Monday, June 30, 2014

Community Chest

PayPal claim investigation decides in your favor. You collect $45.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Step Back

The final mail-order typewriter has arrived, giving me a grand total of 54 machines. It is exactly one more than space allows, so it's sort of wedged in there.  It fits, more or less.

While I wait for resolution of my Etsy claim, I need to get back to work. I love typewriters, but they're a distraction from my writing. I write my stories on my laptop using a mini USB keyboard instead of the horrible keyboard that laptops always seem to have. I'd love to do it on a typewriter, but I get impatient, and I'd just have to retype everything into the computer again anyway.

So, I'll update things here when I find something out about the case, or when I can get some more pictures taken of the rest of my collection, but meanwhile I have a novel to work on. Or, several.

I have, in various stages of completion, two novels and about twenty short stories. None of them exceedingly far along...but if I devoted some time to them, I'd have something.

Point is, I have had the time but have not used it properly.

So I'll update when I find out something. Otherwise I need to finish one of these two novels, then the other one, in the next 90 days or so.

I will focus on that for a spell and get back to you.

The Case of the Truant Typewriter - Update

Have officially opened a case with PayPal. I got in touch with another person who bought a typewriter from the same seller and was similarly stiffed. She advised me to file a claim. I have until the 7th to do this, but I want to make sure the seller doesn't respond in the next few days. It won't really make a difference at this point, though. It's probably best just to try and get my money back if I can. Either way, be it fraud or the seller is just dead, I don't expect to actually get a refund. It's worth a shot.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Now Cracks a Noble Heart

The last auction and mail-order typewriters have arrived. I got a Smith-Corona with its own issues today. I'll discuss that one later. Still out is one that I'm pretty sure I will never see. I bought this on May 23rd from an Etsy seller whose name I have obscured. 

It did seem like a great deal - $45, free shipping - even though there was no case promised or shown. I do have a good case from another hopeless Olympia that I believe will fit. Even if it doesn't, it's a good price. 

It wasn't long before I noticed the item hadn't been shipped. Then I saw this message on the seller's Etsy profle.

An attempt to contact the seller got a copy of the same message sent to me. No other contact from the seller or their friends.

The seller also stiffed another buyer, who left a less-than-kind review.

 I don't know if complaining will do any good, or contacting Etsy, or PayPal, or whoever. I have no clue if the seller is even alive, or if this is some sort of scam. I do know many people who have died of cancer, and I take it seriously. In the end it's only money, and I understand that. I would feel like a huge scumbag if I gave someone a hard time and this was all on the up-and-up. They have many great reviews and a good transaction history. But I do know the item hasn't shipped, and I have no indication it ever will. I will hesitate to leave a nasty review or e-mail, because that's not going to help. All I can do is play wait and see. I hate playing wait and see. It kinda sucks.

UPDATE: After another attempt to make contact went unanswered I had a PayPal investigation opened. If not resolved by July 7, I can file a claim. I don't even care if I get the typewriter now, just want my money back. A little snooping on the seller's profile revealed that this same typewriter was sold to someone on May 6, two weeks before I bought it. Suspicious.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Closed to New Admissions

The East Texas Broken Typewriter is now closed to new applicants. That's not to say that I won't stumble across something in a thrift store and purchase it, or that Olympia that I bought on Etsy will ever come in (it won't), but the shelves are full...over full, in fact, and I don't have the room or time to take any more machines in. I do still have to take more pictures to detail the rest of the collection, and will do that in the next several days, but that's as far as that goes. I have some interesting experiences to relate with various Royal typewriters that I'm dying to put down...I just don't have the time at the moment.

But I will, in a few days, when I blog again. Be back soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Too Much

I have some bids out, and am waiting for a few machines to arrive, but I think I'm done with mail order. Ebay and Etsy provide both bargains and horror stories, but frankly I'm out of patience with the both of them. Also out of space as far as storage goes. I was up most of the night with a similar Royal Sabre and an 890, trying to figure out how certain things should work and why they don't. Essentially, they're both parts machines. I am waiting on another Royal Sabre that hopefully they'll provide parts for...but who knows. I may just have three parts machines a few days from now. I like the idea of being able to fix something, and in fact just fixed an old Montgomery-Ward Escort a few days ago, but it's not that easy. I am utterly and completely out of space, and that also includes work space where I can take these things apart if necessary.

I don't know. I've been neglecting my responsibilities lately. I am behind schedule on my writing and should be doing that. Just very, very tired. Will be taking some photos of a few more typewriters in the coming days and posting them. Just be aware that there are now two hybrid Frankenwriters now, one a Sabre/890 and one an 890/Sabre. They changed the body material from metal to plastic between 1966 and 1972. You know that? It's weird.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Typewriter by Typewriter Breakdown - #3

Round 3, in which I show and tell about typewriters #13-18 in my seemingly endless collection. Things are looking up as I mostly present machines I'm not completely ashamed to own.

This poorly-lit beauty is a Royal Heritage, circa 1958. These were apparently exclusive at the time to Montgomery-Ward stores. This one was $15, I believe, and extremely filthy at the time I got it...but it cleaned up nicely and it works well. No major flaws with this one. Push the Royal emblem on the front and the ribbon cover pops right up. When I purchased it, it still had a very old square Roytype ribbon in it, completely dried out.

I've been a computer guy for a long time, since the mid-'90s, but there was a time when I wouldn't touch one. In fact, I sought out and purchased a manual typewriter in 1988 for $80 from a used office supply store. It was identical to this one, the (Brother) Montgomery Ward Signature 510. This one has a standard typeface, but the one I formerly owned had a weird capital italic font. My old one is pretty beaten up, missing the case and ribbon cover, but is now the property of my mother and living in her storage room. It does still work though, because I put a ribbon on it last year and tested it out. I felt nostalgic about buying this, but it's not that great compared to everything else I own. Works fine, for a Japanese typewriter made in the 1960s.

I was typewriter-less for over 15 years, until 2010, when I literally stumbled over this for $10 at a thrift store in East Texas. It's a Sears Citation 12, made by Smith-Corona. It's a deep green with a fake woodgrain insert above the keys. Classy. Nice and heavy, with a slightly extended carriage that looks to be able to take larger paper. Works really well still. No major problems with it that I can detect.

 I love these later Underwoods, but they're getting harder to find. They seemed to have come in a variety of colors, but I've mostly seen blue and white for sale. This one is just beautiful, a nice clean Jewell. It types like a dream, but it stops like a nightmare at the end of the line...sadly, the bell is broken. But a broken bell is not the worst thing to happen to a typewriter, and I know it can ultimately be fixed. It's been known to happen, even if I don't currently have the skills to pull it off.

A fine later Underwood that does work is this wonderful green '55 Universal Quiet Tab. This one cost me $20 in 2010. It literally looks like a Buick. It works perfectly and I adore it. When it came, the ribbon vibrator had come off and was loose inside the typewriter. Fixed it in just a few minutes without having any idea what I was doing. I have a strange connection to these old machines...probably a past life thing. I should ask the Long Island Medium, if she still takes those kind of questions.

A seemingly too-good-to-be-true Ebay purchase turned out to be true, and this Royal Arrow came to me at a great price. It's in seemingly mint condition, with only a suspicious scratch and small dent on the side that I suspect happened in the shipping process (it had not been secured properly inside its case). But, otherwise, looks and performs like a brand new 65-year-old typewriter. Very happy with it, though it needs to be used fairly regularly to keep the ribbon vibrator from sticking. I tested it out just before taking these pictures and it worked fine.

That's #13-18. Believe it or not, this is about a third of my collection. As I say, I do have a problem. In a day or two I'll post up some more. In my spare time, in addition to hocking my poorly-selling stories on Amazon, I also collect sleazy 1960s/'70s  private eye/spy novels and other series fiction paperbacks. If anything is more obscure and weird than typewriters, that's probably it. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Typewriter by Typewriter Breakdown - #2

Back for with more typewriters from my collection, this time #'s 7-12. Again, these aren't in a specific order. I just pulled them off the shelf and took pictures. I'm considerably happier with the typers in this selection than the last, because they for the most part work.

This Smith-Corona Sterling is my latest addition, having arrived just a few days ago. They sold millions of the Clipper/Sterling/Silent family and I have several variations of this model, some that look exactly like this one. This one, though a bit dirty and with a broken back hinge on the case, works perfectly well. At some point I'd like to get some serials on them and find out just when they were made...but there are only so many hours in each day. But they're at least fifty years old. We used to make good stuff, here in the USA.

The Tower President XII was made by Smith-Corona and sold by Sears. This one has a unique unpleasant odor that escapes each time I open the case. I love the two-tone color and the diamond-shaped keys. It types remarkably well, though I'm pretty sure the bell doesn't work. My main gripe with this one is the shift lever. Essentially you have to manually scroll to the next line because it doesn't catch. I'm sure it can be fixed, but I'm not skilled enough to fix it yet and don't want to further damage it.

This Hermes 3000 is a very clean and beautiful example of Swiss engineering. It's a lovely machine that's very precise. It has one issue though, and it's a pretty important and annoying one:  random skipping. It can't really go through a line or two without it happening at least once. If you catch it, you can backspace and fix it, but that doesn't really solve the problem. I love it, though. It's like typing with a tank.

This Remington (insert model name here) I picked up for $25 a few years back, I think. A typical quirky Remington, with the weird spools and all. Works fine, save for the space bar, which you sometimes have to hit twice to get it to catch. But it's not like the Cole Steel, which you practically have to beat to death to get it to advance one space.

Circa 1948, a Remington-Rand Portable Deluxe. I dig the round keys, and it works fine, but you really have to be over it to type. It's very old-school in that it's not that easy to see exactly what you're typing as you type. When I started collecting typewriters in 2010, this was the second one I bought, and the first one I got from Ebay. I paid like $20 for it.

This is a personal favorite, and if I had to sell my entire collection except for one, this would be the one I kept. I have checked the serial on this and it's a 1934 Royal Model O with Touch Control. I also paid more for this one than any other machine I own, about $60. Shiny paint, beautiful glass keys, types like a dream...I'm very happy with it. I've used it extensively and I can't say enough good things about it. Just a beautiful machine.

That's #7-12 of my collection. The next few shelves will probably be the Underwood portables and the many, many similar Smith-Coronas. The electrics might be last, because I am racist against them and their sort.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Typewriter by Typewriter Breakdown - #1

I thought I'd put my money where my mouth is and start documenting my collection here. Never have so many orphaned, broken typewriters been accumulated in such a small space. In no particular order, I do typewriters #1-6 today. These are mainly posted because they were out of their cases for me to easily photograph.

Oh, Remington Noiseless. This one is a heartbreaker. The first problem I encountered was when I tried to put paper in it. The second problem was when I tried to advance it. The third problem was when I hit the return. It types well enough, once you manage to get the paper in (you have to use the paper release and feed it through)...but the space bar sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. And the platen won't advance the paper correctly. But the bell works, there's that. Came to me without a case.

This Underwood Universal looks beaten up, but works fine. Everything works as it should even though it got a LOT of use.  No case when it got to me, but I haven't found any issues with it besides the letters on the keytops wearing off and the paint chipping. I ordered some stick-on key covers from Amazon and put them on. They aren't as straight as they should be, but they work okay.

Underwood Noiseless, like the Underwood Universal and Remington Noiseless above, came to me without a case. This is a good typewriter. Very shiny and clean. My main problem with it is the carriage return. It's very small, and you basically have to flick it from above. It's so different from other return levers I found it annoying. I didn't get it in the pictures I took of it, but it's very small. The bell also doesn't work on this one, which is a shame.

The Royal HH is a fine, heavy typewriter. This one was missing the number 7 key, so I was able to cannibalize one from the old broken Smith-Corona desktop I could never do anything with. The bell works, but seems to stop just short of it. I was trying it out earlier and noticed it skipped once during a paragraph. No major issues detected with this one.

This Underwood Standard is one of the heaviest things I own, and I drive a Chevy. The bell seems hit and miss sometimes, and the carriage wants to slide all the way over if you turn it on its side, but it's in place when you're typing. The keytops are wearing off, so the extra stick-on letters I have might come in handy.

This Cole Steel is a beautiful machine, and it types cleanly and is pretty neat. But the backspace doesn't work, and if you hit the space bar you had better mean it. I mean you practically have to punch the damn thing. These don't come up a lot that I've seen, though the ones I see don't cost that much. I really wanted to own one, though I can now see why I wouldn't use it very much. I'm not sure how much I paid...but I'm notoriously frugal in my typewriter purchases, so it couldn't have been that much.

When I get a little more time I'll list the next 5 or 6 typewriters. Probably a few days. I await the final two stragglers I have coming in the mail, and I'll give the details when I get them in.