Hi, JVC. (It took me a while to realise this was Joe Van Cleave himself! The maker of all those fabulous typewriter videos!) You mention cursive typewriters (I have an Olympia Traveller Deluxe cursive) but are there also italics typewriters, like cursive but the letters not joined up? I’ve never seen one advertised. If anyone would know, I figured it would be you. It’s just about my last excuse for buying a 15th typer. (That, and a 13 or 14 cpi, which one also never sees.) Sorry to bother you. I promise not to ask any more questions.
Leo, I am not Joe. The short entry from him is after mine, so I can understand your confusion. He signs his work JVC@ABQ, while mine is !&?. As for your questions, ask away, don’t be shy. You are very lucky to have that Olympia cursive, that is a good machine and to have that font is a gem. I saw an italic Olympia SM7 on eBay recently and had just bought another machine so didn’t bid, and I am kicking myself a bit for that. Mind you, I am more interested in cursive than italic typeface. 15 machines is a good collection size! Shows that the bug has bitten you too. Why do you have 15 and not 1? There must be some reason for that.
Hi !&? Sorry about that, and thanks for the reply. I wish I’d seen that listing (if it was in the UK). Turns out I already have 15 and the italic would be my 16th. I clean forgot about my communist Erica Daro 42 typer. Why that many? And all purchased since February 2021 after going 25 years without using one? Well, one’s for poetry (and it depends on the poem), another’s for a novel, yet another for another novel, cursive to annoy my friends with letters, elite to get more words on the page, one’s for writing in Spanish, another’s for German (which I don’t speak) for copying out poems by Celan, another’s for French…then there’s the feel. I used to be an Olivetti Studio 45 guy – 2 of those- but my Olympia Traveller De Luxe is even smoother, and the Olivetti 31 has a great feel, too. I’ve got a couple of duds: an Empire Aristocrat that leaves me cold (Hermes Baby by another name – surely the most over-rated typer of all time?) and an Oliver portable that I keep meaning to get fixed. It’s all about the Oli’s and the Oly’s, I guess. But why fifteen? Well, a man should have a hobby. “Type-Face” is mainly written on a Royal QDL made in New York in 1946, and the story is set in New York in 1946, so at least that makes sense…Sorry to go on so but you did ask…
As a fellow collector I could read stuff like this all day. Without really trying I have ended up with 3x Baby’s and an Aristocrat. They are all slightly different in feel, which goes to show that a specific example of a make/model can be different to others. Yours might just need a good service? I love the form factor and they are absolutely my go-to when it comes to a travel typewriter. But if I am at home, I won’t use one, or at least very rarely. Maybe if I go onto the back deck to type or something. Anyway, I’d say they are good without being great. If I am prepared to carry something just slightly bigger I’d go the Smith-Corona Silent Super, which is an awesome machine and well worth getting. Feels “loose” compared to an Olympia, but somehow that is a good thing. Probably not easy to find one in the UK, or here in Oz, but they are all over the place in the US. The other interesting one might be the Facit TP2, with the smoothest carriage you will ever use. I’ve not tried a Studio 45, but my opinion of Olivetti’s in general is not all that high. I could be wrong on that, and I think the 45 is probably a decent machine, at least. Olivetti’s just seem to be a bit too much form over function? I love my Olymipas too, and I am fortunate to have a gorgeous burgundy SM2, but the platens on these are always as hard as rocks and consequently they sound like whip cracks when you type. If you can find a cheap Remington 11/12/16 or an Imperial 50 or a Royal 10/KHM/KMM, I’d give them a go too — the old standards are something else. I didn’t want to go there initially but I am glad I did. So many good machines to explore.
You might be right about the Hermes but it’s hard to get anything fixed in London – the one guy in all of London that I knew who fixed typers is in his late 80s and hospitalised. And all the ones online charge an arm and a leg, so one might as well buy a machine that’s already been restored. I’ve never paid more than £150 for a machine, and that’s in perfect working order. The others range from £40-£130. I can do a little cleaning, and get a bell to start working, and spray-paint a machine if it’s a two-piece disassembly but that’s about it. And I’m glad in a way because once I start tinkering, all is lost – writing on them is the main thing, at least 500 words per day since that fateful day in February 2021. These old machines have given me my most productive year ever. Right now, I love the look of the Olivetti Studio 44, in teal, from 1963. Good night (or good morning).
W.G. I remember David Keith McCallum Jr. the British actor and musician, who in the 1960s for played secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Catalina: Yes, David McCallum is still going strong, at 89, in NCIS. He’s even older than Mr Waverly (Leo G. Carroll) was in UNCLE. For a couple of years, Vaughan and McCallum were as popular as The Beatles, getting mobbed wherever they went.
Leo, I try to keep my heard of typewriters around about a dozen – started around 2016. That was the year people at work were telling me to see the movie “California Typewriter” filmed in Berkeley, CA. I do like giving typerwriters to young poets and writers that I meet.
Catalina: A dozen sounds right. Maybe a baker’s dozen. Then again, 13 is unlucky, so make that 14. But 15 is more of a rounded number…