Loyal TEV reader EG alerts me to this interesting story in my own backyard. Steve Soboroff, a fellow resident of the Palisades, has an interesting collection of manual typewriters. What the collection lacks in size, it more than compensates for in historical interest:
'People collect all kinds of things, but these are really rare,' says Soboroff, whose writing machines include those once owned by Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw, Tennessee Williams and Jack London. His most recent acquisition came mid-June, when he purchased a typewriter once owned by one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived: the Beatles' John Lennon.
In my day, I was quite the manual typewriter fetishist myself. At peak I probably had a dozen or so of them, but over the years I've gradually shed all but a handful, which I share below for fellow obsessives.
I wish I could remember the story behind the Royal typewriter pictured above but I can't. A garage sale find, most likely but I've kept it all these years because I love the slimness of the thing. It's just small enough that I can imagine a roving correspondent lugging it around the world. (It does work, by the way - all of them do.)
The Olivetti Lettera 22 pictured above is en Ebay purchase, bought in a fit of sentimentality. The Lettera 22 was MOTEV's typewriter when I was growing up, and I typed many a school paper on it (yes, I'm that old) before it was replaced by a brutally efficient if monstrous IBM Selectric.
The Remingon pictured above is probably my favorite remaining typewriter, for a number of reasons. It's a French model (note the keyboard), and the purple-blue ribbon always makes me smile. But I suspect my affection has to do with the circumstances of the purchase. On my first extended trip to Paris, I made a pilgrimage to the Marche aux Puces on bright. early Sunday morning. The market is truly overwhelming, an endless mix of cheap disposable goods and high end antiques. I was browsing in one of the stalls when the typewriter caught my eye. Somehow, with my then less-than-basic French, I managed to haggle the proprietor down a few hundred francs. (At least, I think I did - my French was so poor, for all I know I bid myself in the wrong direction.) But I left the market happily with my typewriter.
Unfortunately, the Metro entrance was completely blocked by hordes of bargain hunters and there was not a taxi to be found. So with my VERY heavy typewriter I began the long walk back to St. Germain. Somehow, two hours later, I trudged up the stairs of my apartment, my enthusiasm undimmed. (I was young then - today I suspect I would have ditched it in a poubelle after five blocks.) Of course, I got to repeat the whole thing lugging it through airport terminals on the way home. But it's remained with me to this day, and if you ever receive a purple-blue typewritten note from me that contains an accent grave, you'll know what it was written on ...
Posting will resume when I return from New York. Until then.