I sing in a choir of a Monday night. The sort of easy-going informal non-religious community choir which puts you in a good mood and acts as a means of maintaining vocal fitness in lieu of other musical commitments. So does Charlie. Charlie's the kind of guy who you stand next to when learning a new song, because the chances are he's going to know it already and will sing all the right notes. We got talking typewriters during one rehearsal (as you do) and he mentioned how he had a rather sentimental typewriter stored under the house; his father's. Charlie's dad had bought it new from the Chartres dealer in Melbourne in 1936 when he was a 20-21 year old uni student. It was then passed down to Charlie when he was at uni and continued to turn out good quality type for many years. Unfortunately however, Charlie's dad's typewriter had gone for a swim in the great floods of 2011.
Just down the road from the University of Queensland where I did my undergraduate
Cnr Margaret and Albert Streets, Brisbane CBD
Source of photos: See end of post
When I say 'water', what I really mean is corrosive, toxic, muddy, bacteria infested brown muck. Upstream of Brisbane's inner suburbs are all manner of chemical plants, car wreckers, industry, sewerage treatment plants and the like, many of which went under and spewed their contents into the flood waters. The typewriter case is testament to this, I've never seen anything like it, all the fabric and paint stripped right off it. I told him I'd have a look.
Charlie's quick thinking after the floods is probably what saved his dad's typewriter's life; he doused the mechanism chock full of WD40. Some three years after the event, there was not too much set-in rust in its guts and it wasn't too far off working order. On the eve of the Brisbane Type-in, Scott K got fiddling with the stuck carriage lock and made a couple of other adjustments to get the carriage moving. Following this I gave it a real thorough clean out, removing as much of the gooey WD40-infused rust as I could and further freeing up the carriage, before re-lubing and bending few type-bars to stop them sticking. A new ribbon, bit of goo-remover, a couple of cheeky touch-ups with some black model paint and a healthy application of car-polish later and this little beauty is typing up a storm.
Source of flood photos: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland-floods-interactive-photos-before-and-after-the-water-rose/story-e6freon6-1225987603983