Category Archives: Typewriters

Once We Were Safe

I’ve been lucky this week, I found this at a thrift store for $5.

Gillette mod. 195 adjustable safety razor c. 1958

I had to celebrate this and the fact that 90 years earlier, today in 1868 Sholes received his typewriter patent! From my Scottish made Lettera 22, typed on Baron Erasable Bond 25% cotton content:

Here’s a close look at the adjuster ring, which has 9 settings. The blade pack was empty, but I appreciate that whoever donated this thought to include it with the razor. My Dad shaved with a similar Gillette razor and Wilkinson stainless razor blades,¬† a major advancement in technology in 1962. Gillette knew how to make them but didn’t, because the blades lasted too long!

adjustment ring no. 1 setting

For more on razors see bruceonshaving.

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Filed under Poetry, Technology, Thrift shop finds, Typewriters

Fastenephemera

Bostich B5

Yesterday I printed a 10 page manual for my guitar amp, downloaded of course since I didn’t have the original. I went to staple it together with my trusty VICTOR stapler, but that failed miserably. Later on I was passing the office junk aisle in a thrift shop (where else) and spotted this old stapler for $4. It looked rugged, my foremost criterion for a stapler, so I purchased it in the hope it would blasted through 10 pages like “butta”. It didn’t disappoint! I began to wonder how old it was. I was shocked to discover, through circuitous web searching, that the basic design dates from 1936!

One other reason to like this stapler is how well it matches old Smith Coronas, dull greyish crinkle paint and all.

Smith Corona Silent Super 1955 – script type

Here’s a US Patent drawing for the same stapler from 1939, filed 1937. This fellow Maynard filed a whole lot of patents, many for staplers, but lots of other stuff. It wouldn’t surprise me if he even designed a typewriter…

Here’s a side view of mine. Dig the background – a vintage George Shearing LP cover. The record itself was awful, but we generally like most of Shearing’s stuff.

The other old item I acquired yesterday was a pink depression glass plate, $2. Someone out there who knows more than I do says this is Federal Windsor button & cane design. Beats me, I like the colour!

pink depression glass plate

Last night I served myself a Peek Frean tea biscuit on this plate, with a beer. Both were delicious!

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Filed under LP's, Staplers, Technology, Thrift shop finds, Typewriters

Typewritephemera

This morning I came across an interesting ultra-portable typewriter: a Majestic 700. It is in fact a Smith Corona Corsair/Skywriter/etc, with plastic case and lid; probably the lightest of any machine I’ve seen. I had no camera but the picture above is the same model. This one was made in Canada. Curious about the Majestic brand I searched and discovered most were made by Brother. I also found an interesting old advert from Eaton’s of Canada. Eaton’s carried a good variety of everything made on earth at one time. The copy states that the Majestic case was made of “Cycolac”, a new material then. Among the small portables you could buy a Lettera 22, Hermes Rocket, Underwood 18, or Majestic 700, each for $80. The Majestic 400 however, presumably a Brother JP1, was a mere $55. All machines were available in English or French, Pica or Elite; no mention of script!

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Filed under Thrift shop finds, Typewriters, Vintage advertising

Thrift Bonanza – c.195x

viewfinder 1955 Asahiflex

Asahiflex IIA – first SLR from Japan

viewfinder 1953 Rolleicord

Rolleicord IV

Smith Corona Silent Super 1955 – script type

the secret 1 key

P.S. here is an OCR attempted scan of the typed page 1 above:

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Filed under Cameras, Technology, Thrift shop finds, Typefaces, Typewriters

Best of ’68

caravelle-transistorized-watch-ad-1968

In 1968 I was with my Dad wandering around on our summer holiday in Lake Placid. I hated the place. There was nothing to do but swim, walk around town, or take a boat out, all of them by myself. There were no kids my age except twits at figure skating camp, and they were a closed group. Beside, I was a hockey player and thought boys that figure skated were weird. Perhaps my Dad took pity on me, because for no reason we went into the jewellery shop and he bought me a Bulova Accutron. At the time it was the most accurate watch, and the one used on Apollo missions! I still have that watch, and it works fine, 49 years later. However, it takes a mercury battery, and they are obsolete. If you want a battery for an Accutron now you have to pay $12 plus shipping. As wonderful as the watch is, I’m not so keen that I’d spend $15 or more to run a watch for a year, after which it would need another battery, etc, etc. I have too many other watches to wear. Recently I picked up another one for $4 at a thrift shop:

Caravelle 1968 "transistorized"

Caravelle 1968 “transistorized”

Yep, the same watch as in the advert up top. Made in 1968 or thereabouts, this was the cheaper baby sister to the Accutron, and it has a Japanese made movement made by Citizen. This is a hybrid between a regular windup watch and an all electric one, having a complete movement minus power spring. Instead of a spring it has a tiny motor. The battery is a standard 1.5 volt affair, still available today. I opened the watch and removed the dead battery which may well have been the original one, since it had the name Caravelle engraved right on it! For $2 I got a pack of 5 alkaline cells, and installed one in the watch. At first it didn’t run, but that was due to the bottom of the cell shorting out against the innards. I put tape on the base of the battery and cut a small slot for the contact, then replaced it in the watch. It started up and has been keeping perfect time ever since. It ticks like a windup watch, too. The question is, which watch proved to be the better one in the long run?

Here’s the Accutron. It said waterproof, and it was – I swam with it for years. I wish I could get a cheap battery for it.

img_0693

Accutron 214, 1968

no stem, it's on the back

no stem, it’s on the back!

Which brings me to another recent piece of 1968 technology that lives on and on and on…

1968 Olympia SF

1968 Olympia SF

I took the shell off to clean and adjust this one. The automatic ribbon reversal mechanism on the right side was jamming so the ribbon would get taut at the end and not reverse. After some examination I saw the problem, and fixed it by filing off the point on the plate¬† attached to the ribbon flipper, so it no longer hit the arm it was supposed to push over and thereby flip ribbon direction. Aside from that I blew out the dust and gave it a spray of silicone lube. It’s from Britain, and has many fractions but no exclamation mark. How British – no exclamations… only stiff upper lips, hmmm? I get great results with Olympia portables (the baby ones) by using old mylar ribbons. I drop the spool onto one side and thread the ribbon onto the opposite spool without going through the flipper gates. Half the mylar will fill up one regular empty spool, after which it can be turned over and reused on the bottom section. I’ve tried mylar on some other typewriters and it doesn’t work well on every machine, but works perfectly on these.

mylar ribbon

mylar ribbon

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Filed under Technology, Thrift shop finds, Typewriters, Watches

The Caravan Royal

Hurry your highness, the peasants are revolting!

Early Royal Caravan

Early Royal Caravan

Royalty don’t travel in caravans, unless fleeing the country. However, that never stopped the use of the word Royal from being applied to caravans, or any other thing. Here’s yet another example:

Royal Caravan: the typewriter

Royal Caravan: the typewriter

I picked this up last week. It’s a variant of a fairly common typewriter known as the Adler or Triumph, Tippa or Contessa, and of course Royal Caravan. It types well and is full featured with basket shift and tabs. Royal typewriter had a previous version that was not portable, although they always call these things portables:

Royal Caravan as used by Bob Dylan

Royal Caravan as used by Bob Dylan in the 60’s

The term “Royal Caravan” does not return the typewriter very high on the search results unless you specify the word “typewriter” however. The most interesting Royal Caravans in my mind seem to be travel trailers – here’s the most well known example:

Buckingham Palace Collection

Buckingham Palace Collection

This one was presented to Prince Charles and Princess Ann in 1955 when they were short enough to get through the door. It’s a miniature version.

no peeking at the royal children please!

no peeking at the royal children please!

There are other Royal Caravans, too:

hotel in Indonesia

hotel in Indonesia

Here’s a famous user of the latest clone, presuming from the source that it is Kubrick typing on one of the yellow iterations of the Adler/Triumph/Royal/Tippa/Contessa/Caravan.

Kubrick I presume?

Kubrick I presume?

You will see many of these on Etsy for way too much, but it seems that yellow and orange are now popular retro-nostalgia colours!

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Filed under Thrift shop finds, Typewriters, Uncategorized

Recipe Boxes & Typeface Detective Work

Once again I’m finding things seem to come in waves, and here is another example: I found my 2nd old metal card file box in as many days. This time the box was empty, but nevertheless the same box with a different paint job.

2-img_2285

Meanwhile I’ve been amusing myself trying to discover the sort of typewriter that was used to type the pastry recipe on the index card I featured previously. I typed the same words using an old Underwood Golden Touch but that didn’t look like it, so I then tried with a 1948 model Royal Arrow. That looked very similar.

3-img_2284

Here is the direct comparison of the new card (Royal Arrow 1948) and the original card (unknown). The old ink is now brown, and it looks fatter, but that may simply be how it was absorbed by the paper when it was typed in the first place.

1-pastry-old-and-new-typefaces

Going through the recipe box thoroughly I discovered a few more typed recipes, which I present here.

 

rhubarb-crisp

This next recipe comes from a different machine, at 11 characters/inch. My first guess would be a Brother, but it could well be an Olympia too, as they made plenty of 11 pitch machines. I have not investigated this typeface yet.

lazy-cabbage-rolls

Back to the other typewriter again for a Mystery Cake.

mystery-cake

 

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Filed under Cooking, Type-in, Typefaces, Typewriters