Three things: 1. While hosting a party for friends, I pulled them out to show them what I had, I had 22 typewriters and some of them are pretty neat. I realized what cool machines I had pulling them out. 2. I have recently decided to commit to a '20s/'30s lifestyle (long story, subject to another post) and already collect antique phonographs, so I started thinking about these machines I have stuffed away and how it was such a waste not to appreciate them and display them and type on them. 3. I went to the Midwest Antique Phonograph and Music Box Show (another post topic) and looking at all those old machines made me yearn again to appreciate and put out what I already had. I have a decent collection of typewriters; why not work with them again?
Collectors tend not to specialize in just one item. And this is especially so in the phonograph collector community. One friend of mine collects old and fixes old radios and telephones. Another is into vintage lamps. It's a sickness. So it kicked into high gear because of two events. First, I went to Southeast Missouri (Norwood to be exact) to pick up and old Edison cylinder phonograph (yet another story) and on the way back stopped in several antique malls, since I would not be that way again and these were very remote stores. In the last one, I saw it: A Smith Premier No. 10 typewriter in excellent condition. I have wanted a Smith Premier since I started collecting. They're beautiful machines and a little weird as they have two full alphabet keys (no shift mechanism for them!). I had to have it. And the price was right. So I got it.
Second, on Craigslist, I found a local ad for a lady who was selling her son's typewriter collection (with his consent). In that, I saw an Underwood Standard Portable three-row, a Corona Three, and a Hermes Baby (the predecessor to the Rocket). For prices that beggared the imagination. So I went to her house and picked up all three for $110.
I've been wanting an Underwood three-row for as long as I've been collecting. I wanted it more than the Smith. In my mind, it was the Holy Grail of typewriters (besides a Hammond #1 or Crandall). Prior to them coming out, Corona had the crown of the microsized portable typewriter of quality. When the Underwood three-row came out, it boasted a full keyboard with upper and lower case and a host of figures and symbols. And although small, it was sturdy and well-made. And they are becoming increasingly rare and desirable nowadays. Later, they came out with a four-row typewriter, which I must have, but it doesn't have the simple beauty and mechanical ingenuity of the three-row.
I came home, set them up on my console and brought some up from the basement.
My collection is now on display.
Now to find displays for the others.
More to follow.....