In mid-October, I attended the Typewriter Jamboree at Herman’s in West Virginia. This is my third time there, and I get so much out of it. I had a really good time re-connecting with those I’ve met before, meeting new typewriter people, geeking out over interesting typewriters and repairs, laughing my fool head off over typewriter-related antics. Really, where else would you get all that kind of typewriter-related fun?
Unfortunately I didn’t take a lot of pictures. It was huge crowd—the biggest group at Herman’s ever, I think. I took a couple pictures absent-mindedly, neither of which capture the event or its energy. There’s a Twitter feed I enjoy called Uninteresting Photographs and my pictures would not be out of place there. Sorry, people. This is all I have from what was in reality a very exciting time.
Here’s one picture. This is an awards ceremony, but it looks like Two Turntables and a Microphone with Richard Polt throwing in a funky dance move:
And here is an uninteresting photo of a presentation on 3D printing that was really terrific.
Ok, poor photojournalism notwithstanding, I brought home a couple typewriters: a distressed 1922 Underwood 5 and a super cute made-in-Holland 1962 Royal Signet with typing issues.
The Signet had typebars sticking up on the outer segment that collided with other typebars.
I thought at first that there were bent connectors and tried adjusting the little wires that connect the sublevers with the typebars. I fiddled and fiddled and fiddled. And then I thought, what if it’s just dirty? The segment was clean as a whistle, but this area was gummy:
Cleany, cleany, cleany and hey those typebars behaved themselves and quietly returned to their proper homes with each key stroke.
I really enjoy watching Phoenix Typewriter’s typewriter repair videos —they are so relaxing after a long day in the salt mines. Duane J. uses automotive-strength lacquer thinner in a little squeeze bottle, so I got some of my own:
I cleaned those nooks and crannies very carefully, making sure I didn’t get any lacquer thinner on the exterior paint.
The Underwood 5 from Herman’s that Mr. E gave me for almost nothing will also need an intensive cleaning.
Let’s take a look at this Underwood 5. Cracked platen: check:
Crusty typebars: check.
Generalized ancient dirt: check.
Dog food stuck in the guts: check. At least I hope that’s dog food.
Yes, this looks like my type of machine. Weirdly, it still sort of types. I love these old tanks.
The holidaze are fast approaching and as people of my generation (Gen X: the Coolest Generation, the forgotten middle child of generations) say, “Party On!”
On December 14 there’s a DC area meet up at the Sterling, VA public library from 12-3PM. Following that, I am hosting a casual drop-in holiday open house from 4PM – 9PM for family, friends, neighbors (Lawful Good) and that unpredictable element, the typoshpherians of the DC area (Chaotic Good). I think it should be fine—low probability of swearing, fistfights, and police activity.
Many thanks to Jonathan Typewriter Posey who posted the events on the Facebook DC/VA/MD Antique Typewriter Collectors page. I don’t use Facebook much, so I am indebted to him:
If you are here in the DC area and want to stop in at my place for the Holiday Open House & Typewriter Party, let me know. I can send details, or you can check the events page if you are a member of the DC/VA/MD group.
The open house provides me with an opportunity to pull out my small collection of mostly portables, many of which don’t get enough exercise and are getting flabby and outta shape. Here’s a list of typewriters I am going have on hand—most are durable former junkers and will be suitable for a mixed-age audience:
- 1956 Smith Corona Silent-Super (pink)
- 1957 Smith Corona Silent-Super (blue)
- 1964 Voss De Luxe
- 1963 Hermes 3000
- 1957 Torpedo 18a
- 1961 Rheinmetall KsT
- 1955 Royal QDL
- 1962 Royal Signet
- 1967 Consul 232
- 1937 Royal 10/Regal rebuild
- 1940 Royal KHM
- 1970ish SCM Coronet
- 1922 Underwood 5 (if I can get it running)
I think I have another couple I could dig out, and I hope to have that Underwood 5 up and running. I left my big standards in California with my son, but I wish I had them for the party in Arlington, especially the Remington KMC, the Olympia SG3, the Olivetti Lexikon 80. They are crowd pleasers.
I worked this past weekend, organizing my garage which is where I’ll set out tables and typewriters for the open house.
Me, the world’s oldest teenager, sings at the top of my lungs: