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Thursday 5 December 2013

Baby Fox Portable Typewriter: The Greatest Gift Of All

At just before one o'clock on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 15th, Richard Polt walked back into his office at Xavier University, Cincinnati, after attending a short meeting.
"Well?" he asked. "How did you go?"
"Great," I said. "I typed with lots of your machines, typewriters I've never seen first-hand, let alone used before.
"And I managed to fix the drawband on the Baby Fox, it's working again."
"That's good," said Richard. "Because it's yours now."
After the seconds had jumped in with the towels waving and the Xavier paramedics had resuscitated me and picked me off the floor, the reality - the enormity - of what Richard had just said began to sink in.
I was the proud owner of a Baby Fox.
Forty-three hours later, at 8am on Thursday, October 17th, Richard came upstairs to my "library apartment" on the top floor of Clifton House to help me pack for my trip back to Australia.
He handed over, carefully cocooned in bubblewrap, the Baby Fox. "Better find some room for this," he said, smiling broadly.
It was true. I was taking the Fox with me to Australia. I could hardly believe my good fortune, to be the beneficiary of such incredible generosity.
This morning Richard forwarded me an email in which he mentioned - to a third party - that I had "very kindly" taken a Brilliant S to Cincinnati for him. It barely seemed like anything vaguely approaching a fair deal, a worthy comparison. But it did remind me of how much I am indebted to my wonderful Cincinnati host for his gift. Be assured the Baby Fox will, for the rest of my life, be the best possible reminder of that fantastic time I spent in the United States.
This is the greatest gift of all, as far as I am concerned.
Having read Richard's email, I got out the Fox, attached a new nylon drawband and - after promising for weeks to "reveal all" (I did drop hints, but nobody bit) - I typed a few words on this remarkable little folding portable and took heaps of photos of it. (I apologise if I have overdone it.)
So here it is, my most prized typewriter possession. I  never dreamed I'd own one, but now, thanks to Richard Polt, I do. And don't I just love it?
 Comparisons with the Corona 3

Typewriter Topics, December 1918
This Fox has the serial number 10017, which means it was made in 1918.
Typewriter Topics, October 1920


Erik said...

I don't think you overdid. I could look at that one for hours.

The fact it was found to violate the Corona copyrights gives it a sort of roguish appeal.

schrijfmachine said...

I didn't know it folds backwards! Beautiful machine, congratulations!

Scott K said...

Gorgeous! Such a beautiful machine. So very nice of Richard!

Miguel Chávez said...

What a fantastic little machine! Congratulations, Robert!

Bill M said...

Congratulations on the beautiful typewriter. I always thought these were an early rebranding of the Corona. I never saw one live, only in photos. I'm still too new at this.

The photos are not over done at all. The more the better.

That was great of Richard to give you the Fox.

Steve Snow said...

Great comparison with the Corona 3. Devilishly similar and probably worth the court case but it makes for good history. What is it that makes the f and g keys a lighter colour to the rest?

Richard P said...

It's nice to know that the little Fox is in such good hands.

I should point out that you've been at least equally generous to me, even giving me that wonderful Blick 90!

Too bad that Fox lost the suit with Corona. Possibly they would have survived otherwise for a few more decades. I'd like to see a souped-up Fox from the '50s, from some alternate universe.

shordzi said...

What a wonderful story of friendship in the typosphere! The Fox portable is on my wishlist, too.

Jasper Lindell said...

I don't think it was possible to over do it with the photos!

These copyright infringing typewriters are like the pirated data on the net today, perhaps. Just, pirated data isn't quite so nice to look at.