18 February 2012

Typewriters: An Interest or Obsession?

But seriously, it is not a major issue for me. I have sold some and hope to sell/trade the ones I am not using. I have the extra Brailler on eBay and people have bid on it, so that is as good as sold. The ones I do not think keychoppers will mutilate may go on eBay too, but I'd prefer to handle it more personally so it isn't just a cold business transaction. So if you are interested in what I have listed as available, let me know.

The Etsy.com purchase in hindsight (an hour of hindsight) was a bit superfluous, but it was so cheap and relatively close. If it works as stated, it will be a good typewriter to give away or even to sell or trade. But I will use it and take some pictures. It won't be entirely unique to me, as I have a special version of it, the Lettera 33, but having a regular Lettera 32 will be interesting. At least I can compare them. I have had two different Lettera 22s (one early model and one later) and they had some differences, and the Sears Courier has a quite different feel from both of those. Despite being similar in construction, there are differences.

That is one thing about typewriters people miss: they are all the same in purpose, but not in their use. They are more like instruments than tools. That is perhaps why people only used one at a time. To switch requires a different technique/rhythm. Now, for my main typewriters, my Corona Silent and Smith-Corona Silent and my Skyriter, they are very good and what I am more used to using. When I use other typewriters, I have to adapt to them more and that can colour my view of that typewriter. That is perhaps why my appreciation of the Smith-Corona portables, started with a Smith-Corona Galaxie Twelve, and has expanded to cover most of the line now (from the first to the last and most of the middle ones. I am only missing the Corona Four and Corona flattop design). They have a continuous design history and it is consistent to use similar typewriters, whereas switching to an Olivetti or Olympia takes more work. That may be the reason why I do not like them as much. Mechanically, the Lettera 22 was great to use, but I just preferred my Skyriter (I viewed the Lettera 22 as being of the same class, trying to be flat and highly portable, and since I preferred typing on the Skyriter and it was even more portable, the Skyriter won).

Well, for those who understand the "obsession", perhaps you can appreciate that you (we?) are at least preserving history that might otherwise be lost. In the future, perhaps our collections will be not just appreciated by others but actually useful to others. If the lights go out, who else will be able to type but us? Few others are prepared to prepare typed documents without electricity. Or less drastic, for others who want to use these typewriters, perhaps for the same reasons I do, or perhaps just a historical interest (or both).

For those who are just starting to read or use typewriters, well, perhaps my blog and those of others will show you there is a lot more to experience and that there is always more to try out and use. You have to pick what you can. I highly recommend you explore what you can, but please do so with control. It is too easy to snatch things up as if there will be no more. Yes, eventually, there may be no more, but in general, another one will come up. I happened to find my Corona 3 in a condition that I did not hope to find, and for a price I do not hope to find again, but in reality, I looked one day for a Corona 3 and found this one. There are always new offerings...perhaps someone will get a Corona 3 in a condition like mine for only a few dollars (or euros, or whatever they happen to use) at some other venue. I had sought a Lettera 32 a while back, and I didn't find any I wanted to get, but I just happened to find one in a condition and price which are very good.

We should remember that, especially when browsing listings.

Now, if anybody sees me browsing Etsy or eBay without purpose, please distract me! Luckily, I have a Brailler and box going, so my net money and space issue is actually in my favour (getting more money and space than will be consumed by the Lettera 32). But the next time I may not be so lucky.

I will post on the new Smith-Corona coming when I get it. It will be neat to try out something entirely new. I have much to learn for it...I have nothing similar to it. A typewriter with a spell check? Impossible!


  1. Very nice post.
    I'm happy you are the person who bought the Lettera 32. I also have this habit of if I see one and the price is right I will buy one. I held off on the Letter 32. Collecting? Obsessing? Hoarding? Well, I often wonder why I ever decided to get another typewriter (about a dozen or two ago). And I still only have one of many other things.

  2. I'd say you have crossed the line into Obsession Land.

    That's where I live too.

  3. You saw it too?

    I only went there to look at the pictures...I swear! They shouldn't put that on the first page like that.

    It isn't quite obsession, as I've been able to sell a typewriter for each new one I get, so I am not increasing anything. I am hovering right at the line I think. Also, I have found that a good working Olivetti is a good thing to trade for a Smith-Corona...

    There are enough weird people out there who think Olivettis are better, and Smith-Coronas are easier to get in the USA.

  4. Typewriters: An Interest or Obsession?