I was asked by one of my teachers if I wouldn’t mind having a look at a typewriter for him. The word has got around school fairly quickly that I’m the one to see if it is anything to do with typewriters. I said I’d be happy to.
A few days later he comes in with a large wooden case. Lifting the lid revealed the typewriter to be an Olympia SM-4; even though I thought it was an SM-3. I took the typewriter home with me.
As things tend to do at the end of the year, it got quite insane. Homework sprung out from nowhere, and what I thought was going to be a nice easy, cruising sort of week, became a week from hell. So, the weekend after school finished was the first chance that I had to get to work on this fine machine.
And what a fine machine it was! There was nothing really wrong with it, that’s the real testament to its quality. After however many years of sitting in a shed nothing went “bang” or “pop”, and it was cosmetically really great, too. The keys were just all gummed up, and the platen needed the ‘ole brake fluid treatment. A bit of a lube up and away she went, flying like the clappers, like she’d never been put away for twenty-odd years.
The teacher who enlisted my help with this machine is, I can tell, very proud of it. He didn’t hesitate to tell me that it was from a time when everything was built to last. He realised that with a bit of care there are no worries that this machine will still be typing in a hundred year’s time.
The typewriter itself is destined to be a Christmas present from the teacher to his son. His son’s a script writer and, as far as I know, is going to type up some story board notes and rough ideas with it. It’s always good to see a typewriter going to a good home. None of this key-chopping barbarism, no “put it on a shelf and don’t use it, it’s old” sort of ideals; no, just good old fashioned use – what this quality machine was meant for, it was meant to make quality writing.