Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Hermes Baby Carriage

Courtney and I have been in Lake of the Ozarks for two days. My boss got sick and had to send me to a work conference in her place. The weather was cold and wet, so there was no desire to go on the lake (and no time or money for that either). Along the way, Courtney and I ordered several books from Amazon (being unable to pay retail price at the store). They included: "Steinbeck: a Life in Letters," "The Dog Master," and "Shufu."

I've got an interview with the Missouri State Museum in Jefferson City tomorrow. It's been great coming back to the same place and the same motel where I had two internships.

I brought little Hermes along for the ride in his baby carriage.

I've had the Royal Traveller for awhile now. Paid $2 at a thrift store. After getting the old papers (which were fascinating and will appear later) and water out of it, I found it's the perfect size for stashing the Hermes, a book, and some typing paper. 

Of course, we had to go antiquing. The typewriter selection was not impressive.

This Royal Forward I is probably just a rebranded Signet. Made in Holland.
A few problems, namely the logo that needs to be glued back on.
The bottom half of the case is thick, like a built-in typing pad.
Sticky keys, but it had a nice 11 cpi font. $28
The Dutch-made Royal was a tempting repair project. It types better than the Hermes (which has weak keys around the edges of the keyboard), and isn't something I've seen before. However, I'm struggling to downsize and refine my collection as it is. I don't need to rescue any more at the moment.

Pretty nice Royal 10. Broken daw band. Everything else seems to work. $75
And that was it. Two machines. Kind of surprising for a city that is the state capitol, but with only 150,000 people, I can't say I'm surprised St. Louis has more to offer.

But I did find some nice typewriter-related stuff.

This memo stationary displays paper as if it was in the platen of a real typewriter.

This book, As Fast as Words Could Fly, was the most interesting find of the day. It tells the story of a young black boy, Mason, who is given a Royal typewriter by the civil rights group his father meets with. Mason learns to touch type so well that his teacher takes notice and enters him in a regional typing competition. Of course, even though he wins (against the others who have electric SCM 120 and 220s), he doesn't get the prize. Despite the blatant racism, his teacher is proud and Mason knows he has proven his worth.

I've said it before, typewriters are the greatest catalogue of human thought and feeling. This story proves it. I plan to write the author a letter of admiration as soon as possible.

Power to the pen!


  1. That's funny, a Royal Traveller (shades of Olympia?) briefcase with a Hermes inside!

    I've read that book, it is charming.