I'm not a tidy worker. Tools, spare parts, packing materials, notes, projects in process, labeled containers of pieces of typewriters, etc., etc. accumulate on my workbench until it simply gridlocks. But the upcoming need to prepare for the opening of my show at our cozy art gallery in Georgetown, which means matting and framing, which in turn requires lots of free space has resulted finally in a clear workbench.
And so what do I do with all of that delicious space? Yep - I play with typewriters.
Having gotten the piddly amount of work on my framing project to satisfy my conscience, I pulled out this Adler J4 from the dungeon, where it had been confined since its arrival months ago. It had arrived with ugly cracks in its plastic shell and case, and a bent frame. No wonder - it had been packed by the eBay seller with no more than a quarter of an inch of bubble wrap between its case and the carton. When I had emailed the seller regarding return and refund, the seller claimed no responsibility for the item once they had shipped it. The seller had, fortunately, insured the package, and eventually, after several trips to the post office and the filling out and mailing of forms, a payment arrived in my Paypal account.
And so yesterday I pulled it from its dusty corner in the dungeon and set the whole mess on my nice, clean workbench. With the friendly sounds of the brothers, Tom and Ray, NPR's "Car Talk" in the background, I went to work re-forming the frame with my biggest pair of pliers. A whack during shipment on the machine's front right corner had turned the stamped metal frame portion under the keyboard into a parallelogram, jamming the space bar and putting an ugly crack into the shell at the same time.
Not having anything to loose, I applied vigorous force accompanied by appropriate grunting and eventually, to my surprise, the frame was back in a position that fit the shell and also allowed the spacebar to function. Krazy Glue then did the trick on those once horrible cracks, to the accompaniment of the standard gluing of fingers together. Surprisingly, the result was not bad, and once fitted with a new ribbon the machine turned out to be an excellent typer, producing nice, even, impressions with its pica font:
While working on the Adler, our mailman came up the driveway and helped me carry two boxes into the workshop. On opening the first, after having been working on the stodgy gray Adler, my retinas were nearly seared by this Adler Tippa:
Even though the packaging was minimal, it arrived in excellent condition, USPS having for once not using the carton as a jack stand.
Even though it is not that great a typer, I'm sure a grandchild will eagerly snap this one up because of its compact size and bright color.
The second arrival yesterday turned out to be a beauty of an Olivetti Studio 45. Although already possessing one of these fine machines, the earlier purchase uses a cursive font, which while somewhat unique, always wants to put me into the persona of a Dolly Parton when I use it. So I was delighted to discover that the new arrival used a nice plain pica.
A lovely design combined with solid workings, this one is the best typer of the bunch. It even included a usable ribbon. Just one issue - the line advance mechanism has a pretty casual attitude about spacing, switching randomly between single, double, and triple line spacing. Thanks goodness I am left with a fix-up task to further keep me from that matting and framing job.