encouraging. Rare-ness is only partially true, in my opinion: the seller usually thinks it means "worth a lot of money" whereas I see it as "you don't see them very often any more, but they were made by the tens of thousands." Rarer still is the desk that could accommodate that wide carriage.
Another wide-carriage monster, which has those oh-so-desirable keys that send crafters into fits. I already have four standard machines -- four! -- and honestly don't have room for them all. Two of those four are Royals, and at this point I've pledged that the only other one I'll consider bringing in is an Olympia SG1.
Like Adwoa and her sewing machines, sometimes you see the same old friends pop up over and over. This old IBM electric comes up every month or two. The seller isn't sure that it works any more, and electrics as a rule scare me a bit. I saw one of these in person once: it was an impressively heavy piece of machinery. Now I know why all the mid-century office desks where made of heavy-duty steel -- they had to be.
This photo pains me the most, as it was a last-second "all of these will go to the dump tomorrow!" post. In the shadows on the left... do you see it? Yes, it's an Olympia SM3 case. Sigh. Those machines are my favorite portables, which is evident by the fact that I own... three? four? I'm not even sure, which shows how far the sickness has progressed. Sadly, this is a couple of cities over from my own, and I don't have time to battle the traffic and head out there to rummage.
I did save one of my own SM3s from a similar curbside fate a few years ago, and it was well worth it. I am consoling myself with the lie that it's probably a rusted old heap although I know it's not.
This is one of a series of lovely photos of this machine: the seller did their homework and lists the likely correct year of this machine as a 1938. So pretty! Also: so expensive! For a while they were asking around $350 for this. Egad. I have nearly the same machine, bought for less than a tenth of that price. Mine also has the hinky Royal left-margin issue and a crumbling ribbon-advance gear. Lovely to look at, I'll grant you that.
One last one to share: this isn't a Craigslist posting, but is in fact my own sighting, a two-tone Underwood "Quiet Tab De Luxe" in pretty good shape at my local thrift store. This is very tempting, especially on the heels of all those machines seen above. I'm hoping some soul will come across it and adopt it, as it's in good shape, types evenly, and even has some bits of ephemera with it (cleaning brush, manual, touch-typing guide.) And if not? Well, maybe I will need to find room for it, in celebration of ITAM and in tribute to the ones that got away.