Meet My New Baby

I have a new baby. I’ve been tempted by them for a long time and I’ve found them to be, in general, too expensive. This one was a bargain. Yes, yes, I know it isn’t an actual baby. Don’t let that throw you though because it is, in fact, exactly like a baby.

What I mean by that is that it’s an Empire Aristocrat, which typewriter aficionados will know is a British built licensed copy of a Hermes Baby (made c1950). So it is, as I said, exactly like a Baby.

The question you’re itching to ask now is: ‘Didn’t you already have a typewriter? What on earth do you want another one for?’

I’m not sure that even warrants an answer. It’s a bit like asking someone why they might want more than one bicycle. I know you can’t use them all at the same time, but they’re different. Useful for different things.

This little typewriter, and it is little, even compared to my Olympia Traveller Deluxe, is small and light enough to use with it resting on my lap. It makes a lovely little snick as it strikes the page, the Olympia is more of a clack.

Being an eBay bargain, it was of course, filthy when it arrived. I’ve had to take it apart to get it cleaned up. Many of the letters were clogged with gunk and made the font look rather smudgy. It types more more clearly now thanks to this tip which I read somewhere a long time ago:

Handy Typewriter Cleaning Tip

The small spaces inside the shapes of the letters can be cleaned out with the point of a sharpened pencil. The pencil lead is hard enough to dislodge the goo while being soft enough to avoid damaging the letter itself.

The new novel is nearing completion of the first draft and I’m finding, even before this new typewriter arrived, that I’m writing more and more with a typewriter or a pencil first before retyping the text into Scrivener. The process of retyping, rather than being tedious as you might expect, is actually giving me the chance to do a little editing and tidying as I go. It might even become my standard way of working eventually (and therefore an excuse to buy a couple more…!)

Do you use a typewriter regularly? What do you use it for?

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4 comments

  1. I own an Imperial ‘Good Companion Model T’. It’s beautiful and in mint condition! I never use it, I just keep it there as a representation of me. They hold a real romantism. I wish I had your patience, so that I could use it.

    1. Thanks, I’m not sure I’ve ever been accused of patience before! There’s a whole tactile experience to writing with a typewriter (not to mention the noise!) that makes it worthwhile even though it does take a little longer. My love of typewriters was rekindled as recently as this: https://rbentleydavies.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/writing-noisily/ so it’s never too late to start bashing away at it!

  2. Wonderful combination of words, pictures and enthusiasm.

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