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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Oh Joy, ETCetera

It feels like it's been forever, and it's certainly been a long and lonely Southern Hemisphere spring, summer and autumn without a new ETCetera to cool the fevered Typospherian brow. The fact that the latest edition of ETCetera is labelled the "No 104 Spring 2014" number can't disguise the fact that December and March passed without this, the most essential printed reading for all typewriters lovers. 
But now ETCetera is back .. and how! Peter Weil and Richard Polt had let me know in emails in the past week that a new edition was finally out. Lifted by their encouraging words, my anticipation of its arrival here in Australia was keen, to say the least. And I wasn't to be disappointed.
New editor, Ed Neuert
I like the way new editor Ed Neuert has put his own stamp on it right from his very first edition.
No 104 has a great look and feel about it, with well presented articles from Ed himself, Typospherian Georg Sommeregger and Peter Weil.
The edition includes a covering letter from Ed, in which he says "... this is a time to take stock of where we are and adjust our plan accordingly. We, the Board of Directors of the ETCA [the Early Typewriter Collectors' Association], did just that this January. We were among the members of the association who had put in regular work over the years to produce ETCetera, and we felt it was time to take a more active role as a defined group to give the association clearer continuity for the future. By volunteering we did, in essence, appoint ourselves. We’re looking at ways to formally seek the approval of the membership in the coming year.
"In the meantime, your continued subscription to ETCetera will be the clearest vote of confidence one could ever receive."
I really do hope typewriter enthusiasts worldwide will send Herman Price subscriptions - which for this year have been reduced to a mere $25 in the US in $30 in the rest of the world. That has to be the best value for money it would be possible to get. Once this year's four editions have been savoured, readers will be hooked for life, I guarantee it!
And in subscribing, I earnestly hope that, as Ed says, we do get that vote of confidence - and the approval of members. By "we", I mean Ed, emeritus editor Richard Polt, Herman, Peter and myself.
It was as well for this particular fevered brow that my copy of ETCetera turned up today. Just a few hours earlier I had received an email from Thomas Fürtig in Germany gently pointing out I had made a couple of errors in my latest "Portables, ETCetera" column.
To be honest, it was so long since I had written this piece (back in September last year) I had almost completely forgotten what the column contained. 
With reference to Paul Grützmann's Phönix, Thomas pointed out that the Phönix did not become the Reliable, but the other way around. "The Reliable was constructed by Arno Kührt of Nuremberg, and was made from 1921 to 1930. The Reliable was distributed by many dealers under their own names; one of these was Hegeling-Werke. They used the name Hega. Some sources say Hegeling even assembled the Reliable-Hega under licence. In 1924 Grützmann made several improvements on the Reliable (like segment shift and a ball-bearing carriage transport) and this improved model was offered by Hegeling under the name Phönix. But the project became a failure, only a very limited number of Phönix machines were made. Today no surviving example is known.
"The Phönix was not the first German typewriter with interchangeable carriage. This honour goes to the Bavaria, made in 1921. The portables of Stoewer and Rheinmetall used exactly the same system as the Bavaria: by unscrewing two handle-screws the whole carriage can be taken off."
Happily, my ability to carry out research from German texts has been considerably improved by an unusual but most generous and useful gift sent to me from Germany by fellow Canberra Typospherian Jasper Lindell. More on that later. 
Head of steam: Writing the controversial article on an Olivetti Lettera 32 in a hotel room in Rushcutter's Bay, Sydney, June 1979.
It could have been far worse, I suppose. In 1979 I wrote a controversial though entirely accurate article for a magazine published in Ireland. I had just returned to Australia and never saw the published story. Later the substance of this article was published in a biography of the subject of my story, without my prior knowledge. In 1994 the book was at the centre of a settlement outside the High Court in Belfast. I wasn't involved in any of this, but imagine my frustration that it happened - to this day I still haven't seen the published article, even though I wrote it!
So thank goodness I at least got to read ETCetera today!
PS: ETCetera arrived in the same week as the latest edition of Typex, edited and published by Michael Brown:
It contains a delightful full page spread on my blog post about typewriter repairwoman Nellie Myra Thatcher.
And if you think the image of a semi-naked moi above is pretty ordinary, just soothe your eyes on the "Miss Typewriter" image on page 1126 of  Typex!

5 comments:

Richard P said...

So now you're posting racy photos online!! I mean the Bavaria, of course.

Congrats to Ed on a fine inaugural issue.

Robert Messenger said...

Unfortunately it was a hot night and I was rather het up about that story! It's the only pic I have of me writing it.

Scott Kernaghan said...

Now I would have thought it was getting bit cold in Canberra, Rob. Too cold to sit around in your Mawashi!

shordzi said...

Now you'll need to explain who took that picture of you :)

As to Typex, can you help me to subscribe? I can't find an online address to do so.

Vivat ETCetera!

Robert Messenger said...

Not the bearded lady, Georg!
I knew someone would ask that question, and as Gus Kahn once wrote, "It Had To Be You".
It was a member of the opposite sex - my then mistress, later third wife, mother of my eldest two sons, an Empire Aristocratic lady.
I will email you Mike Brown's contact address for a Typex subscription.