My parents live in rural South Carolina, same house where I grew up. There are lots of older folks out there, pack rat folks, and also a lot of families who are starting to inherit their old homesteads and clean out the attics/barns.
With that in mind, I sent out the alert to my dad: please keep an eye out for vintage typewriters and fountain pens. Affordable antique fountain pens are tough to find these days. Typewriters are even trickier, thanks to rise of keychoppers – artists who clean old typewriters off thrift store shelves and cut the keys off to make jewelry.
That means that the typewriters are getting a lot more rare, and that prices have skyrocketed: both to capitalize on the keychopping trend, and to protect nicer specimens for collectors.
Anyway. Let’s just say I’ve lost a lot of auctions. And I haven’t wanted to buy a typewriter online, anyway. I do dream of someday spending big money on a pristine Olympia SM3, which I’ll have to order from a pro, but for one of these that I want to spruce up myself, I need to mess with it first. Or to have my dad mess with it.
I was up past dawn playing Mass Effect. I’d just listened to Episode 4 of In The Dark – it’s outstanding – and had finally fallen asleep, when my dad started blowing up my phone.
At first, I panicked, because that’s just how I roll.
But he was sending photos, and then called to say he’d asked his consignment-shop-owning friend to keep an eye out. He asked if I wanted this typewriter for Christmas, and yes, I did and I do, and here’s a photo of it on his washing machine at home.
I called it a beast; Shawn took one look and called it a beast, so I figure that’ll be its name. Or Bess. I don’t often name things, but this machine just begs for a name.
I have the serial number: it’s a 1928 Underwood Model 3 with 11″ carriage, and I can not wait to get with the tinkering.