Wednesday 21 January 2015

wHHoops I owned it again: The curious tale of the Royal HH

Many moons ago in my very first blog post, I gushed about being swept off my feet by the glory of the typewriter and how I had: "met for the first time all these great people pictured"... I lied... Not about my enthusiasm for the glory of the typewriter, but about the fact that I had in fact met one of that motley crew almost a year earlier.

There once was a 1954 Royal HH. Back in April 2012. I bought this almost a full year before that first Breaky Creek type-in and I knew almost nothing about typewriters. Taking it home, I found it to be relative seized up.

 April 2012

Not really knowing much about these things at all, and not yet being aware of the wealth of information about typewriters on blogs, forums and the internet more generally, I poked around and turned it upside down and decided that what it needed, was more WD40 than had ever been unleashed upon a typewriter ever. I doused the bastard. Sprayed it's innards so propper that it was dripping for hours. It smelt like a refinery.

To my happiness, this seemed to free up a lot of things and I got it typing. So I bought a new ribbon for it from Alderley Business Machines and typed out a bunch of song lyrics. After my interest had run its course and more interesting machines had arrived at my house, I put this smelly thing (made from equal parts metal and WD40 by this stage) up on eBay. At a $7 profit, I was delighted that it sold to someone local. I contacted the seller, informing them I lived in Graceville. Several messages later, we agreed that he would pick it up from my friend's place, where I would be later that morning practicing music.

June 2012

Thus on the 7th June 2012, outside my friend's old place on Equinox Street, Taringa, I met a man in a maroon Nissan X-Trail who paid me $27 for my Royal HH. I was rather hoping that he would not become suddenly overpowered by the stench of WD40 and drop dead on the spot. Luckily he remained upright throughout the transaction and was polite enough not even say anything about the veritable cloud of petroleum hydrocarbons in the air above the typewriter. This polite man of robust sinus health was Scott Kerneghan. It was later at the 2013 Brisbane Type-in when we met properly and to this day I have not dared mentioned the incident of the WD40'd Royal HH.

Fast forward to July last year, before relocating to Melbourne, Scott dropped a couple of standard sized typewriters to my new house in Ashgrove for me to give to John Lavery. Looking beneath the tarpaulin, what did I see? That very same HH. The tyranny of distance and one incident of unfortunate timing meant that I held on to these typewriters, moving house from Toowong to Ashgrove and then later to East Brisbane, carrying around these standard typewriters until two days ago when John came over for a cup of tea and to pick up the typewriters that were rightfully his.

19th January 2015

Thus it may be said that this HH has been kept in the family. It may also be said that I owe Scott a pint of beer, considering the HH that I sold him really wasn't worth any more than the $20 that I originally paid for it, versus the $27 I sold it to him. Especially so after my drowning it in the devil's own lubricant. One thing I know for sure though, this HH is that it's going to a good home.


  1. Those HHs can take a beating and still work--until the WD-40 gums up the works.

  2. Ha ha ha. I wondered if you'd recognise that machine! Mind you, you looked different back in 2012. You'd also beaten me to buying it off the gumtree seller that you first bought it off. As such I was quite aware of how much you paid for it. That said... I had big plans for that machine! But I never had the chance to implement it. But man! That machine has done the rounds....

  3. Just for reference - I did take a wiff and think 'Oh jesus.... this machine is full of WD. That's alright, I can fix that'.

  4. Funny! I hope Scott got the WD properly flushed out.

  5. You sly devil.... Pleased it was saved from a premature gooey demise anyway.

  6. Ha ha, now the ball is rolled into my court/workshop! Gosh what a history and what a challenge, will I be up to it?. Only time will tell.
    I am going to try my hand at spray painting, yes, I am joining the ranks of typewriter painters. However, I do promise it will not be a luminous green.

  7. Good luck to you John, I have no doubt you'll be more than up to the task and I very much look forward to seeing it in a dazzling luminous gre... -ahem- I mean appropriately tasteful and conservative colour.

  8. Looks like this sucker could use a few coats of paint as well. Looks like it got a salt-water bath somewhere along the way. Salt water and WD40--couldn't kill the mighty HH.