Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Held twice a year on the last weekends in April and August, the Aarberg flea market bills itself as "one of the largest" in Switzerland, assembling flea merchants from all corners of the country in an event that has the atmosphere of a fair, complete with food stands every few feet. Attendees hold beer and bratwurst in one hand as they peruse antique wares with the other. Rather convivial, except...
... if you're unfortunate enough to get there on the one day it rains, as happened to us on Saturday. To be fair, it cleared up fairly quickly after we arrived, but the clouds never left and the sellers glanced nervously at the sky every few minutes, shielding their wares with heavy sheets of plastic. It was coming down quite a bit when we first arrived, so I couldn't see much under the plastic and from what I could see, no one had any typewriters. I was about to turn around in despair when I spotted this, a Hermes Baby that had seen such vastly better days it cowered under my disapproving glare.
The fair was in general a bust for typewriter fans - who should really be attending this thing is doll collectors (just about every stand was overflowing with eerily realistic dollhouse furniture). There was also a lot to see for those interested in horology - watches and watch parts made up every fourth stand or so.
While typewriters were not easy to spot, I did manage to gawk at many fine pieces of antique furniture, including several secretaries like this one. Of course, there were many miniature versions too!
Does this count as a typewriter sighting? Do these toys even work? All questions I ask myself as I take a picture anyway, vowing not to return to this market with its hodge podge of model trains and cars, antique porcelain and glassware, and various kitsch objects - really, nothing I couldn't find in Geneva on a fine weekend. I try not to think too much about the train fare I spent to get to Aarberg.
The last typewriter sighting of the day - and the best too, as it was neither a Hermes Baby nor a toy. I seriously debated getting this one, if only as a souvenir from Aarberg, but ultimately I decided against it as I am not such a fan of this boxy form factor (the early Royal portables sport a similar aesthetic, as I recall).
An interesting writing-related find: vintage bottles of Gunther Wagner writing ink (he is the fellow who later went on to purchase and build up Pelikan AG). Authentic? Who knows.
There were many more button accordions to be seen than typewriters! They do look sort of similar, one might say...
I was keen to visit Aarberg because I remember Herr Wepf mentioning that he had found many typewriters there, although perhaps I caught them on a bad day. I was so disappointed at the poor showing that I came back home and headed for our local flea market, where even though it was late in the day and everyone was closing up shop, I promptly found this:
Score. Great price, too. I didn't pick it up though; these days I am being stingy about my limited space. While the festive color and non-Hermes-Baby-ness both appealed to me, I couldn't see myself getting very excited about this plastic, carriage-shifted, late model Remington with a half-broken latch. So I left it behind. It was only a single sighting, but it served to remind me that if I just want to take a couple of pictures of typers in the wild, I don't have to go quite as far as Aarberg*!
*A two-hour journey; not unacceptable, but not very close either.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
A couple of weeks ago, these stenotype machines were all we found after combing the whole market... they count as typewriters, sort of, right?
And that is it! Today, we're off to try our luck at one of Switzerland's largest flea markets. I don't necessarily hope to buy anything, but maybe I'll come back with lots of pictures or at the very least, an interesting story to tell...
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Place de la Riponne, the picturesque setting of the Lausanne flea market.
An Adler Gabriele 35, our only typewriter discovery of the day.
A seller's table is devoted entirely to pens, inks, and all sorts of awesome stuff.
Letter blocks! These look like they would be fun to dip in a big vat of ink and stamp about, don't they?
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
A recent flea market discovery that would be a perfect gift for Mr. Late Shipper.
Whew! I feel much better now that I've gotten this off my chest. Does it take so much effort to send a courteous email, especially after you have received fast and full payment? I don't mind waiting for the package; I just don't appreciate not knowing about the wait. And yet, if it arrives here in relatively good condition I will probably leave positive feedback because I'm a wimp that way (I'll take off a few stars, though). More to come later.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The secretary at work
Mont Blanc bridge!
It's been a fun couple of days of research, learning about desks! For space - and sanity - reasons, I am not going to be collecting these items, as beautiful and "retro tech" as they may be. However, if you would like to see some examples of writing desks I found interesting, take a look at the Google image search results for bonheur du jour, bureau a gradin, lady's writing desk, secretary desk, and Carlton House desk.
What is your desk like?
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Newspapers wrote that Swiss supermarkets and shops had been abandoned for French ones, and vendors that had previously accepted euro payments at a fixed rate - like the public transportation system - disabled that feature when it became clear they were pretty much giving away money. I briefly wondered whether I should go across the border to get a new MacBook Pro. It all went to my head, I admit.
Oh, and how does the pen write? Very nicely, of course. I find the squared-off gold nibs of high-end pens to be trickier to use than plain old steel nibs; you need to hold the pen *just so* for the ink to flow properly.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Georg's site. There is still a Baggenstos A. & Co. office machine company near Zurich listed in the phone directory...
Finally, Willy Scheidegger. More of a typing instructor than a repair shop, but still noteworthy.