David Lawrence of Eden Typewriters in Auckland, New Zealand, is probably the only full-time, fully-qualified typewriter technician left in the Southern Hemisphere. David not only services and fixes typewriters, he also sells them. Not so long ago he had a visit from a young lady looking to buy a portable, and she spotted a 1963 Hermes Baby (serial number 6012422) going cheap, because somewhere along the way it had lost its ribbon spool cover. “No worries,” said the lady, “I have a 3D printer, I can make one.”
The lady was so proud of her work she sent David photos of it. But neither of us were terribly impressed, for a range of reasons, not least of which is that the typewriter just looked awful. But lo and behold, David has now spotted the machine for sale on TradeMe, New Zealand’s equivalent of eBay. Asking price: $500!!! This lady presumably thinks she's on to a good thing.
The seller says, “A lot of hours have been put in restoring this good looking machine.” Which is not entirely true, since the machine was in excellent working condition when it left David’s workshop. “It’s been thoroughly cleaned inside and outside,” the seller continues. “No mouldy smell or dusts like most other pre-owned typewriters!”
But here is the clincher: “Custom designed top cover, platen knobs and feet to replace the existing parts that were in poor condition (photos of the original knobs indicate otherwise). "3D printed the parts with PLA plastic in olive green colour.” The colour, of course, being one of the main problems I have with it – yucky, to say the least.
The seller says, “Repainted with satin leafy green that matches the original green - feet and baseplate have been refurbished with new lining inside and anti-slip padding.”
But then comes the real punchline: “We can custom make typewriter parts as well. Please check out our website below for more details.” Caveat emptor, as they say in the classics. And it seems they are in New Zealand, for there have been no takers yet.