Tuesday, 19 March 2013

An afternoon's sojourn

Without meaning to it appears I’ve followed in Robert and Scott’s footsteps by poking around in Op-Shops and antique stores on the weekend. In my case I’d driven over to Guitar Brothers in Red Hill to blow some of my birthday money on a Stomp Box and a Cajon. If you’re unfamiliar with these items it’s probably easier to google them rather than me waffle on explaining them.
Being on that side of town during business hours for a change, I drove over to Latrobe Terrace in Paddington. Latrobe Terrace is a rather groovy street not far west of the city that winds its way up along a ridge-line. It’s got plenty of cafe’s, retro stores, Op-Shops, antique stores and the young good looking types with tomorrow hair styles and yesterday's clothes, who tend to inhabit these areas. The St Vinnies and the Endeavour foundation Op-Shops had no typewriters but some cool peaked caps. Retro Metro had a typewriter, but it was a seized and rusty 1940’s or 50’s-ish black standard typewriter for some “Looks great” style exorbitant price.
Estelle’s Antiques was getting a little warmer with this Underwood 11 (Is it an 11?? Please tell me if I’m wrong).
This old fellow was in pretty reasonable nick, almost rust free and good clear keys. The keys were pretty well stuck however, and the ones that weren’t stuck weren’t far off. The drawband was missing, but the carriage seemed to move fairly freely. The price tag on this wasn’t outrageous either, but it was more than my willingness to pay.
The jackpot was hit though when I made it across the road to the Paddington Antique Centre.
Never having been in here before, once inside I was asking myself why I had never been in here. It’s a huge barn of a place, converted from a disused theatre. Inside is an organised chaos of all sorts of stuff from swords and war trinkets to Dallas Cowboys paraphernalia to Bakelite Tupperware and telephones to ancient egg-beaters to piles and piles of ancient rotting magazines. Only just inside the front door I came across this.
Being rather fond of big heavy standards and seeing that stupidly wide carriage Imperial 66, let me say it was love at first sight.
See the funny thing about the Paddington Antique Centre is that they represent a whole bunch of different independent antiques dealers. As a result, you can’t haggle with the kids at the checkout and the prices can really skewiff. For example, that rusted seized machine on the far end, which looked like it had quite literally been retrieved from the bottom of the ocean cost $45, while the apparently clean and functional Remington in the foreground cost $35, while the wide carriage Imperial 66 cost $170. Sadly my willingness to pay for that extra half-foot of carriage was less than $135 however, so I bought the Remington.
Having some time to tinker with it early this morning before work, I was surprised that it seems to work fine. The only issue is slightly wonky first letters of a new line (which I may have fixed already) and the spacing between the letters, whilst generally good, is not always consistent. By George it's quiet though, check out that 3/4 inch thick padding on each side!


I shouldn't say that I'm disappointed that it works fine, but I was expecting to need to spend quite a while tinkering with it and now I'm not quite sure what to do with it. Not being a machine on my "must have" list, I've got a feeling I might just clean it up, paint it some obnoxious colour and then let set free on ebay to let the market forces do what they will with it.....
This job, along with the Smith Premier (which I shall contact you about John!) will have to wait until after March 26th however, as I'm rather hurredly preparing a certain paper for a certain conference which is due on that day.


  1. Dear Steve,
    my condolences for having become a typewriter addict. And welcome to the typosphere!

  2. Hi Steve,
    At $170.00 for that Imp.66 they will wait a long time before that shifts, even at $70.00 I would be a reluctant buyer. Did I read correctly that you paid $135.00 for the Rem? That is the SJ model which I have a lot of experience of, a very good office machine, any problems, contact me, if you wish. How much was the Underwood?

  3. Geeez. That's expensive for the Imperial 66. I'd like one, but I wouldn't pay THAT for it.

    There's not a lot that could have caused the sluggishness on the spacing, but I'm sure you're more than capable of fixing that. It'll be a nice machine though.

  4. .... oh, and that's more typers that I have seem Paddington Antiques EVER!

  5. Congrats! It's always exciting to,see a booth full of typewriters, and to an American that looks like an exotic selection. We don't see Imperials here -- and is that a Bar-Lock?

  6. I, too, would definitely like to know what the machine at the top right hand corner of the shelf is. I don't think it is a Bar-Lock, as I can see the typebars and they aren't vertical. Unless, of course, it is a model I'm not familiar with. It does have the double keyboard...so, what was it, Steve!

    Congrats on the Remington. $35 is a great price for such a hulking machine, especially if it is functioning! I just love wide carriages, although I have no practical use for them.

  7. Gentlemen, thank for your comments!

    Shordzi- Many thanks for your well placed condolences!

    John- No, no I only paid $35 for the Remington. The $135 relates to the difference in price between the Imperial ($170) and the Remington that I ended up buying ($35). The Underwood was $125 which was out of my price range for it, but not exorbitant I don't reckon, considering it's rust free and looks pretty good. I can't speak for the mechanism though.

    Scott- Yes I'm sure I'll work out the spacing issue too, but like many of my repair jobs, I'll be flying pretty blind! Definitely going back to Paddo Antiques in the near future...

    Richard- Aha! Bar-Lock! I think you may be right.... Yes, you’ll notice that was the one typewriter I hadn't described in the post, largely on account of me not having a clue what it was! No name-plate or any other writing on it that I could see. With a bit of a google though I think you’re right. It’s got that real deep cut-out for the type-basket. Unfortunately the paint was badly chipped and the keys firmly jammed, so at $120 I didn’t give it a second glance.

    Ken- Refer to my reply to Richard above, I had no idea what it was!! I think Richard might be right tho. Following his lead I had a quick google search that somewhat fittingly led me to Robert’s blog. Follow the link below and look at the second photograph in the post and I’m pretty confident that was it. Rather than the margin tabs on the top like Roberts photo, mine (if I remember correctly) had 100, 1000, 10000 keys for accounting or similar.

  8. Congratulations on the new machine. You seem to be where there is a nice selection of machines although I too would not give the high price for the Imperial even though I seldom find machines in the shops around where I live.

  9. Steve, just a note to welcome you to the Typosphere!

    I immediately noticed your Lettera 22 in the background, unquestionably a good sign. Hope to see more of you around. Cheers!

  10. Hi Steve. Greetings from Melbourne. You had me with the background picture of the rotary telephone. Nice Remington you scored there. I bet it weighs a tonne! Nice to see a fellow Aussie in the Typosphere.