Wednesday, July 3, 2013

$5 Typewriters EVERYWHERE

Good morning!

Well, in my travels over the last two weeks, I have done a thing I promised myself I wouldn't do-- I've bought an additional two typewriters. You didn't see that one coming, huh? What am I trying to do, open a typing pool in my own home? Hoarders got nothin' on me, kid!

I'm only sorry that I'm not sorry.

We dropped in a Goodwill in northern Georgia on the way back from Atlanta. I am wont to drop in Goodwills that are visible from the interstate but before the exit on any and all trips out of state, and we'd been to this one before with some success. I was bummed because my thirty minute perusal had only turned up two full-slips from the sixties' (one red, one black, both cheap!) and a copy of this Welcome Back Kotter tie in paperback (which I wisely, though not without a tinge of sadness, left behind). I did a last minute walk through housewares when a dark yellow case caught my eye. Hm. I wonder if that's a typewriter, I thought. But surely not, when the entire store has been mostly Kathy Lee Gifford style early nineties' clothes and home decor from the ducks-in-bonnets aesthetic. Snapping open the lid, I was actually a little breathless to see a banana yellow sixties' typewriter sitting inside. No scratches, no dings, no sticky keys, and a faint-but-still-functional ribbon intact! There was even a manual (we'll get to that). Price? $4.99. With a heavy conscience but giddy little heart, I hefted the machine to the checkout counter.

The lighting wasn't capital this morning (or was I just standing in way of the light?), but you can get a look at the looker above. Or, for better photography of the same model, there's this one for sale on Etsy for $174! Yeeks! The manual was printed in Japan, and completely adorable. Those spidery illustrated hands! The aquamarine color of the background! The encouraging tone of the text!

A week later, we were introduced to Savers in St. Louis by Matthew's Memaw, who was on the hunt for a small bookcase. On the way home, I Google-mapped another location in Missouri and found a large, suitcase-like case in the electronics department. When I dutifully opened the case, la-voilá, another gorgeous typewriter. This is a later, more expensive Royal model typewriter, and the carriage and keys work just as flawlessly as if I'd brought it home from a contemporaneous retail environment. The price? Half off the $9.99 price tag, with a Savers card, for which I dutifully signed up. YES!

The color is more off-white than cream in real life, and the typing oh so smooth. Matthew and I both took turns on the keys when we got home, and he was amused to see how fast and adroitly I can work a manual typewriter. And that ain't no fluke! 

When I was in late middle school, my dad brought me home a behemoth of a West-Germany-manufactured seventies' typewriter that was going to get pitched from the high school where he was teaching. "I thought you'd get a kick out of this," he said, installing the machine on a matching stand in my room. Now, over the years, I've gotten all kinds of things that narrowly missed being thrown in a school dumpster this way, but in terms of what I got the most use and enjoyment out of, WHEW, did I love that typewriter. It was the turn of the century 2000's, and my seemingly-Luddite parents hadn't seen fit to buy a computer. I'd seen the internet at school and at my friend Kelsey's house, but it was a long way from being a daily part of my life. With a typewriter at my disposal, I would sit and clack out short stories, neatly amassing a pile of manuscript pages in a wooden box, just like I was Jean Arthur in a thirties' movie and a lecherous boss in shirt sleeves and vest might come in and threaten my virtue by asking me to work late. To this day, I type WAY too hard on a keyboard, and it's a result of having to slam the keys down on the old seventies' typewriter, which, despite oiling, was a persnickety hunk of work if ever there was one (it takes one to know one, and I should know!).

William Faulkner (l) and Marlon Brando (r, with friend), hard at work on typewriters.
 Not bad company to be in, if you ask me! (source)
So! What do I intend to DO with these two typewriters? That brings the count in my house to five. YES FIVE. I'm not as sick about it as you are, but I feel I may need to make some room in the utility/laundry room shelving storage space for the beasts. 

In the meantime, I'm thinking of setting up a guestbook table at the wedding with all the typewriters in a line. How cute would that be? Please, sit, hang out, write me a note on the vintage typewriter of your choosing!

An idea at least! (source)
What have you been collecting lately that you shouldn't, but the temptation is just too great? Do you have a typewriter in your collection? How have you seen vintage knickknacks worked into a wedding or event's decor? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll see you back here tomorrow. Til then!


  1. You lucky lucky lady! Nothing to apologise for - they're gorgeous and just begging to be re-homed... and at that price it would have been criminal to say no! ;)

    1. Haha, thanks, Helen! I thought $5 was ridiculously cheap for ones in such good condition. And maybe I WILL start my own typing pool!

  2. I have been suckered in by the Welcome Back Kotter paperbacks, and must tell you that you made the wise decision to leave one behind. They are actually boring, not funny, the show doesn't translate to a book. The only thing good about them is the cover. However, when I find one of those Welcome Back Kotter kid's record players, just try to hold me back. (they do exist, I saw one at a record fair).

    1. I got outbid on one of those in college! SO COOL. How about the playset with the character dolls for that show, too? It came with a record (which I guess you could play on your matching turntable) of "real tv voices"!

  3. What lucky finds! Those typewriters look lovely. I also have quite an affinity for typewriters. I have 3 at the moment, from various decades (my oldest being a 1920's Underwood). If I had the room, I'd buy more.

    What I collect, but shouldn't, is antique books. Actually books in general. I ran out of room a looooong time ago but I can't help myself. I'm especially a sucker for books from the early 1900's that have amusing/cute titles. It doesn't help that they can be found pretty cheaply. Most of my books cost less than $5.

    1. 1920's Underwood! Now you're talkin! I'm glad I'm not the only one with a multi-machine habit. :)

      And I know what you mean about books! I've gotten way better now that I work at a library and see dozens I want to read every day, but I still can't help trying to pick up the odd title or two ("But what if I never see it again!" being my main justification).

  4. Brando! I didn't recognize Faulkner there.

    I hope this is not too weird a tangent--I recently discovered the Carl Perkins song "I'm sorry, I'm not sorry" ! ! !

    1. No tangent is too weird! I love Carl Perkins! And that song title expresses my true feelings about life, haha.

  5. Pyrex is what I collect, even though I really don't have any more room for it. My collection is small compared to some, but my kitchen is teeny tiny.

    I also collect old cookbooks, and I feel kind of bad because I look through them, and off they go into a box in the shed. Moral of the story-I need a bigger house!!



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