Friday, July 27, 2012

Central Phoenix Typewriter Hunting

Being a teacher you are on your feet all day. With all that standing I tend to wear through a pair of shoes in the course of one school year. Almost every summer I have to take my shoes down to my regular cobbler and have them resoled. Fun shoe fact: the Prince of Wales has had the same pair of black oxfords made by John Lobb of St. James for the past 40 years. He keeps having them patched and shined and they'll last a lifetime. But, enough about shoes.

While I was in the area I thought it would be nice to go to a few antique stores and see what I could find in the way of typewriters. I didn't find much, and what I did find was pretty boring, but it was fun hunting none-the-less.

The only bright spot was finding this Gestetner duplicator. I have no idea what it would take to get it working, but it was in nice shape and only $65. There seems to be a large plasticized canvas sheet that has disintegrated with time. Perhaps it keeps the stencil stretched taught over the drums. I have no idea even where you would get the parts to make it work. But if you could it would be fun. Repeat-O-Type has inks and stencils. Anyway, here it is:


  1. That Gestetner looks really neat. I would love to see it in action. Typewriters have opened a whole world of office technology to me, and stuff like that gets me real excited.
    Even if I don't come across anything good, I love the thrill of the hunt. It definitely keeps the collecting just never know whats around that corner or under that table.

  2. if you happen to see an AB Dick 350 anywhere, give me a shout posthaste - I think spirit duplicators are useless these days, what with the flimsy, disintegrating parts and obsolete chemistry - but a nice tabletop offset press would be immense fun to play with :D

    1. The chemistry is not so obsolete. Tattoo artists use the same kind of master sheets for their artwork. The can draw it once and make many copies. The spirit is just an alcohol and there are non-hazardous versions of the spirit available (Repeat-O-Type).. Even mimeograph inks are still available. Portland, OR is a center for spirit duplicating and mimeopgraphing.

  3. oh, and what's so boring about a Remington Noiseless, an Olympia SM3 and a '49 QDL? :D

  4. If you start handing out mimeographed sheets to your students, you will be an even hotter teacher.

  5. Ted, I was about to ask the same thing. Also, if you're that interested, I have a couple of Edison Rotary Mimeographs.

  6. Mimeographed hand-outs. Now that would be a real eye opener. Are the stencils & fluid still available.

    None of the machines made it back to the classroom?

    I agree with Ted.

  7. Mimeographs and chalkdust. Ah, the good old days are gone forever. Now, let's talk a bit about that sleek little Remington you passed up...

  8. Mid-70s and pre-Xerox, all my geography handouts were "Roneo'd" but actually done on the school Gestetner. A freshly copied batch of climatology symbols, for example, always had us sniffing the solvent and pretending to be high. The coach through west London driving into the centre always took you pat the Gestetner showroom & UK HQ.

  9. Sorry - I know that this thread is a little old, but I'm just catching up with the Typosphere (and there is a lot to catch up on).

    I wanted to say: I have an even older Gestetner Duplicator, which is a joy to behold, and is still in working order. I might get it out and dust it off now that I have been reminded about it on your blog.