The first step in denying addiction is to proclaim that you don’t have a problem.
I pared the collection down from eleven typewriters in varying conditions to five typewriters in perfect working order. All of them have been serviced and overhauled. The oldest one is 76 years old, the youngest 45 (and at that still older than its current owner.)
Clockwise from top left:
- Olympia SM9, 1966. Utterly reliable machine; the Mercedes-Benz of typewriters. If I had to bang out a 100,000-word novel using only a manual, that’s the machine I’d pick for the task.
- Royal KHM, 1935. The platen is hard as a rock, but still grabs paper, and the KHM is still mechanically sound. The biggest and heaviest of my manuals, and the most solid-feeling one of the bunch. This was an old shop find, and a birthday present from my wife for my 37th birthday.
- Royal DeLuxe Portable, 1935. The portable brother to the KHM. I got this one from the estate of a friend who passed away a few years ago, so this one’s more heirloom than workhorse. I still had it serviced and restored to full working condition. This one was used by my friend’s mother when he was young, back in the 1930s, and by my friend when he was in seminary school and college in the 1950s.
- Olympia SF, 1963. The business laptop of its day. Doesn’t give up much to its bigger brother, the SM9. One of the best portables ever made, this SF has a new platen and types like a dream.
- Olivetti Lettera 22, 1960. This was a gift from a reader. I had been pining for a Lettera 32 for a while, and the Lettera 22 isn’t very different at all. This Lettera 22 has an unusual “universal international” keyboard that lets you type the special characters in quite a few languages.
Since reducing the fleet to these five, I’ve stopped actively looking around for new used typewriters. But you never know what still lurks in the dark and dusty corners of thrift stores and antique dealerships. I won’t take on any more fixer-uppers (restoration of these babies is an expensive endeavor), but I won’t say that I wouldn’t rescue some pristine Smith-Corona Skyriter or Hermes Baby sitting on a shelf somewhere.