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Wednesday 12 August 2020

David Lawrence and Eden Typewriters, Auckland, New Zealand: What a Wonderful Experience!


A nice welcome from David Lawrence in Auckland, New Zealand.
It's on one of his favourite typewriters to use, the Imperial Model D.
It was with great sadness that I learned from David Lawrence this morning that Eden Typewriters in Auckland, New Zealand, will be moving from the wonderful and cosy little nook it has on Lisnoe Avenue in Mount Eden. As I've mentioned here before, David is probably the last full-time, fully-qualified typewriter technician left in the Southern Hemisphere, and he's an absolute top-notch expert on the ins and outs of writing machines. His passion for typewriters of all eras (including electronics), and his commitment to carrying out the highest quality work on them, is a sheer delight for visitors like me to see and experience first-hand. His ongoing well-being is critical to all of us!
David will have been ensconced on Lisnoe Avenue with his typewriter sales and repair business for eight years by the time the overarching company, Environ, closes down next Christmas. Happily, David is confident he will be able to establish Eden Typewriters elsewhere in Auckland, a city where entrepreneur Richard Benjamin Wiseman started selling Remingtons on Hobson Street away back in September 1876. It would be such a shame to break that 144-year sequence. David was planning to retire when he turns 65 next April, but who knows what new lease on life a change of address may bring him? Perhaps he might have time to find that friendly agent in Germany, who can ship him even more gorgeous European portables.
David’s news was a huge jolt for me. I had visited him at Eden Typewriters back in March, at the start of a scheduled four-week tour of New Zealand with my wife Harriet. That trip was cut short when the spread of Covid-19 looked likely to block us from returning to Australia (in hindsight, given how well New Zealand has dealt with coronavirus, we may well have been safer staying there). All the while I had been intending to post about David and Eden Typewriters on this blog, but one thing led to another and the Eden Typewriters post kept being put back. The longer I held off, the more I fretted about not being able to do justice to David and his incredible workplace. With today’s announcement from David, I regret those delays. But here, at long, long last, is my tour of Eden Typewriters:
And a nice entry point to a typewriter shop.
The Lawrence workbench, always a clutter of industry and high-class workmanship.
 David is a lot more game than I am about removing typeslugs and working
on them, always seeking absolute perfection.
 There are typewriters and parts everywhere, in every nook and cranny. The typewriters shown here are but a few of those in store.
David still regrets selling the one that had the nickle-rim keytops.
See below for what he let go.
David imported four of these massive Olympia SG3s from overseas (they were made in Mexico) and only has one left. They came in their original crates, never having been used. Back rollers and all!
What sort of typewriter shop would it be without a copy of Richard Polt's book? 
 The big typewriter cleaning and dust clearing machine.
One of David's favourite portables, and one I hadn't seen before, the Brother Opus 900. Beautiful to use, wonderful design and top-class engineering, including the case.
Another Brother I hadn't previously encountered, and a fantastic futurist daisywheel typer, the Personal Type. So light, compact and gorgeous, with so many innovative features, such as the paper feed.
Above, Albertine Jonas at the Imperial Model D. Below, the Gossen Tippa David sold:
In the coming weeks I'm planning to blog with some more images of typewriters David has worked on (he's also an expert photographer!), as well as some of his handy hints on repair jobs (such as the mainspring).

6 comments:

Richard P said...

What a wonderful little tour. I wish him great success in his new location.

Bill M said...

Thanks for the tour. I look forward to seeing what else you post from your visit. I bid him the best of success in settling in to his new location.

Ted said...

Wow, that is certainly the *cleanest* typewriter shop I've ever seen. Most of them seem to have given up cleaning the shop in the 80's. :D

Julio Di Nocco. said...

Hola, mi infancia y escuela primaria se desarrolló en el campo, Argentina, provincia de Buenos Aires, lápiz negro y tinta en frascos para escribir con pluma fueron hasta los 20 años mis instrumentos de escritura, llegado a Servicio Militar obligatorio en 1966, conocí las primeras maquinas de escribir en el Colegio Militar que forma los oficiales del ejercito argentinos, los primeros golpes a las teclas eran la apertura a un mundo de tecnología, sofisticado para mi persona, sin estudios secundarios hasta hoy. Años mas tarde trabaje con un amigo el cual realizaba colaboraciones a periódicos pequeños, y comencé a utilizar una Olivetti Linea 88, desde ya utilizando el dedo índice como único indicador de caracteres, encontre este Blog y me impacto saber que aun existen tecnicos dedicados a esta maravillas de aquellos tiempo. Tengo 75 años y escribo desde una PC con acceso a todo el mundo, y creo la tecnología utilizada para la cultura es maravillosa. Saludo afectuosamente a quienes pueda leer este post.

David Lawrence said...

Ah, thanks very much Robert!

The highlight of my time, a visit from the inimitable Ozzy-Ex-Pat-Kiwi literary legend himself, the last, true, real, live Investigative Journalist!

I read Roberts articles even if they are about some sporting arcana completely outside my ken, purely for his veracity and ethos, in the vein of Hemm and Fitzy, "The man can string words together!"

Meeting the wonderful Robert and the wonderful Harriet was a very real treat, and one I hope to repeat at some stage, possibly in his [adopted] Oz Stralia!

One of the tentative future plans is a 'gypsy tinker' one, a large stand-up height van with a bed, workbench, and shelves, and tour New Zealand fixing and buying and selling Type Writing Machines all over the place...

Robert Messenger said...

For non-Spanish speakers, Julio's comment reads:
Hello, my childhood and elementary school took place in the countryside, Argentina, Buenos Aires province, black pencil and ink in jars to write with a pen were my writing instruments until I was 20 years old, I arrived at compulsory military service in 1966, I knew the The first typewriters at the Military College formed by the Argentine army officers, the first hits on the keys were the opening to a world of technology, sophisticated for me, without high school studies until today. Years later I worked with a friend who made contributions to small newspapers, and I started using an Olivetti Line 88, already using the index finger as the only character indicator, I found this Blog and I was shocked to know that there are still technicians dedicated to this wonders of those times. I am 75 years old and I write from a PC with access to the whole world, and I think the technology used for culture is wonderful. I warmly greet those who can read this post.