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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Christmas Baby (Typewriter) Arrives Late

A workmate has been asking me for a couple of years now to track down for her a hospital green Hermes Baby at a reasonable cost. She has it in her head that Truman Capote used such a portable typewriter (can't say whether that's true, I don't know).
I did find a nice one for her, but she left it in the office while she went on leave and someone stole the typewriter from her work station.
I asked her just the other day if she still wanted one. Yes, she said, very much so, but did they come in red? Well, not the older metal ones, I said (thinking nasty thoughts about Olivetti-assembled orange Brazilian plastic).
I asked why red. It turned out she had seen another portable I had given a young female workmate, a lovely bright red Czech Consul, and she fell in love with that colour typewriter.
Well, yesterday a charming old gentleman turned up from Sydney with a couple of typewriters for me. One was a green IBM Selectric, the other a rather battered, bruised, rusted and seriously paint-chipped Hermes Baby - still in good working order, mind you.
What to do with it, I wondered? Then I remembered my friend who wanted a Hermes Baby in red
One thing, though: I have become very wary about repainting Hermes Babys, because while the outer shell and back section are easy enough to get off and put back on again, the paperplate and roller plate are devils to work with. The problem is that once you take the knobs off and the platen out, and then take off the paperplate and roller plate, the platen is quite difficult to put back in properly. The inordinately intricate mechanism of the lever is a real nuisance - at least for me, working alone, that is. So instead of repainting the paperplate and roller plate red, I decided to put my recent "success" with stripping the paint off typewriters and making them shiny silver to good use. Since the segment, typebars, bail, lever, margains bar and paper rest etc etc are all a sort of silver, the other parts would match in nicely. And I think they do. I know it's a compromise, but one that works, I hope you will agree. And the red does goes well, especially at this time of year, with the green name disc, keytops and knobs.
Anyway, all that aside: by tomorrow, hopefully, this late Christmas Baby gift will have been gleefully accepted into its new home.
PS: I haven't put a ribbon in it yet - Canberra's typewriter ribbon shop is closed for the New Year - so I haven't typecast with it. But believe me, it still works just fine!


maschinengeschrieben said...

Seems like a great late christmas gift!
Happy New Year!
By the way: Do you need contact information for the book? Drop me a line: msgschr (ät) yahoo (dot) de.

TonysVision said...

Nice job!