DAY ELEVEN (and LAST)
TYPEWRITERS: +3 = 10
As flagged yesterday, I arrived home this evening to find three "new" old typewriters: a 1937 Monarch Pioneer, a 1949 Torpedo Modell 18 and a "modern" Kofa Model 100 (aka Jordi Traveller). I plan to go into more detail on these models at a later date - the Monarch Pioneer as part of a post on 1930s "basic" Remingtons and the Torpedo in another look at that German company's wonderful range of portables.
Suffice to say in the meantime that the Monarch Pioneer, serial number C108005, is described as being "embarrassingly basic", has a three-and-a-half bank keyboard, and is one of 17,500 made between October 1937 and January 1938. It has no carriage return lever. For all that, I adore it. The Torpedo is apparently an earlier (1949-51) variation of the better-known Modell 18 (and 18B) - the export version of which was a Blue Bird. The Kofa is a truly weird Chinese combination of the Olympia SF/Traveller carriage and Adler-Triumph Tippa mechanics.
I thought I'd got the timing for my last day on the road absolutely spot-on. Having managed to spend an extra night in Queensland, catching up with old friends in Brisbane on Saturday, the final leg of the odyssey would be a Monday. Perfect to pick up the mystery typewriter at the Old Bakery in Cundletown, the one I'd spotted through a cob-webbed window 10 days earlier, after leaving Taree headed for Surfer's Paradise.
I checked out of my Kempsey motel at 8.30am. The receptionist directed me to an antiques shop on the way out of town. It was closed, but I could see no typewriters there anyway. I determined there would be no further distractions, no more stops before Cundletown. That was the machine I really wanted.
Approaching Taree, I sidetracked off the Pacific Highway to reach Cundletown at 9.40. But the Old Bakery was still unopened. Fearing this might be the case, I'd taken the precaution the night before of getting a mobile phone number from the White Pages.
I peered in through the spider's window. The mystery typewriter was still there, but it looked as if it had been shifted, turned so it was facing more toward the window, to allow a much better view of it. Maybe the shop owner had read my blog, and was keen to do business. I could make out the carriage - it appeared more and more like an Olympia semi-portable, yet not a model I'd seen before.
A note on the door said, "Open Mondays and Tuesdays, 9.30-4pm". There was also a landline number. I had already tried the mobile number, and got no answer. So I called the landline. A man answered. He explained he was on a farm, threequarters of an hour away from Cundletown. He was clearly not keen to come into town and open the store. The antiques shop was his daughter's, he explained, but she'd lost interest in it and he was trying to get rid of the stock. He apologised profusely for the inconvenience, and offered what were completely unsatisfactory options. It was already quite evident that I going to go away from Cundletown empty-handed, that the mystery typewriter was not leaving that run-down shambles of a shop. Not with me, anyway, not this morning.
I filled the tank, complaining bitterly as I did so to the petrol station owner about the way Old Bakery did business. He feigned interest and said, "I've never seen it open". And with that I set off again - Canberra would be my next stop, my last stop of this 3500-kilometre road trip.
Six hours later I was home. Charlie the Typewriter Guard Cat didn't want to know me. But he did give a cursory nod in the direction of three packages. Thank goodness I had something to play with.