Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Typewriter from the Portugese

My poet, thou canst touch on all the notes
God set between His After and Before,
And strike up and strike off the general roar
Of the rushing world a melody that floats
In a serene air purely. Antidotes
Of medicated music, answering for
Mankind's forlornest uses, thou canst pour
From thence into their ears. God's will devotes
Thine to such ends, and mine to wait on thine.
How, Dearest, wilt thou have me for most use?
A hope, to sing by gladly? or a fine
Sad memory, with thy songs to interfuse?
A shade, in which to sing---of palm or pine?
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Typewriters of the 60s and 70s from Holland or Portugal or England, while perfectly lovely machines, seem hollow and empty. They don't have the soul of the earlier ones made in the US or Germany or Switzerland. They represent the last throws of the typewriter industry. Every one stamped out in Mem Martins was a mere shadowy wraith of the Olivers, Quiet Deluxes, Silents that came before. They are a developmental graveyard where every advancement is a gimmick; typebar de-jammers, interchangeable type elements, 3 garish colors. Every one produced is a dollar sign; make money rather than make machines. That's why I like to have them around. These typewriters are the Praetorian guard whispering "Remember, the old replaces the new." They keep it grounded.

No, not that Newport.
My grandfather, who recently moved to the Valley, is a garage sale maven. He has been making the rounds and found this lovely beast for the kids. It came in the largest typewriter case I had ever seen. It was more like an piece of luggage.

How does it type? Well, its much like putting a metal plate on the ground and beating it with a ball-peen hammer. It does have a light carriage return and one of those neat key de-jammers. It is a carriage shift machine. I have remarkably few carriage shift machines in the collection and the Skyriter is the only other one. I can see why on that machine, but a CS on something so large is strange. Also, the shift key on the right-hand side is better than the shift on the left-hand side. Left shift works well. Right shift offers some wacky alignment. The carriage doesn't seat well when you use the right shift. I'll have to do a little adjusting for it to be perfect.

Are you hungry for some guacamole?
I read, via Will Davis' site that, this Sears Newport is really an Messa (as in our production is a mess-a). The same machine could be had from Royal, Brother or ABC with minor variations in color. While it may not be as classy as a '38 Corona Sterling, it is an honest typewriter that will now be put to work.