Sunday, 7 July 2013

Two Remingtons

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Most weekday classified advertisements are court notices or are for “adult services”. Occasionally, hidden in the thin columns of tiny type is something of interest under the “FOR SALE UNDER $100” heading:

TYPEWRITER Remington 1960 Portable Travel Riter de Luxe

Late on the afternoon of the day the newspaper was published, I rang the phone number. No, no – no one else has rung. Yes, yes – it’s still available. Would you like to see it? Oh, and there’s another typewriter here, too, you might be interested in. Yes, this one’s an interesting one. A Remington Portable. Oh, yes – it’s in very nice condition. Saturday? Would that work for you? Eleven o’clock?

This was Tuesday. I waited. Wondered. Thought someone else might ring up and that it might not be available by Saturday. My fears weren’t warranted, though. I was the only one who ever called.

After a pleasant and productive meeting with an ATM on Friday evening, I went out to see the typewriters on Saturday morning. I was welcomed in and taken up a flight of stairs. In a little study two typewriters sat on a desk, one with my name on a piece of paper rolled in the platen.

There was the one which was advertised. The Remington Travel-Riter Deluxe. Pretty good nick, a few scratches in the paint. And then there was the Remington Portable #2. In a case with a bit of rust and some of that alluring, old typewriter charm.

“Now I’ve got a computer I don’t really need these,” I’m told. “The older one belonged to my mother-in-law, the newer one was mine. It’s seen many, many miles; I wrote a lot of things on it.”

Removing lots of paragraphs of purple prose and cutting to the chase, if I may, I paid a very fair price and was shown out. Both parties very pleased with the result. Downsizing older couple had got rid of two old typewriters they didn’t need; teenage typewriter collector had bought two typewriters he didn’t need but liked a lot.

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The Travel-Riter had an unfortunate case of flattened feed roller. Some fatherly assistance and shed engineering produced a suitable replacement. The only other “issue” with the machine now is the ‘d’ type slug. The soldering is a bit dodgy, meaning the alignment’s a bit out. If I find the courage one day required to put a soldering iron anywhere near the typewriter, I might fix it.

I have always fancied this era Remington just because I like the look of them. Ideally, I’d have a Remington International, an absolutely huge thing of a typewriter, but with the thought of space (and the sanity of one’s parents) in mind I have happily settled with the Travel-Riter.

As the typewriter only came with one ribbon “top”, I’m also on the lookout for one required as a part of Remington’s proprietary ribbon system. If you have a spare you’re willing to part with, I’d love to hear from you. 

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The Remington Portable #2 was in great shape. Ironically, perhaps, the feed rollers on this much older machine were fine. [Insert obligatory comment here about how they don’t make things like they used to.]

It types extraordinarily well, and the only very minor issues are cosmetic. This one’s well on its way to becoming one of my favourites.

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3 comments:

  1. The Remington 2 looks great! However, that version of the Travel-Riter, I have no passion for what-so-ever.

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  2. Congratulation on your nice finds. The Remington 2 especially.

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  3. Stories like this are fuel to my typewriter fire. If you ever find an extra carriage return lever that'd fit your Portable #2 (and I believe a Portable #5), perhaps in the newspaper classifieds, under a friend's sofa or in the nest of a colour-blind bower bird, please let me know.

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