About this blog

This blog is about the daily activities in a busy typewriter shop. I want to share with you the many interesting people who come in here, the beautiful machines I get and most of all the great typewriter stories that people share with me!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Fun Saturday

A newly restored Classic 12

A beautiful late 1930's Simplex

Made in Bulgaria Omega II. Love the case.

My right hand dog Cody

My first typecast

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Nice Score

     I wasn't sure what I was going to lead off with on my blog this week until my friend John came in the shop at 1PM Saturday afternoon. He brought in six machines that he picked up for me and a few new typewriter ads. Besides being a wonderful friend, John knows what sells in here and what kinds of machines I'm always on the prowl for. Today he brought in three Olivetti L-32's, two from Spain and one from Italy and all are pica type. In the past two weeks I have gotten a dozen emails from people looking to buy L-32's and I didn't have any. So I'm thrilled to start getting some in. Earlier in the week I got a L-32 in script. I've had lots of script machines in the last few months but I haven't had a L-32 script in years. I had forgotten how nice it looks, really stylish with long flowing descending characters.

These beauties will be gone soon.
      I also received two Corona's with the curved fronts, one in black and one in burgundy and both pica type. The burgundy one looks especially nice. I really like this machines. There is a simple elegance about the design of these Corona's and I've always loved the touch and feel of the keyboard. My fingers feel right at home typing on one of these beautiful machines. The last machine I got in is a Olympia SM2 with a German keyboard. A professor from a midwestern university emailed me a week ago looking for a German keyboard Olympia SM3. I hope this one fits the bill. I got some wicked cool ads again and a 78 RPM record of the Remington Rand Concert Band from WWI years. Not being able to post these ads is killing me. Many of them are so cool and funny, they need to be seen. I'm running out and buying a scanner later today. I've put it off long enough. So, I guess I'll be typecasting next week. I am a little on the computer illiterate side, so if I can get my brother-in-law to help me figure it out, I'm there.

     I have officially caught up on my backlog of repairs. That took six weeks of working seven days a week, but it's done. And I am really exhausted and burned out. That was quite a ride if I do say so myself. Definitely one of the longer sustained rush of business I've had in some time. Now things have settled down to a normal pace and I can catch up some things I haven't had time to do lately like paper work, cleaning the shop and reconditioning machines, framing more ads to hang up on the wall.

     While things are finally settling down, there's still lots of action happening. Service calls are still strong and I'm travelling up to twenty miles away to do some calls. I've noticed that I get a lot more emails now. I never know if they are local or long distance but it means that my name is getting out there more. I have the typosphere and you typecasters to thank for that. THANK YOU!  I had some very nice sales this week.

This machine sold itself. Love the medallion in the hood.
     This beautiful Smith Corona in burgundy sold a couple of days ago. Someone wants to do creative writing at home. I have a matching one in olive at the store. The olive one has the original instruction book dated 1935. A really nice lady bought a Royal "O" Model to use at home . An elderly gentleman got a Smith Corona Coronet XL electric typewriter for home use also. And lastly, a town clerk's office on the south shore bought a IBM Wheelwriter 3 for office use. I'm looking forward to this week. I can't wait to recondition those new machines so soon as possible.
     Well, that's it for this week. Thanks for checking it out. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bada Bing! (No.2 )

     Things are going along just fine this week at the shop. Most of the hoopla has died down and I'm catching up quickly on my backlog of repairs. Another week or two and I should be completely caught up. That will be a relief because I haven't had any time to recondition machines for sale. I need to tear into that pile of machines in the front of the shop so customers can have a place to stand. There's a lot of really good machines buried in that pile. The sooner I can work on them the more machines I'll have to sell.
      I had one thing that happened in particular that made my week. It started with a phone call from a retired doctor in town who called and asked if I was interested in buying nine typewriters. He said he had collected these machines over his life and needed to clean out his home a bit. He mentioned Hermes, Corona and Underwood but also mentioned that some had been stored in the basement for a long time. (There's that dreaded basement word again.)  So now I'm really not expecting much except a bunch of moldy, rusted out junk. I arranged to come over that morning to see what he had. I parked in front of his house, but it's not a house. It's a castle. No kidding. It looks like a real castle, in the city, surrounded by apartment buildings. I quickly survey the outside of the building, then walked up to the front door. This door was huge and weighed about four hundred pounds, complete with a wrought iron knocker the size of my arm. An elder gentleman open the door and warmly invites me in. I immediately step back more than a hundred years in time. It looks just like the inside of a Kings castle. I didn't notice the pile of typewriters laid out for me in the front hall. I was dazzled by the intricate wood work, paintings, tall clocks, tapestries, beautiful hand painted tiles and on and on. All I could say was "What is this place?" A big smile comes across his face as he says,"This house has a very interesting history. Would you like to hear it." I think the eyes bugging out of my head told him yes. So he says that this house was built in Austria specifically for the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. It is a faithful reproduction of a Town Hall in the Bavarian countryside in the 1600's. Because it was for the World's Fair, I would imagine that many of Austria's best craftsman made this house. It was disassembled, shipped to Chicago and put back together. After the fair it was sold and shipped to Boston, where it still stands. The Doctor said he's lived here many years and spend most of his adult life acquiring the antiques to furnish it and acquiring other peoples collections too. In the last thirty years I have been in a handful of incredible ornately decorated houses in and around Boston. This might be the most lavish private home I've ever been in. I told my wife it was kind of like the Breakers Mansion in Newport. But on a much smaller scale. He graciously gave me a tour of the downstairs of the house and talked a bit more about it. Before I realized it we were back at the front hall and I'm looking at a pile of typewriters. The first thing I notice is a Hermes 2000 case and then a small black case that says Bing No.2. Then I see an old Corona case and a Underwood No.5 and a Olivetti Lettera case and a few more standards. Maybe this trip will be worth my while after all. I quickly check each machine. The Hermes 2000 looks good and works,Yeah! The Bing looks perfectly preserved and its works! The Olivetti case is a L31 in good shape. The old Corona with curved front is a total loss. A rust bucket. Two other Smith Corona manuals are total losses. These must be the machines from the basement. The Underwood No. 5 is just fair but a keeper. I say I'll take them and we agree on a price and I load them all in the truck of my car. I had to make several trips and had to open and close the front door several times. That's the biggest and heaviest door I ever had to use.
         High end machines seem to fly out of this place. When I get something nice in, somehow a typewriter vibe goes out and someone will call within a day or so asking for the exact machine I just got. It happened again earlier this week. A elderly man came in and sold me his Hermes 3000. The nice curved front in Pica. He said he bought it new and took great care of it. He certainly did, because it was one of the most mint condition 3000's I ever saw. When I got home that night I got a email from a man in South Carolina, looking for a excellent condition Hermes 3000. First come, first serve. So, off to South Carolina goes the Hermes.

     I wanted to also show a few pictures of the shop, or specifically, my work bench area. Its where I spend most of my time at the store. When it's busy I'm chained to this bench. My very good friend Abraham, took these pictures as well as the Bing No.2.

I'm reconditioning the 3000 for the trip to S.C.

     Even though its slowing down a bit with the phone calls and walk in traffic, a lot of new business was generated this week. The service calls have been outstanding these last couple of weeks, including a handful of new accounts. A few new service accounts were started. I have even started doing service calls outside of my normal area. There's just no one else people can go to , so I'm willing to travel futher than normal. With gas prices going sky high again, I don't know how wise a move that is. The bottom line is that I just want to fix everyone's machine.
     I got another letter from a customer in New York this week. He said he was in two weeks ago and bought a burgandy Olympia SM3. He wanted to say how much he loves the machine and his typing speed has increased by thirty words a minute. He also has a Hermes 3000 that needs repair and hopefully will drop in this summer when he visits again.
     Well, that's it for this week. thanks for checking it out. Everyone have a great week. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring has Sprung

     Its early March and you can finally feel the change of seasons starting. You can smell it in the air, spring is coming. The buds are showing on many of the trees and even though there's two feet of snow in my back yard, I know the daffodils are breaking ground already.

This machine is way dirtier than it looks.

     This week in the shop, the busy streak continues, although I can feel it slowing up a tiny bit. I'm also starting to make some headway on the backlog of repairs. Yeah!  Let's start off with a nice before and after story. This machine  belongs to a senior citizen who says she depends on her Smith Corona and uses it every day. You can tell it hasn't been cleaned in well over ten years.  When I delivered it back to her we were joking about how dirty it was and I said I took a before and after picture because the difference was so dramatic and she laughed so hard. Three days later I got a thank you card from her, typed on the machine of course, and she said how embarrassed she was that she let her machine get so dirty that I would use it as a before picture. But now she is thrilled that the machine is like new again. I do a lot of business with seniors because so many of them still use a typewriter, but this past month I've seen a big uptick in seniors calling and bring in repairs. I love it when they come in because they tell great typewriter stories and they enjoy telling them. I could just sit there and listen all day. 
This machine actually looks like it's smiling

     I really like it when I hear back from people about their typewriter experience if they bought a machine from me or got one repaired to do creative writing on. I usually never find out if that gorgeous 1930 Royal or snazzy SM3 was typed on for a week and then put in the closet for good or if it was an inspiration to do the creative writing they always dreamed of. Well, a week or so ago, a young man came in just to tell me that he was in a year ago and bought a 1936 Royal "O" Model portable manual (touch control model) from me. He said that when he got it home and started typing on it he thought that he had wasted his money. He couldn't see how an old typewriter was going to get him to write more or better. He was determined and decided to keep a journal to track his progress and growth. After several months of typing every day, looking back in his journal, he could see how much better his writing had improved  by using the typewriter, the words would flow out of him and through the machine. He said documenting his progress was so much fun that he turned his journal into a book. He also started a blog as part of his journaling but eighty-sixed the blog when he found out his mother was reading it. (That's funny!) This took all of five minutes and made me feel great the rest of the day. When I hear back from people or get great thank you notes and letters, it really makes me feel that what I do is important or that it matters. I don't need that all the time because I love what I do, but sometimes you get into a rut or bad spell at work and all it takes is a thoughtful customer to remind you of why you put you heart and soul into something.

     I recently had gotten some stamps that are pretty cool and wanted to show you. I especially like the Royal KMM stamp. The detail in it is amazing.

The KMM stamp is the perfect size for envelops.
     A customer brought in a IBM Electric Model A typewriter, Serial #26598. It actually turns on and every single feature on it works. Sorry I don't have a picture of it yet but the customer wanted to know if this is something a collector might want. The machine looks great, the finish is in very good condition. If anyone might have any info on this, a comment would be very much appreciated. Thanks.
     I'm very happy to see that our friend Matt is back home, happy and healthy. I'm looking forward to his visit soon. I think his mom is going to need a trailer to bring all the machines he wants me to fix. Actually, Matt will be fixing some of his machines himself (under my supervision), and we'll be documenting this process with videos and pictures on his blog. That should be fun.
     Well, that's it for this week. Thanks for checking it out. everyone have a tremendous week.