Thursday, 18 September 2014

The old typewriter.




Forgotten in the dark, at the back of the garage under a layer of dust and grime, probably two layers of dust and grime really; there is a cover for this but after bleaching it and scrubbing it and leaving it outside to dry and air I am not holding out much hope for its survival, the vinyl has become brittle with age. 

How old? 

I can remember the day I got this machine, the day started early, as did all birthdays back then.  We lived in Rheindahlen in West Germany on an RAF base, my mum, dad, twin brothers and me; no pets allowed in our house, it was dust free and every surface gleamed with layers of polish the heady scent of lemon in the air in every room, trying to cover up the faded old tobacco smell of my fathers cigarettes.  My mother hated smoking.  It was stood on the big glass coffee table, the chrome legs gleaming and the table top itself devoid of finger prints even though I was the eldest at 8, and my twin brothers were 4 years younger than me, we knew better than leave sticky prints on that table top. 

No dirt in our house, shoes were removed at the door, the back door, and we had slippers.  Clean and fluffy like the day they were new, so it was a bit sad and forlorn to see this old typewriter with its layers of garage filth.  Its been brought into the house and I cleaned her up with plenty of washing up liquid and hot water, flushing out the bodies of several spiders that had made their home amongst her metal keys and never moved out; it was a delight to find she still works like she did all those years ago, the ribbon still allowing the strike of the keys to make a legible mark on the paper: its hard work using a manual typewriter!!

I have done a bit of research on the internet and found out that this machine is royalty amongst manual typewriters, built to last, a real workhorse of its day, many famous authors bashed out their novels on one of these models: unfortunately its quite a common machine still so in terms of money its not worth a huge amount, although I remember being told it cost the equivalent of £10 second hand back in 1979, but what the Deutschmark conversion would be back then I don't know, makes this machine more of an antique to think that not only was it a foreign currency for us back then but now the DM is an obsolete currency as Germany now uses the Euro. 

I have found a couple of these old relics for sale in the US for around $300 today so maybe in another ...ahem...25 years ...ok...35 years....it will be worth a bit more, a modern antique for my kids, but for now its priceless with its memories of how I learned to type...that A button used to make my little finger ache, thank goodness for modern technology and the ease of the laptop keyboard, having said that my laptop is virtually a modern antique but the keyboard is still much easier than the old Olympia.

I haven't banished her back to the garage, she now sits on the Welsh Dresser, her faded white plastic now a soft cream and her dark grey trim a bit faded, but there she will sit and gather dust......

10 comments:

Jane said...

How quickly technology moves on Laney and yes I can remember how much the a key strained your little finger...fab memories but give me my touch pad keyboard any time! xx

BlueBoxStudio said...

I never mastered touch typing, but got my RSA 1 and 2 on being the fastest 4 finger typist in the class. I had one of these too, and a very old huge office metal typewriter, heaven knows what I needed them for - but upgraded for an Amstrad PCW - now who remembers them?

My Garden Diaries said...

Oh how I wish my home was that clean! I enjoyed reading about how you grew up....so very awesome! And how awesome is this typewriter!!! I love pieces like this! I remember learning to type on my grandmother's old typewriter. I actually typed several papers on it in high school but had to use white out often as I was not the best typer! I hope you hang on to this beauty friend! Wishing you a lovely weekend! Nicole xoxo

tomcat said...

Loving the reminiscences, I am sure you know why the qwerty keyboard is laid out that way - these typewriters were the reason. This takes me back to all our quarters on many bases - a scale e brat I was, my dad was RAF Regiment - later ceremonial drill F/S on QCS at Uxbridge

Izzybeads by Laney said...

and me Jane!! Can't imagine bashing away on Olympia now its so much easier on a flat keyboard.

Izzybeads by Laney said...

Hanging head in serious shame.....I remember the first Amstrad home computer and the hours it took to boot the thing up!

Izzybeads by Laney said...

Nicole, sometimes I wish I was as tidy as my mother, my surfaces gleaming with the sunshine hitting the dust particles and the dog and cat hair covers the furniture, but she works hard at keeping it that tidy and I am fundamentally lazy! I think Olympia is here to stay she has been around the country a few times but now she is back in the house :)

Izzybeads by Laney said...

Tomcat I think my whole life is one big reminisce! I did Google the original layout and tried to get my fingers to work that way, apparently there is no difference in speed just depends on which one you have learnt although QWERTY is more known. Very small world, I too was a RAF Brat and lived on the Uxbridge base :P

tomcat said...

ah, its not about speed as such for typing today - it was a mechanical issue - the speed typists were too fast for the mechanical movements of the hammers - so they jammed all the time - moving the letters to the qwerty layout slowed the typists down so the key hammers did not all jam while trying to hit the ribbon at the same time - you can get a Dvorak keyboard that is ergonomically laid out to allow faster typing - for me that just means I type badly faster !

Izzybeads by Laney said...

ah that would explain why my keys jammed all the time when I typed on there, in my hey day I could do 120 words per minute, or thereabouts, now considerably slower; but still the fastest in the house!