Typewriters II

by scotslawstudent

My search for a reasonably priced typewriter continues apace . It’s absolutely incredible seeing the online market for typewriters – anyone who has ever tried to sell a computer they bought brand new for thousands of pounds a few years later will have discovered that computers are not an investment piece. As it happens there is still a huge amount of interest in the humble typewriter (I’m a case in point) and the prices these machines, generally considered to have been made obsolete by the personal computer, can still command is genuinely surprising in the days of the EEE PC netbook. The days of a typewriter costing a week’s wages are admittedly nearly entirely behind us but they can still command a not insubstantial price.

While I’m only looking at the low end of the manual market I’m still trying to buy something that will stand up to me punching away on it for a fair few years to come and some of the models that appear to be quality typing machines that I’m looking at on Ebay have taken a surprising leap past the £50 mark. An astonishing figure considering that a lot of the sellers suggest the typewriter would merely make a “good talking point or ornament” as opposed to a production machine used for typing. I’m particularly interested in machines which come with a reasonable stack of consumables because the global trade in typewriter ribbons is not as rosy as it used to be and I’m not certain of my ability to track down a replacement with nothing more than the spindles on the typewriter as a clue, not to mention the fact that being able to lug the typewriter onto my desk and begin using it immediately is worth a lot to me.

Additionally the courier fees on these huge pieces of cast iron and steel are also high, with the large desktop machines (that I’m admittedly very interested in owning), especially those designed for larger paper sizes, tipping the scales at nearly 20kg and being primarily solid metal. Savings can be made by buying one of the smaller portable models, which still aren’t hugely portable compared to a 638 gram Sony P but remain a portable possibility when moving around the house or on extended trips, which I hear are less able to keep up with fast typists and are somewhat less solid than their big office bound cousins but are perfectly usable.

Since I’m actively moving to a typewriter to slow myself down and force me to take more time with my work this is not necessarily a bad thing but I think I’d still appreciate the bulk of a desktop typewriter as a visual statement. This is simply to appeal to the Cro-Magnon male in me which whole heartedly believes something can’t be serious until it makes your desk creak.

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