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Wednesday 21 September 2011

Sydney Typewriter Talk-In

Yesterday I drove from Canberra to Sydney and back, a seven-hours-on-the-road round trip, to meet up again with my old typewriter mates Richard Amery and Terry Cooksley. For five hours solid we worked on typewriters, talked typewriters, told typewriter jokes, ate typewriters, drunk typewriters and generally had a good old typewriter time.
Terry, now 72, has just started a new business: ANTIQUE TYPEWRITER SERVICE. It's based at his home at  31 Murdoch Street, Blackett, New South Wales 2770. He can be contacted on 61-2-9628 0493. When Terry's new email contact address becomes available, I will post with it.
Terry's dining area was packed to the gills with typewriter works-in-progress and typewriter tools.
Terry's lounge is now complete with a series of tall glass cabinets displaying some of his prized typewriters, including a Blick Ninety and a mint-condition Underwood three-bank. There are also Royals, Mercedes, Mignons and may other tasty typewriters. I took with me to Sydney some spare Blickensderfer keytop rings and covers so Terry could also display the Blick 6 I gave him a few years ago. 
Here's Terry at work on some old typewriters.
Watching Terry work on typewriters was a marvellous and enlightening experience. I wish I knew my way around a typewriter to the extent he does.
The big Underwood (below) is one I took to Sydney with me for repairs, along with a Cole Steel, an Adler Favorit and a Royal flatbed, all in need of escapement work. The rest of my station wagon was packed with boxes and bubblewrap for Richard and Terry to recycle in posting typewriters. For the first time ever, I returned to Canberra without a single typewriter!
I would, nonetheless, have willingly handed over an arm or a leg in exchange for Richard's Bijou, which I asked him to drag out and once more proudly display. For the sake of comparison, this Erika rebranding is 12 1/2 inches long, 11 1/2 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches high. An absolutely stunningly gorgeous typewriter! Richard won it on eBay here in Australia a few years back, for about $34 (more images below).
Also, for the first time, I got to see the "finished product", as it were, of an Imperial Good Companion that Terry and I had contrived to "do up" as a 60th birthday present for Richard back in March. I repainted the machine and put on it as new decals the New South Wales coat-of-arms (in place of the British monarch's coat-of-arms; after all, Richard is a Labor Party member) and a new model name - the "Amery 60". Terry reassembled it (beautifully, I might add). Richard, as some may already know, has a complete collection of the range of Imperial Good Companions and is an expert on this particular model.
The big Underwood was in need of Terry's tender loving care because a previous owner had lifted the machine by its carriage and damaged the connecting rod under it. Both Terry and I were initially confident Terry could fix what seemed to be, at first glance, a minor problem. But the Honourable Mr Amery, Opposition Member of Parliament for Mount Druitt in the NSW Government, reminded us of what Abraham Lincoln said about miscalculating the abilities of General Robert E. Lee - a good hen never clucks until after it has laid the egg! Only a politician would quote another politician.
In fairness, Terry kept being interrupted by calls from young women wanting "beautiful shiny black old typewriters". Or so it seemed.
Terry also had for sale, at a snip at $1 each, many typewriter-specific tools which had belonged to his friend Warren Ingrey. I bought 51 of them - these aren't the sort of tools one can easily lay one's hands on.
Warren, like Terry, is a retired qualified typewriter technician who still gets a lot of work doing typewriter repairs. Warren lives on the NSW Central Coast, north of Sydney, and his contact details  are: Warren Ingrey, Hamlyn Terrace, NSW 2259. Telephones 02-4392 9798, 0487 824 676 (mobile), email
So a great and highly profitable day was had by all. We'll have to do it all again soon ...


shordzi said...

Great to see you had such a great time together! The Bijou is lovely.

Richard P said...

This looks like heaps of fun.

I love the Amery 60! Happy birthday to Richard.

I will add Terry to my repair shop list. I had Warren's email as, let me know if that's wrong.

I've never seen a '50s Erika marked Bijou like that. It's an old pseudonym, used on Erikas exported to the UK back in the '30s and maybe even the '20s.

Cameron said...

Oh, I would have enjoyed being there so much, learning about the inner workings of typewriters which I have come to love!

I greatly respect all the shared knowledge in that one room. Looks like it was a very special gathering.

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert, thanks so much for posting Terry's contact details. Over the past few years I've had trouble finding a good typewriter repair service in Sydney.

The search is over. I took five typewriters to Terry today and he did a brilliant job on them. Plus we had a great chat.

Thanks again! Looking forward to exploring your blog.