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Wednesday 16 April 2014

Close Encounter with a 1875 Sholes & Glidden (No 831)

Aside from the Federal, which caused more trouble than the effort and expense of going to Sydney was bloody well worth, the primary objective of my visit to the Powerhouse Museum was to find the serial number on the museum's Sholes & Glidden.
Dennis Clark. All typewriters lovers would be doing themselves a favour by reading the fascinating "Collector's Corner" interview with Dennis, which can be found by downloading a PDF of the September 2003 edition of ETCetera, No 63, here. (Back then, Dennis had seven Sholes & Gliddens!)
A very long time ago, I had promised Dennis Clark, of Connecticut - one of the world's leading typewriter collectors (he's been collecting since 1968) - that I would one day return to the Powerhouse and find the serial number of its Sholes & Glidden. This priceless typewriter was given to the Powerhouse by the Chartres company (Remington agents in Australia 1911-1962) in 1940.
Happily, on my second close inspection of the Sholes & Glidden I was able, by following Dennis's directions, to find and confirm the serial number is 831. That means it was made in 1875 (the first 550 S & Gs were, I gather, made in 1874).
Of course, quite apart from finding the serial number, taking the Sholes & Glidden out from where it is moth-balled in the vaults of the museum was a great chance for Powerhouse typewriter curator Matthew Connell and myself to take a very good look over the 139-year-old machine. The artwork on it is exquisite - especially where the paintings have been protected from the elements over the years (such as inside the front and back flaps).
My friend Matthew Connell has the enviable job of being curator of the Powerhouse Museum's wonderful collection of typewriters. What typewriter collector anywhere in the world wouldn't want to swap places with him? (He also looks after 19th century telegraphic equipment, recording machines and gramophones. Wow! What fun!)
December 15, 1875, advert in The Nation


Scott K said...

What is actually known about the artwork on these typewriters? Who painted them? What are the variations?

Richard P said...

Wonderful object. It's considerably nicer than my own S&G.

I've heard that every S&G has a unique combination of hand-painted decorations and decals. Impossible to prove, of course, since many have not survived.

Ryan Adney said...

Wonderful typewriters. I only wish I could be in the same room with one.