Lately, abuse of the typewriters has considerably worsened, and I’m wondering if our famous Bushranger hasn’t sprung from his grave with the aim of using typewriter parts for his protective armour this time around (last time it was plough mouldboards). My concern now is that with the attrition rate the way it is, MoAD will soon have no typewriters at all to provide the public to use.
The most worrying part of all this is that the last three typewriters I had to bring back to my workshop for repairs all had the same problem – someone has smashed the carriage lever mechanism. The Hermes Baby is possibly beyond repair, as it seems to me that part of the mechanism is missing. I don’t have a Baby here to compare it with, so I’ve included two photos in case any readers can tell me exactly what is missing.
I might also be able to jury rig something to get the Adler working again, but, as in the case of the Hermes Baby, it appears some parts have gone missing. I have unscrewed the lever and tried to get the mechanism working again, but so far without luck.
I raised these points with one of the curators and I must confess her thoughtful reply made me pause for thought about all this. She wrote, “I can say with confidence that this space is one of our most popular exhibitions and that is due to the typewriters. The typewriters help facilitate engagement between visitors in a way that objects behind a glass case cannot. This space is special because visitors are given permission to sit and spend time with one another, or with their thoughts that come flowing from the keys as they type. The anonymity that the typewriters allow is important for some visitors. For example, in the exhibition’s letterbox, we receive unaddressed messages from visitors that are deeply, deeply personal. Some have brought tears to my eyes. People just needed to share their thoughts or story with a stranger. The typewriters make this possible. The typewriters help give visitors a voice that they may not have realised they possessed … For every visitor behaving badly there are multiple others who do value the typewriters and use them to connect with themselves and others.”
Fair points, I think …