Saturday, July 13, 2013

Acquisition vs. Divestiture

About the time I was planning a thin-out of my relatively modest typewriter collection, along comes Michael Clemens' (clickthing) appeal for help with his divestiture. The depth of my own commitment was quickly revealed by my knee jerk reaction to his offer of a 1937 Underwood Champion. My modest collection did not yet include an Underwood, one of which I recalled from my grandfather's office. Of course I would give it a good home, and he wouldn't even need to pack it for shipment, as his home in the San Francisco Bay Area was a mere two hour drive from my location up in the golden, rollin' hills of California. Arrangements were made for a drive-by typewriter snatch from his front porch yesterday.

1937 Underwood Champion
Of course I had had the road trip planned as a great adventure. I would take the Triumph TR6 (after a quick tune-up), leaving by 5 am to catch the morning light for some artful photography in the Delta Region. I would follow my old route across Ryer Island that would involve slough crossings on two ferries - The Real McCoy and the J.T. Mack. The whole thing would be videoed, of course, including the perilous ferry crossings and myself sitting on the bench on Michael's porch typing him a thank you note using the typewriter I had just picked up. All would be artfully edited and posted, thus assuring my immortalization within the Typosphere.

In the end sloth, sanity, hot weather, and my everlasting project to-do list prevailed, and I drove our lowly AC-equipped Ford Explorer following the freeways, subsisting on fast food. The one time I did get the camera out, for a photo of the typing scene on Michael's front porch, I discovered there was no card in the thing.

No matter, the typewriter is the thing, and the Champion now rests among my stable of daily letter-writers in all of its glossy blackness. I love the keys on this generation of machines - the chrome-ringed concave plastic is one step advanced from the paper-under-glass keys, and my finger tips seem to like them. The font has a vintage look - all the better for adding interest to letters to my kids and grandkids, who ordinarily receive communication from the realm of texting and Facebook. 
Waiting for the J-Mack in 1969


  1. A grand adventure with a wonderful result, even without the TR-6 and a camera card :D

  2. Really glad you're happy with it, Tony. Get those feet sorted out and I think it'll be a good machine. It was in pretty nasty shape when I picked it up, and now in the hands of a real photog... I hardly recognize the old girl!

  3. I would have been great if you had have taken this gear out for a lovely little road-trip. But alas, it is not to be. Maybe next time.

    Beautiful underwood though! Excellent score.

  4. A fine-looking machine, beautifully photographed.