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Wednesday 25 April 2012

Not Pennies, But Typewriters From Heaven

Lightning strikes just once?
Monday was the day from hell, the worst in living memory. The hot tap in the shower broke, the lighting went in the bedroom and I fused the whole house trying to fix it. Fire alarms were ringing and the temptress sirens were singing, luring me to the rocks.
The cream Facit TP1 wouldn’t type properly and I was still being plagued by the saga of the Rexina. The Optima P1 hadn’t arrived yet, nor had the Bar-Lock portable. Or the Alba four-bank for that matter (and Georg was rubbing it in with the gorgeous model he’d found at the Swiss collectors' meeting). I was way behind with emails and comments and sundry commitments, and my mood was dark.

Tuesday dawned without any false hope, a strange and mournful day. But then the sun started to break through.

My purple patch
First I got a message saying the Optima P1 had arrived, so I could go to Deakin to collect it. Oh, what joy! Next, minutes later, an email from a lady in the very same suburb, saying she had two typewriters to give me, one a Facit TP2, of all things at that particular time, the other she couldn’t identify because she couldn’t get the case open. Then, out of the hitherto blue blue, the Bar-Lock portable turned up as well.
The omens had turned around. The Moon was in the seventh house, Jupiter was aligned with Mars, peace was guiding the planets and typewriters were steering the stars. Suddenly it was raining typewriters! The heavens had opened and I was in my element.

For the time being, I will just show these additions to the collection. I will return to them individually soon, to write about them at some length.

The Optima P1: For Will Davis the Holy Grail was the Rooy, for I-dream-lo-tech the ICO MP1 (or the Studio 42, whichever came first from Florian). For me it had become the Optima P1, simply because not only was I unable to get my hands on one, but every time I tried, fate stepped in and stopped me. Now I’ve beaten fate, thanks to Richard Polt  in the US and Peter Muckermann in Germany. Thanks, guys! Great teamwork! We three 3, Fate 0.
The Facit TP2. Here we all were one day discussing this model, and the next thing I had one – given to me. Not to look gift horses in the mouth, it wasn’t working. There was no  carriage lever (and no sign of one having been snapped off, either) and the carriage simply didn’t move when the space bar or a key was struck. I looked through the hole at the back of the underplate and thought I saw a loose bar – I confidently told Richard Polt I thought I could fix it. Easier said than done. Having tried and given up, I reassembled the machine and jury rigged a carriage lever. Then, as I cleaned the keys, I found I had – completely inadvertently, I must confess – got it working! It was a case of not knowing I’d managed to fix it and, worst still, not knowing how I’d done it! (Richard Polt's keen eye for detail will no doubt observe that the carriage lever is off a TP1!)
The mystery machine (Imperial 2002): When I  managed to open the case and first looked at the Imperial 2002, I knew instantly I had never seen a typewriter like this before. Still, it somehow looked distinctly Portuguese, and I said as much to Richard Polt. Then I looked up the European Typewriter Project pages put together by Will Davis and the late Tilman Elster, and there it was: an ABC 2000, sold in the US as a Sears Chevron. Lo and behold there was also one for sale on British eBay – in Leicester, of all places! – for £60 ($US97, $A94).
Finally I have something to give to Richard Amery in Sydney, as a small repayment for some of the many beautiful machines he has given me. Not that this could be called beautiful, but it is an Imperial – and I’m pretty sure Richard hasn’t seen one of these before, either.
The Bar-Lock portable: The team that brought me the Condor and the Rexina – yes, Adwoa Bagalini in Switzerland with her eagle-eyed Google+ alerts and Richard Polt with his sage observations – has also brought me this delight. Now Richard is threatening not to tempt me with any further tip-offs, for (justifiable) fear he might drive me to poverty. Again, as with the Imperial 2002, I never knew such a machine existed until Adwoa posted on it and Richard pointed out he had one. Will Adwoa ever speak to me again, I wonder? Or Georg? Or either Richard? I hope so. After all, I’m only human, and when such machines come up for sale (or are offered as a gift) I simply cannot resist them.
Four more on the way this week: The Alba, an Imperial Good Companion Model 6, an Erika downscale version of the Bijou that Richard Amery gave me for my 64th birthday, and a gift of what the donor says is an "Underwood Imperial". I can hardly wait ...


Blossom inch said...

love all the typewriters...very nice and rare indeed. I am still looking for a very vintage typewriter like Underwood or Royal 1930s...

- a typebarhead said...

it's wonderful when it's raining typewriters! I love the Bar-Lock!

Adwoa said...

Wow! I didn't realize you had gotten the Bar-Lock portable, but I love that you did! Don't worry, we are still very much on speaking terms :)

I was sorely tempted by it, but Richard's rating of it as mediocre made me think twice, and I was sorry to "leave it behind" since it is such a special typewriter. Knowing a fellow collector has it is just great. Look forward to reading your review!

Bill M said...

Very nice typewriters. The Bar-Lock looks especially nice. I hope you do a review of the TP2 and a comparison of it with the TP1.

shordzi said...

What a wonderful post, thank you! The Barlock portable looks fantastic, congratulations!

Richard P said...

Good to see all of these! I'm glad I could help with a couple.

I wonder whether the Facit was stuck because of an issue with the end-of-line lock. On the TP1 that device gave me some trouble.

Your initial photo is terrifying!

Looking forwrad to more detailed reports in due course.

maschinengeschrieben said...

Amazing Barlock!