I picked up this Hermes Baby in late June, during a day trip to Lausanne. It lingered, musty and neglected, in the corner of a thrift store. It smelled moldy, the result of 70-year-old felt. These '40s Hermes Babys are not uncommon in Switzerland, but I can never resist them when I do find one - they are so tiny!
This particular one, with red shift keys, was awfully endearing, so despite the eye-watering stench, I carried it home. I then proceeded to scrub it vigorously in an attempt to sanitize it - a misguided effort, it turns out, because the Hermes logo disappeared right into the soap suds. Ah, well. Live and learn. This drab casing was just begging for a makeover, though, and voila:
RED! Inspired by Richard's bright pink Olympia and Strikethru's pink Hermes Baby, I talked my husband into giving this a go and he obliged. I wanted to complement the red keys, and I think it turned out pretty well. We ended up using a whole can of glossy paint, and applied several coats directly onto the dark grey finish. It seems to have taken pretty well... but we're still leaving it out to "cure", just in case. The original crinkling is still visible, but it doesn't detract from the paint job at all.
Another angle from before:
And here is the same view (or close enough) from after:
We didn't paint over 100% of the grey: the paper table is still intact (didn't want to lose that ruler!), and the bottom and case are untouched. What we did paint is the main shell including hinged ribbon covers, and then the small back piece that covers the bell and margin stops. This means that we sacrificed the part that says Paillard SA, Made in Switzerland, etc... oh, well. When closed, the machine looks like this:
Then it is opened and... surprise! Fire-engine red. Gotta love it.
This has the usual Swiss-French QWERTZ keyboard, and the typeface is pica, 10 characters per inch. Here is a sample I took before the paint job:
I should mention that all the scrubbing did little to diminish the musty smell, so I ended up stripping the bottom of the original wool felt, and replacing it with an entirely odorless synthetic lining that you can see below the keys in the first couple of pictures. It made a huge difference. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the padding in a darker color, so it stands out somewhat. I don't think it's too bad, though.
A view from the top:
How cute is this? It looks like a completely different typewriter. We left the screws unpainted deliberately. Here it is from the side:
I'm listing this in the For Sale category because heaven help me, I have three other metal Hermes Babys. And I slightly prefer the one with a smooth marbled gray finish to this one. Although that might turn up red, too, one of these days :-)
Anyone else who's been waiting to make over a dull typewriter... well, go right ahead. It's really heartening to transform these plain machines into showstoppers! I'm wondering which machine will be our next victim...