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Friday, 13 February 2015

Vaver's and Pacific Typewriter Companies

While helping a New Zealand collector identify his Remington-Rand EJ standard typewriter today, I chanced upon the connection between Vaver's Typewriter Company in Auckland, New Zealand, and the Pacific Typewriter Company in Melbourne, Australia.
Pacific is well known among typewriter collectors in Australia for importing Consul portables from Czechoslovakia and Maritsas from Bulgaria and rebranding them as Pacific, WaverleyLemair, Norwood and Majestic typewriters. The Glasgow-made EJ was originally sold in 1953 by Remington-Rand Business Machines (New Zealand) Ltd (now Unisys) in Wellington and later refurbished by Vaver's in Auckland.
Pacific and Vaver's were established by the same man, Josef Ladislav "Joe" Vaver (Hebrew name Yosef Ben Avraham David). Vaver was born in Czechoslovakia on April 6, 1921.
He immigrated to New Zealand from Europe in August 1950, leaving with his wife Pola and young son (also Ladislav, but known as David) from Bremerhaven in Germany and sailing to Auckland via Fremantle in Western Australia. Vaver was able to get into New Zealand - where policies on the post-war immigration of Europeans were far more restrictive than they were in Australia - because he could claim to have specialist skills as a typewriter technician. He had started his apprenticeship in Czechoslovakia immediately after World War II, aged 25. Vaver, his wife and David became naturalised New Zealanders in 1957 and after working for some years as a typewriter mechanic in Onehunga and Remuera in Auckland, Vaver set up his own business, Typewriter Repairs Ltd, in 1964. In 1969 he changed the name of the company to Vaver's Typewriters. In 1972, after Vaver had left New Zealand for Australia, it became the Aorangi Typewriter Company and in 1993 Leckie and Laterveer Ltd. Son David (who Joe claimed could type at 120 words a minute at age 12 in 1958) remained in Auckland, where he was a professor of law.
Pola Vaver at an Adler
Vaver founded Pacific Typewriters in Melbourne, operating from Swanson Street in the city and initially selling mostly rebranded Consuls and Maritas. By 1977 he was concentrating on electric typewriters, and told The Age newspaper he had designed his own golfball machine. 
He also had the Victorian agency for Smith-Corona. In October 1979 Pacific Typewriters moved to new premises on Lonsdale Street. Vaver claimed to have 86 agents in Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmaia and South Australia.
Joe's married daughter, Tania
Joe Vaver died in Melbourne on January 27, 1996, aged 74, and his wife Pola died on June 15, 2003, aged 81. Pacific and Vaver's typewriter companies continue to be listed, the latter in Queensland.
David Vaver
Their son David Vaver is an emeritus fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford University, and a former director of the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre. He was a member of the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Advisory Committee and chaired Oxford's IP Advisory Group until he retired at the end of 2007. Before coming to Oxford, he taught for some 20 years in British Columbia and Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, and before that at the University of Auckland. Professor Vaver has written extensively in intellectual property law. Professor Vaver's post was established and funded until 2004 by the Reuters Foundation, the educational and charitable trust established by the leading international media and financial information group, Reuters. 

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