The last 2 typers ive acquired were my ICO in mid-July and my gold-plated Olympia SM3 in late July. Expensive acquisitions and beautiful and permanent members of the family. No regrets there.
In the last couple months ive said no to the following craigslist deals that many times ive engaged in talks and managed to get the my low offers accepted,, at times even turning down the machine after holding it in my hands: a $15 cole steel, a $15 underwood 5, a $15 1940s underwood champion, a $20 smith corona superspeed, a pink RQDL for $99, a sage green RQDL for $75, several under $50 Remington Portables and likely a couple more that ive already deleted the email trails to so that i dont curse myself later.
I vowed silently to myself: no more until i get to clean and repair what i have currently. After that, re-evaluate.
mantralike, i repeated. Until in a trance. As if hypnotized.
Perhaps though, it became so repetitve that i became desensitized to it. Going through the motions, unalert, and somehow suddenly i am home without even remembering the trip.
Moreover, you look in the backseat and there's a bunch of passengers you picked up along the way and theyre all eating mcdonalds happy meals.
It started with the nicest of gestures. The wife happened to spot an IBM Selectric II in the basement of her building. She got it for me for basically free.
|its now sits on my bookshelf in my garage.|
It turns on and hums but thats it for now.
I also have about 12 typeballs for it so ill
attempt fixing it one of these days
|from the good ol University of California|
|Immense Behemoth Mastodon|
|The Selectric seriously dwarfed both the ICO and the laptop. Its shadow cast made for 10000 years of frozen winter.|
|The wifey also got me about a good assortment of typeballs|
That was Thursday. Morning.
And while she was picking up the Selectric, she ran into an 80+ year old Professor Emeritus who she said was sharp as a tack and likely has only lived his half life. He talked her ear off, maybe trying to see if he could get into her pregnant panties, and asked her why she was buying a typewriter. She gave the spiel that her husband is a typewriter collector. i wish she wouldnt call me that because i dont quite feel like a collector just yet... at the time, that is.
This retired professor of developmental and cell biology said he had 2 old pre-war Triumph typewriters and an old Underwood. He gave his business card to her and asked that i contact him when i got home.
Later that same day while im still at work, i get an email from a guy who says he has 2 1937 Triumphs from bulgaria, one with a latin keyboard and another with a slavic keyboard. He says Richard Polt suggested he contact me.
When i get home my wife hands me the business card. The names match.
We email back and forth a few times during the next 32 hours: him mostly saying that Polt suggested me and that he said the machines are worth $40 and $100 respectively and that the typers were collectors items and me mostly telling him i am not a pure collector and that i have no showpieces.
We settled on the price before i even arrived to his home in Irvine and lets just say that to him it was a seller's market and i was his prey. I usually have the power to walk away, as evidenced above. This time, i didnt - i could not resist.
|The cases show lots of wear and tear. The wood is falling apart. They reflect a lot of travel.|
|Making the trip from Israel to the USA|
|sold in a pair - theyve been together since the late 1930s - inseparable|
|Lots of cleaning to do|
|closeup of english typeface. The one i took of the Cyrillic is blurry and ill have to add it later.|
|side by side|
This 80+ year Italian academic talked my ear off for the better part of 3 hours. We only discussed typewriters for maybe 10min. The rest of the time, he shared his whole life story. I could have been his biographer. Some of the highlights:
He and his brother were born in Italy but moved to Bulgaria early on.
He knows to speak several languages although now he is rusty with Hebrew and Russian.
The typewriters were brought with them to Israel by way of Turkey when they fled Bulgaria due to the Nazis.
He is one of the world's leading experts on Orchids.
He has one of the foremost collections of Orchid books in the world and once he passes, it will go to his alma mater USC - he has already bequeathed it to them and he said that USC will then have an envious collection.
Even though he taught at UC Irvine from the early 60s through the late 90s, he has no loyalty to UC Irvine.
He has been a resident of Irvine, CA since then as well but his house is decked out in Trojan gear, including a giant flag in front of his house.
He has a dog named Troy that he loves and he spent $3k on in veterinary bills recently.
He walks Troy around his neighborhood and carries a gun in case of coyotes (btw - he lives in a completely developed area in suburbia. There probably hasnt been a coyote in decades)
He begged USC to accept his son and his son completed his degree in forensic psychology and is jobless.
I also ended up buying his Remington 17 from him. I retrieved it myself from a forgotten cabinet in his garage. As i stuck my hand in to carry this heavy ass dirty dusty monstrosity, he warned me that last time he opened the cabinet, there were a lot of black widows.
The only reason i bought the Remington in addition to the Triumphs, which i absolutely had to have, was because the machine was given to him while he attended USC and lived in a rich lawyer's house. The lawyer used it to converse with several famous hollywood celebrities and they all remarked that this typewriter had a very special font. He also used it throughout college and it was eventually given to him. He wrote his first couple books on it and it sat undisturbed since the 1970s.
|who knows if ill ever be able to clean it and get all the rust off.|
and yes, i bought another one just earlier tonight.