Sunday, June 15, 2014

Over the River and Up the Hills

What a week!

With summer class over, I had a few days with my beautiful and insightful fiance. On our last full day together, I decided to take her to the place where I first fell in love with typewriters, a gigantic warehouse called The Shed.

Make sure you enter from the left. Bargain Hut is a different business.
I've bought who knows how many dozens of books from this place. The booths might be organized with a definite theme, or piled with random assortments of vintage treasures. There wasn't much in the way of typewriters, but a few wild sightings is better than none.
Smith Corona Electra. 
Coronamatic 1200.
One thing I never realized about these electric typewriters is how heavy they are!
This Studio 45 is the first Olivetti I've ever seen.
The bell was faint, but the carriage return lever folds back for easy storage.
Only $10!

But typewriters weren't the only things that I was looking for. We toured the shops downtown and I picked up two new books.
The Eyes of the Dragon.
Widely rejected by King fans when it was first published because
it was a radical departure from his traditional horror stories.
This beautiful hardcover only cost me $12.
As far as I know, this is a first print edition. Woo-hoo!
A 1953 collection of Jack London stories. $3
But, at long last, it was time for us to part. She had a job hunt to resume and I had to pack my bags for an internship at the Missouri State Museum in Jefferson City.

On the way, I took my Remington Rand Model 1 and my new Royal KMM to be serviced. I'd found a list of repair shops on Richard Polt's Classic Typewriter Page. Jones' Typewriter Company in St. Louis was on the way to Jeff City, so we made a little detour.

A panoramic photo of the inside. It's a tiny place packed to the brim with old machines!

The shop is run by two guys: Charlie and Vern. We spoke to the latter. I gave him a list of issues I wanted him to look at, and then we shot the breeze for thirty minutes. He was very polite and fun to talk with. Since nobody else was in line, he took a moment to show us some of his prized jewels.

Me and Vern.
The Holy Grail of typewriters!
An 1888 Standard Typewriter Company model, based on the Shoels design.
The type bars are made of wood and strike the platen from underneath.
Allegedly, Mark Twain was the first author to type a manuscript on one of these.

Beautiful Corona 3 with the original instruction manual!
This thing weighs less than my Macbook.
Read an awesome story about it here.

Very nice Blickensderfer 7. 

Vern said that they are at least three weeks behind on repairs, but I feel confident that my machines are in good hands. I won't be able to typecast for awhile, since there was no room left in the car for a third typewriter. 

With that done, we fueled up and continued on our way.

I got to my hotel on Thursday evening. Friday, Mother and I spent some time getting acquainted with the city. The population is smaller than Paducah's, but they have so much to offer visitors!

A delicious turkey club wrap from Cafe Via Roma.
A DELICIOUS ice cream cone from Central Dairy. $2.75!

After some eating and sight-seeing, of course we had to check the antique stores. It's a good way to measure a town's character, and after only two stops, I'm rather impressed by what I found.
Brunswick radio with earphones. 

A really cool telegraph ticker tape machine!
A copy of After Many A Summer Dies the Swan...
First US edition!

Correction Selectric 12

Smith Corona Sterling.
Seems to be in good working order.
Keys need a lot of alcohol.
Only $17. It was really tempting, but I passed on.
Hope it finds a good home. 


A poster featuring the Remington 10. The footnote reads like a history book.
At first glance, I thought it was a period advertisement. No price tag.
Remington Envoy with carriage rails so badly rusted that it won't move.
 $4. At least the keys and bell work. Somebody save it!
If that don't beat all, yesterday I toured the state capitol building. In the House Lounge, guests are treated to a series of giant murals painted by the one and only Thomas Hart Benton. Each mural depicts a scene from Missouri's history, and each person is modeled after a real person. The paintings were made using egg tempera. It's the same concept that the ancient Egyptians used in their tombs. The colors will probably outlast everyone reading this blog.

I won't spoil the whole thing for you. Go tour it yourself.

But I did manage to get a quick snap of one mural in particular...

A portrait of the Missouri woman typing on what looks like an old Underwood.
The blood smeared on her face is subtle and disturbing, perhaps the lost men of WWI?

It was a very intense week, but the good Lord saw me through with lots of blessings. When I'm not working, I'll have plenty of books to read and a manuscript to edit. Yet, the downtown is so peaceful and quiet that I could easily take a typewriter there and work without being disturbed. Too bad I won't be able to test that for a while.

On a side note, I've decided to take up poetry again. I guess watching that documentary on Charles Bukowski did something to me. "Oh, you mean I can write free verse, without rhymes or metaphors?" We'll see where it goes.

Power to the pen!


  1. you passed up a good Studio 44 for $10? I prolly woulda snagged that, the Smith-Corona for $17 and that $4 Remington - all of 'em smokin' deals (:

    1. Ted,

      Yeah, they were all good deals, but it wasn't a good time for me to buy. I've already got two machines being repaired, including the KMM I just bought two weeks ago. The Remington was far beyond my skills. I'd have to take the carriage off to clean the rails and I don't have the tools for that. I don't have my cleaning kit with me, so I couldn't have used the Sterling.

      I'd like to try out a Lettera 22 before buying any other Olivettis. My other portables are comparable in size. Besides, I've already got five machines. I'm sure a new member of the typosphere would love to have one.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Yes, that would be a very satisfactory post. I enjoyed it greatly. :)

  3. Great stuff. It's neat to get a glimpse inside Jones TW!

  4. That was an awesome post! Typewriters, repairmen, books, travel, adventure, food - you had it all!