Sunday 10 March 2013

So... do you type-in here often?

It was a glorious Sunday morning, but I was feeling in far from magnificent form. I crawled out of bed with aching muscles, and a rather sore head. I was very tired after the week's adjustment to my new (old) job.

I caught up with some of the activity from the Typosphere online, while listening to the congregation of the Samoan community church about half a block away as they belted out harmonies that instantly made me feel I was on a tropical island somewhere. I then cooked up a breakfast and got some typewriters ready.

Mr Pinky Beecroft was the first to be added to the pile. He's a pink Lettera 22 which I've been readying as a gift to 'Baroness'. My friend Mars had made a tentative gesture that she was interested in coming, so I picked out my Script Royalite 220 for her. I then rounded off my collection with my chrome Royal, which was going to be its debut outing.

I thought I could bluff my way past the tiredness. But after looking at both Robert's photos, and others taken by Ms Jane I realised that I probably didn't carry off 'tired' with the grace and elegance that I thought I had.

Not to worry.

I got to the Breakfast creek hotel at a time approaching about 1:30. Loaded with typewriters and other bits, I did a quick cursory look around the hotel to find the museum room - but didn't quite seem to find it. As it turned out, I had. My understanding was that we'd had the room booked for just us. But they had shuffled in a few extra plastic tables - which were filled by patrons of the pub having their lunch. Some of which turned out to be Rob Messenger, John and Margaret. (I hope I got that spelling correct)

The pub was mostly standing room only. It was the first cool but sunny day that we'd had for a month, and the hoteliers were scrambling to find enough space to put everyone in the massive complex. People were fighting (politely) over parking spots in the car park - not to mention every disabled parking spot had been filled by cars that were missing the requisite sticker.

There was a little anxiety at first about setting out our machines in what appeared to be a room of the bar. But by the time I had laid out my three machines, and a few other people had put theirs on the table, it was pretty obvious that we were dominating the room.

Other patrons around us started to look confused, and oddly anxious themselves as we set up our glistening writing machines on the table. But they soon relaxed, and in fact some of them even came over and tried a few of them out!

I helped John get a handful of his machines out from the back of his car, and as I did a lady drove past me and called my name. I turned around and was greeted by a smiling face. "I'm Kate"! she said.

Kate drove off to find a parking spot, while I carried in Johns Visigraph machine. I walked through the complex with this heavy but beautiful piece of machinery cradled in my arms, while people gazed at me in surprise as I passed them. The looks were priceless.

Before long Steve Snow turned up with a handful of machines. He carefully placed a Corona 3 and a Corona 4 on the table, before unzipping a mushroom Lettera 22 that was in excellent condition, which he sat next to Mr Pinky Beecroft.

Kate had a small case on wheels, which she extracted a lovely Royal Deluxe out of. The machine still clung to the dust of its many years, but was actually in much better condition than the difficult to clean crinkle paint let on. The machine felt snappy and tight, and would probably scrub up to be an amazing little machine. But in its current state it was a charming machine. I'd never quite seen one line it before.

At the other end of the bench John's astonishingly beautiful Royal 5 flatbed was ruling the roost. This machine is in amazing condition. ...and someone had just slotted in a piece of paper. I couldn't help myself. I had wanted to try one of these for a very long time, and I have to say - I wasn't disappointed.

Definitely the Queen Royal, flanked by the prince and princess. 

John's Visigraph was also attracting a lot of attention. I myself had never seen a machine setup so beautifully. It typed very well too - with the exception of the missing 'e' from the type-stub.

Between them say my Chrome Royal P. My chrome machine looked so small and insignificant between them. But its shiny looks made it an unmissable machine. The customised keys also attracted a lot of attention - but I'll tell you more about this machine at a later date. (i.e. when it is actually finished)

Mr Pinky Beecroft seemed to be the darling of the show to the women that wandered past. Most of the visitors that we had drop onto a chair and start typing, almost invariably gave Pinky a go. Sure - they also had a go at other machines, but Pinky was never  close to being lonely for most of the day. Which was odd... because he wasn't the best to type on.

Rino's Hermes 3000 was there too. The BMX tyre repair seemed to have worked beautifully on it. I'm even inclined to try it on a machine or two of my own now. Or at least, when I have the time. The keyboard was quite a surprise though, and Rino suggested that it was German. But I wasn't quite so sure. I'm going to have to do a bit more research on this.

The Royalite 220 surprised a lot of people, and I saw Rino giving it a go on several occasions. On the other hand, the Everest Mod 90 surprised me with its magnificent feel. I loved it! It was a great machine. However it sadly drew short of being perfect (in my opinion) with its awfully long arcing carriage lever.

A young blond lady sat down at Pinky, and asked if she could give him a go. "Sure"! We replied almost unanimously. The lady pressed down on a key and nothing seemed to happen, so I simply told her "Give that key a good hit. Don't be shy of it"!

And so she did, and she was off and writing.

Or at least until she asked "Where's the return key"?

People seemed to be largely enjoying themselves. I got to meet new people. They got to meet each other, and Steve got some great advice on how to fix his Smith Premier machine.

Rino and Kate were both very interesting to chat to. 

And I got a book! Rino left me with a copy of his "Song logic - essays in Music" - which a cursory look at gave me the feeling that it will intelligently accompany some of the themes introduced in Craig Schuftan's "Hey Nietzsche! Leave them kids alone" book that I'd read a little while ago. I'm looking forward to spending some time with it.


There was knitting..... 
* * *

We had a few people drop in from the outside bar, the inside bar, and the other bars - to take a look. Some of them were even brave enough to sit at the keyboards and give it a try. My initial anxiety about being in such an exposed area turned out to make the day all the more enjoyable.

Eventually we packed up our machines and headed home. I brought my car around along side Robert's in the quickly emptying car park, and transferred a few machines that Rob had picked up from Scienceworks into the boot of my car. A large family wandered by and a small army of heads turned. Pointing at and IBM Selectric a woman announced to her children "That's what we used for a computer when I was a kid". It must have been the Selectric, as I very much doubt it would have been the Remington 7 that I was holding between my arms at the time.

 We'd decided to make this an annual event, so those who missed out this year, all I can say is: don't be such a pussy, and come next year. Although, we're probably not going to have it in a pub next time.

Soon everyone had driven off into the sunset. Ms Jane and I returned inside and got ourselves a nice breakfast creek dinner,  and by the time I got home I was exhausted. I left home with 3 typewriters, and came back with 7. Carrying them up the stairs into my house almost proved my downfall - literally. But I was still too excited not to have a bit of a play with the Remington 7.

But that's another project for another day.


  1. What a fun type-in, thanks for sharing.

    Now that chrome Royal P is a scene stealer, I look forward to your post on it.

    1. Oh, it certainly got some interest. Hopefully I will have the finishing touches on it soon, so it will be ready to go.

  2. Yeah, that chrome Royal is a real head-turner (:

    1. Well, I've put a lot of work into it... believe me!

  3. It's great that you had so much fun at the type-in.

    That Royal Queen Royal is really neat.

    I too, look forward to a post from the Chrome P.

    Knitting. Perfect if Sophia from Knot Magick could have been there.

    1. Oh I don't think Sophia wanders into this blog very often - or even wanders over to Australia for that matter! That said, Ms Jane often checks out her blog.

  4. That's a great size and space for a type-in! Looks like a success! Thank you for posting on it.

  5. Well! It certainly wasn't a bad space in the end. A bit tight to move around, but largely a lot of fun.

  6. Scott, I love the font you used to re-do the keys on your Royal. I have a Royal portable of the same vintage as your lovely chromed one. It types well, with a nice art deco sans serif font, but the body paint is a wreck and the keys are faded and stained. Your customized key labels have inspired me, and I'm curious to learn what font you used and where you got it, as well as any other things you learned while replacing the labels.

    1. Ah! this is quite a long story, and when I do a blog on it, I'll put the details in. It was actually a very hard job. I'll also put the template up for anyone to download when I do the blog, so you wont have to go chasing bits and pieces.

    2. I'm greatly looking forward to the tale. I can imagine it was a long and tedious process, but what a great result!

  7. aussies represent! the typewriter is alive and well in the land down under

    1. Michael! Where've you been!
      Indeed... The typewriter very much is!

  8. Sounds like a good time was had by all, Scott! Nice write-up.

    1. Thanks Teeritz. I'm very please with how it worked out. I'll have to grab some typers and head down your way soon!

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