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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Typewriters on Display

It has probably taken more than four years, but at long last I have put some of my typewriters back on show. There are now 200 displayed downstairs, about half my collection (give or take a hundred or so). The last time I had my typewriters properly displayed (other than at last year's Canberra Museum and Gallery exhibition) was when the Australian Typewriter Museum was at Narrabundah, as seen on the ABC TV show The Collectors in late 2008.
In the interim there have been three changes of address for the ATM, four months of disruption while 100 typewriters were on the move back and forward for the exhibition, and some major (mostly unsatisfactory) issues with shifting and storing typewriters. And during that time, I must have been asked at least a hundred times, "It's a museum, right? So can I come and see the typewriters on display?" My excuses felt increasingly lame.
"Red Corner"
Inspired by seeing the orderliness of the Herman Price and Richard Polt collections in the US in October, I vowed to put things right at home. The opportunity to finally do something about this situation came in mid-December, and I have spent the last fortnight "flat out like a lizard drinking", trying to get it all sorted out by Christmas. If you've wondered why I haven't been answering emails lately, please excuse me, but each night I've just flopped into bed too exhausted to write back to anyone. And now, as a result of all these exertions, I have suffered a recurrence of the "typewriter elbow" injury I suffered back in June while catching a flying Hammond Multiplex in the presence of John Lavery.
The bulk of the work in setting up the displays was done in time for the visit to Canberra of Scott Kernaghan and Miss Jane last weekend, when Jasper Lindell also availed of the chance to see the "work in progress". All three gave what had been done by then the "thumbs up". Since then another 100 typewriters have been added.  Having the task completed by January 1, 2014, seems to be somehow appropriate, as next Tuesday we celebrate 300 years since the first "typewriter patent".
I apologise for the quality of the photos here, as neither the outdoor nor interior lighting was good. But I think you will get the general idea. And, having gained that, anyone interested in taking a closer look is welcome to do so - by appointment (just give me 24 hours' notice). Entry is, of course, free and for no extra cost I am happy to further bore you with a talk on typewriters lasting for anything from nine to 90 minutes (depending on much you can tolerate!). In small part, this will be a "moveable feast", as I add and subtract, but in the main the selected typewriters will remain in place.
"Green Machines"
"Oranges and Lemons"
The Underwood USB typewriter is set up to demonstrate with a mini notebook.
"The Galahs" (pink and greys)
 "Little and Large"

17 comments:

Erik Jaros said...

Best Interior Decorator EVAR!!

Jasper Lindell said...

Looking good.

All you need now are pamphlets at the door and an exhibition catalogue!

Nick Beland said...

How do you keep the typewriters from getting dust in the works? (especially with so many) I've always been too afraid of getting my collection dusty to really display it much, since if I leave a typewriter out for only a week uncovered it's already started collecting.

Ray said...

Absolutely marvellous, Robert. I agree with Erik (above) with respect to the interior decorating. Alice and I can't wait to come and peruse what is on display. Having now seen all this work I understand the email silence. I hope the elbow clears up soon.

writelephant.com said...

This is great - whenever my wife complains that my typewriter collecting is getting out of hand, I'll just say, "Yeah, well look at this!"

Bill M said...

That is a wonderful collection. If I were in Australia I'd pay a visit. Thank you for the cybertour.

I've noticed many that I never recall seeing before.

I do not have nearly as many typewriters, but I have yet to put even one on display as I do not want to be cleaning it daily.

It is impressive how you and Richard P. have so many on display. How do you keep the dust off of them?

Richard P said...

They look great! All the juxtapositions by color, manufacturer, etc., are interesting. It brought a smile to my face to spot the little Winsor.

In reply to Nick and Bill: my typewriters do get dusty, and even worse, some get cat hair in them. Once in a while I'll dust and polish them. I do have a number stored in their cases, but there are so many that are nice to look at, I can't stand putting them all away.

Spiderwebz said...

O my, do you even have room left for anything else? It is looking awesome though. Too bad I live so far away from you, would love to stroll around for a day or two.

PS That Royal crate is... just wow!

Miguel Chávez said...

I love the red corner! And it's very encouraging to see some familiar models among your collection, which means I'm not too mistaken by also adding Olivettis Studio 45, Letteras and such. And I see a lot of old, interesting machines there! If that's not typist heaven, Robert, I'm sure it comes pretty close to it!

Congratulations! Happy New Year, and please take care of that elbow, will ya?

Bryan said...

Wow! Truly impressive!

mcget said...

Such a lovely display, you can just feel the ingenuity pouring out of these machines--so many different ways to achieve the same result. Have you thought about starting a sheet in one machine, typing that machine's name and a line, then moving it to the next? Like a big bookmark--till it's full, then starting another... would love to see all those typefaces.
cheers and a happy 2014 to you.
mcget/phillytyper

SHANE-Yeh Gerard said...

If only stealing typewriters by a jealous typewriter fan is not a crime, I would have bought a flight ticket and fly all the way from China to Australia! Hehe....

TonysVision said...

Congratulations on having them out and organized. It must feel good to have your friends around you. You have inspired me to get some shelves up.

Somehow it makes me happy and comfortable that you've organized them, in some cases at least, by color, rather than something sophisticated like phylogeny or something. But I'm worried about all those on the floor - say you have a few folks over, there've been a few sips of brew - a backward step is taken - I shudder to think.

Travelling Type said...

I spot a classical guitar -- another sign of excellent taste. What do you like to play?

Ping A. said...

I'm drooling. . . Great idea organizing them by colour.

Scott Kernaghan said...

Rob, I absolutely loved this display. Much nicer than the gallery display... I can get my hands on the machines!

Steve Snow said...

That, my friend, is a museum. Great job and congrats.