Thursday, July 12, 2012

Retro Tech Sightings - July 2012

I am off to Zurich on Saturday, presumably to attend a friend's wedding, but I'll be sure to get there a few hours before the church service so I can tour a couple of flea markets and make the most of the train ticket (not to mention an almost six-hour return journey). I can't help it; I feel a journey is wasted if I don't take advantage of it to sniff out some retro tech sightings, even if I don't end up buying anything. I have high hopes for Zurich, as Lausanne ended up being quite sleepy, despite the rather exciting retrieval of my Singer Featherweight. Their flea market yielded only one typewriter:

Yawn. In Geneva, this is the sort of thing that gets tossed out in the trash. And I know that because I found one back in February...

The thrift store did yield at least one unusual - and really cool-looking - '50s sewing machine from Italy, a two-tone Vigorelli.

 An ornate Original Victoria hand crank, which at almost CHF 300, I was sure had become a permanent fixture at the store. Beautiful decals.

Back in Geneva, this sturdy Pfaff 130 has been at our Salvation Army for a few weeks. First with the table, but then I just discovered someone bought the table from under it and left the machine forlornly resting on a bench. Ah, well, can't save 'em all.

A very interesting Hermes 2000 - from the '30s - '40s, when they were mostly all glossy black, but this one had dark green crackle paint and green keys! Absolutely stunning, but hard to photograph in the glare of the sun. The CHF 40 the seller was asking didn't seem too bad, either.

 Another green beauty from the '40s was this Bernina KL117, one of the very first zigzag sewing machines made. I am learning a lot about these and I am pleasantly surprised by the good variety of machines that turns up locally.

Take this Singer 320k, or example, which I gazed wistfully at for a full five minutes, even engaging in idle banter with the seller (who was asking CHF 150!).  At that price I could only afford to look - and I made sure to take lots of pictures too. Love the pastel paint.

Unusual and well-priced typewriters have been a bit scarce lately - this perfectly ordinary, if well-preserved, Hermes 2000 was being offered for CHF 80.

This Dora was less expensive, but still not quite a steal at CHF 25.

What was under this dome? It shall remain a mystery - I was fairly certain it would turn out to be a very interesting typewriter - this one, in fact - but the seller claimed he could not open it and did not care to interrupt his conversation with his colleague about their upcoming pizza lunch to help us figure it out. Now that I see the Typo on Typewriter House Collector's site, I'm a bit bummed I didn't get to take a picture of it, as it is certainly photogenic!

I have a lot of typing to catch up on, but since I'll be on the train for six hours this weekend, I plan to revive my fountain pens for a couple of long-overdue letters and perhaps even a pencast or two. Happy Friday (in advance), all!

14 comments:

  1. Oooh, that Typo is a fun find - how much did the seller want for it? Are you sad now not to have grabbed it?

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    1. No, I don't mind at all. I am sad I didn't insist more on at least taking a look; that would have been a nice picture to get. As it is I picked up two little sewing machines on the same day, so my carrying capacity was all used up - especially as we were biking! The Typo is much too large for my tiny apartment as well - I could fit my whole kitchen under that dome :).

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    2. Ahh, but see the mad jealousy and desire you have stirred up by merely finding it and taking a picture! There are half a dozen folks probably cruising travel agency websites pricing tickets to Switzerland right now. :D

      Let's hope Shordzi gets it soon before anyone actually books a flight (:

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  2. AH! The Typo! Go back, go back! Hell, if you don't want it I will pay for it and shipping. Wouldn't open it? Huh, what a jerk. I cannot stand sellers like that at flea markets, the ones that make it seem as though you are bothering them. Hey, I'm just trying to buy some of your junk!

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  3. OH OH OH OH OH!!!! The typo! So cooooool.

    IT seems to be raining Hermes there. Feel like flicking some our way?

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  4. dang. I'll chime in too, picking up the Typo and trying to move it would have probably gotten a reaction. So cool.

    Hey check for the Hermes 2000 I had to leave behind in Zurich. I may want it after all if it's good.

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  5. PLEASE Adwoa I need the serial numbers of these machines. The green Hermes is spectacular.

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  6. Oh God, the Typo - maybe still for sale for 50 francs? i must go there this week-end.

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    1. Good luck, Georg! I will not be here to welcome you as my train to Zurich will probably cross yours coming in, but you know where to find the market :) I am sure you will be able to note down a few serial numbers, and who knows, perhaps the Typo sellers might still have it and you can show them how to open the case. Not sure how much they would ask for it, though.

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  7. Wow, beautiful Typo, that's an interesting machine :-D

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  8. The Typo's case is already spectacular, I hope Georg will be able to show us what's inside. ;)

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  9. Hello there, I stumbled across your blog because I was searching on the internet for some help with my Olivetti Valentine. It is a very long shot, but the problem with my Valentine is that when I type on it, for some reason the letters are typed out with half again underneath them (if that makes sense!). I have no idea what is wrong with it, and it seems to have only happened since I replaced the ribbon a while ago. If you have any idea what I could do to attempt to fix this, I would much appreciate it :) thank you for considering!

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    1. Hi Hannah - Sorry about the late response; did you manage to find a solution? You may have threaded the ribbon incorrectly. Please see the diagrams on this page on how to replace a ribbon properly: http://willdavis.bravehost.com/Ribbons.html

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