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Sunday 10 June 2012

Topless Typewriters – A New International Trend

What have I started? My last post on typewriters on eBay mentioned a portable for sale with no ribbon spool cover – something the seller had somehow just overlooked or neglected to mention.
Within days, a number of typewriters began to appear on eBay without ribbon spool covers – and in only a few cases was this vital bit of information pointed out to potential buyers.
Here’s one example, which the seller is saying is a Pinnock made in Holland (?) – although how he or she knows that is not indicated. There appears to be no name or country of origin badge anywhere.
So far there have been no bids at $14.99. But the description is enticing:
“Please take your time to look at the pictures taken in natural light as this forms part of the description." Umm, run that past me again!?
"This typewriter would look fantastic in any retro-inspired home. Housed in it's [sic] original case, this typewriter also comes accessorized with a cover. A preloved vintage item, this typewriter shows wear and tear in accordance with its age. Cosmetically, in good condition, however, missing is the cover that goes over the hammers, doesn't effect the typewriter at all though. [One could probably get away with saying that about a Rexina, Adwoa!]
"Functionally, the typewriter seems to work well- I tested it by typing each key once (and once only- I didn't want to waste too much ribbon!). Overall, this typewriter is in a very good-excellent vintage condition. Be sure not to miss what a fantastic statement this typewriter would make to any gorgeous home!" A coverless plastic fantastic in a retro-inspired home? Yeah! Why not?
This Olympia Traveller Deluxe S is listed for $29.99 in the US. “Original 1970's Typewriter With Carry Case. In Great Condition! And Excellent Working Oder [does the seller mean odour? It smells as it works?!] However, it does need a new ribbon.
“The manual typewriter stopped production last year, the Indian firm ‘Godrej and Boyace’ [sic] announced its closure in April last year. This has created a real buzz from collectors and as a result made the classic typewriter a great future investment, they will slowly all disappear in to collections and become an item of rarity.This is a perfect investment & usable item and will put a smile on a collectors face. This one is missing the plate which covers the ribbon area.
“Perfect as a gift, especially for Valentine's Day!!!”
Do people in the US celebrate Valentine’s Day at a different time of year from the rest of the world?
For $90 one can buy a “rare [!] and working vintage Adler T-A Vertriebs-GmbH Portable Typewriter', Actually, it's a Tippa, and the seller would know that if it had its ribbon spool cover. "Photos is the actual item and will be sold 'As-Is'.” No mention of the missing ribbon cover.
Same thing, at 99c, for a Hermes electric – except in this case someone actually bought it!
There have been no bids yet at $29 for this “Cool Retro Brother 3912C Portable [?] Electric Typewriter – “In working order except for the ribbon needing a re-ink." It takes cartridges, not a ribbon, and cartridges might be a bit hard to "re-ink". Better still, one wouldn't see the cartridges if it had a cover.
Over on TradeMe in New Zealand,  someone has listed this Olympia Splendid. “A delightful vintage/retro ornamental typewriter (I have no idea if it still goes) with plastic cover. It has Olympia Werke Ag. Made in Germany on the underside. The bottom plate it sits on comes loose however this is not important if you are not moving it around and want a display piece. Highly sought after pieces in vintage and retro homes.”
But perhaps a missing ribbon spool cover and a loose bottom plate aren't all that important after all. Especially when there is nowhere to put the ribbon spools, anyway. How about this item listed in NZ? “Imperial 66 typewriter as seen on photo. `Frame` is missing.” Not to mention the carriage!!! At least it’s still got its dust cover!
Or this Hermes 3000: “Old green typewriter.” Ever thought to have a look at the name. It's on the front there, centre of photo. Now, slowly, after me, "H ... e ... r ... m ..." Just as well they can play good rugby over there.
This Erika on Australian eBay has had no bids so far at $50. The positioning of the carriage for the photo unnerves me somewhat. As does the sideways photo trying (and failing) to focus on the “J” key (though it's not mentioned in the description). That’s off an Underwood, isn’t it?
But wait one momento … the unnerving carriage position may not effect a sale. Take this Corona 4, which sold for $52 in Australia after 19 bids. It was pick-up only, fortunately, as I can’t imagine how it might have been packed and posted in this condition:
“I have here an original Corona Four Portable Typewriter, in its original Box, A friend gave it to me many years ago.  The box is in not bad condition, the typewriter I have no idea how to use, it seems to be stuck to the right.  I have no use for this old momento [sic].”
On the basis of this sale, it’s no wonder optimism continues to ride high – and it seems the new buzz words, replacing “funky” and "atomic”, are “baby” and “art deco”.
This Remington Envoy III series model, believe it or believe it not, is listed for $199!:
“Vintage Retro BABY ART DECO BLACK REMINGTON REPORTER TYPEWRITER. These are OLD and Collectable. The item looks Art Deco to me with the stylish shiny black top with its sharp edge. Its [sic] a really great piece. So compact it was made without the No 1 button, you have to use the letter ‘L’.” At a rough guess, I'd say Art Deco ended at least 20 years before this machine was made.
OK, so you were tempted to look at this post because you thought you might see a topless typewriter writer. All right then, here you are:


Scott K said...

Robert, I've decorated my house in a lot of Deco era stuff. This was as a result of previously living in a very, very Art deco apartment complex that it all beautifully matched.

I keep a very close eye on ebay - and a variety of other sites, and seeing this typewriter described as 'Art Deco', is hardly a surprise. Somehow a plate with floral decoration, often seems to be 'Art Deco'.

Needless to say I spotted that same Remington. Needless to say, I didn't hit the 'watch item' button.

They could try and justify it by claiming it as '80's deco revival', which means just about as much as describing something else as 'Eames era'. I.e. Not much.

God these are funny though. I too have seen some interesting listings on Trademe. That Hermes has been going for sometime now. Maybe I should get some NZ mates to rescue it for me.

Rob Bowker said...

The Watchman has spoken! Such a shame there's no commentary box on eBay listings - it would then be as much fun as YouTube. The bit about not wanting to waste the ribbon is a cracker!

Bill M said...

Sometimes when I do not know what to do I entertain myself by reading Ebay typewriter postings and the silly things the sellers write.

A typewriter without a top? Well unless it is one I really need for a parts machine and it is dirt cheap, it would never get my bid.

I like the last one the best.

Miguel Chávez said...

And this also happens across the pond; Seen yesterday on MercadoLibre, an e-marketplace site equivalent to eBay: "For sale. Remington typewriter. Wooden case in good condition." Said Remington, a Quiet Riter by the looks of it, was completely naked - no outer frame, no side covers, no ribbon spool covers... but the case was made of wood! (like most cases back then... only they used to be covered in cloth or leather). Asking price: $1,200 mexican pesos, about 85 USD. And, to follow the trend, it's being sold as "antique, vintage typewriter."

Richard P said...

One doesn't know whether to laugh or weep.

shordzi said...

Would you be so kind to remove the ribbon spool cover on the last picture? This typewriter doesn't need one.

Narelle said...

I have an imperial 66 typewriter that has all the covers etc. Anyways, I grabbed it up off the side and the road and i'm hoping it will work. Any ideas where I would find ribbon for it?

Thanks very much

Robert Messenger said...

Are you in Australia? If so, Office Essentials stores are the best place to find Fullmark ribbons.

Unknown said...

I myself have recently come across a typewriter. I have done a bit of web searching, and although I know nothing what so ever of typewtiters have come to this conclusion. The PINNOCK 200 made the peoples republic of china. Is a tippa???(what does this mean) from the late 70's - 80's. Just wondering what you know about this model. I was considering the options of keeping vs selling. I,m located in NSW. Do you think its worth anything or could be in the future?

Robert Messenger said...

I'm a bit intrigued here. Are you sure your Pinnock 200 was made in China? Pinnock is an Australian rebranding (by CFM in Victoria) usually of Japanese machines. It wouldn't be a Tippa. Tippas were originally made by an independent German company but were later made by Adler in Germany and then for Litton in Japan.

Anonymous said...

After reading your reply I had another look at the machine. It does say made, in the peoples republic of china. Although its just a sticker?? So possibly not, I'm not sure why it would of been stuck on though?
Thanks for your reply and I must say that since researsching typewriter I have found some interesting infomation, especailly your blogs they are great!

Robert Messenger said...

Amanda, your reply to my reply doesn't show up here for some reason. Anyway, yes, the Pinnock 200 is a Kofa, so China is doubtless the country of origin. There is plenty on the Kofa on Will Davis's website.

Kylie said...

hello mate my name is Aidan Purtell and i just found a working brother cassette 3912 correction. and was wondering if you had any manuals for sale?