29 de diciembre de 2012

Chilling out

I know Florian likes Contis best, so I thought I give it another try and found them working very nicely indeed. Great quality & practical design, quite a pity that World War II cut short its production history. I made a little video, which I humbly present to the mighty typosphere, I salute all you typospherians out there, and am looking forward to continue our conversations in 2013!

28 de diciembre de 2012

A Wonderful Day at Hermes Welten

Hermes Welten (literally, "Hermes Worlds") is an office supplies specialist shop in Basel. For those collecting Hermes typewriters, the name might sound familiar. I had seen many stickers on old typewriters from the 1950s and 1960s bearing the "Hermes im Drachen" (literally, "Hermes in the [house of the] Dragon") label. It turns out that this company is still in business after all these decades, and even at the same location in Basel's Aeschenvorstadt 24.

Me being in Basel and this being such a traditional company was reason enough to go pay them a visit around christmas. Here is what I found (s. photos below). My thanks go to Mr. Bloch and his team, who welcomed me and took quite some time going through their machines in detail. It turned out that the company had amassed quite a good collection of typewriters as they went along in their business. Some machines, e.g., still bore the original tag from when they arrived and were incorporated / shelved in the collection. Very nice discoveries and a typewriter day well spent!

Hermes Welten will service your manual and other typewriters, find the right ribbons for you, etc. The address is:
Hermes Welten AG
CH- 4010 Basel
Aeschenvorstadt 24
im Drachen, 2. Stock

Christmas ambiance

What a nice shelf! Erika folding, Japy, Hermes and what I believe to be a Smith in sight.

Erika n° 4248

A Japy 3Y in excellent state. Serial number 3925. I got one of those and will produce a detailed report asap. This machine is a direct descendant of the Rem-Sho / Fay-Sho / Remington-Sholes line, tools and design were sold from the U.S. to France around 1909 when the American business shut down.

This Hermes No. 3 had collected quite some dust, but would still perform. It is an unusual specimen as the paper tray seems to be taken from the Hermes No. 2 line. Could it be that it was still used with early No. 3s? Cf. Will's summary here.

Bingo! One of the rather rare Hermes No. 2s. This one is serial number 1275.

A portable from the wunderbar Royal line. I recently discovered the excellent type-feeling of these little gems. Here is serial number C-1740432.

Erika 8 in beautiful condition. # 1189634 and already made in Eastern Germany - although on the back it only says "Made in Germany". What is common to the Erika line is the incredibly light touch. Then, the various models do differ, and the type feeling of the pre-war machines is quite different from say this one.

Oliver, distributed in Germany by the Stolzenberg company. # 125543.

Can you believe this beautiful NOISELESS? As recently seen in a shop in the Swiss Jura region, the general agents for Switzerland were "Kaden & Co." in Basel. Not uncommon for the time, this information is printed on the machine in English.

This nicely preserved MIGNON No. 3 with serial number 77340 also bears the labels AEG (Allgemeine Electrizitäts-Gesellschaft, the producer) and, less common, USG. This stands for Union Schreibmaschinen-Gesellschaft, which was the company established by AEG for distribution of the Mignon.

The "Christmas shelf" with a few selected beautiful machines.

The Junior, aka Bennett.

Hammond! Always a highlight for every collector.

A view of the keyboard layout.

An early and beautifully preserved Hermes 2000. You can see it is an early one as the usual Hermes 2000 attributes suc h as automatic tab-setting lever on the left side above the back space key is missing, so is the spring tension regulator on the back (not shown on the pictures). # 26135.

The cross-bow, logo of Swiss quality products as applied from the 1930s on. 

I bade farewell to my hosts at Hermes Welten, but the Oliver Stolzenberg followed me on the street. I took this as a sign and offered her a new home.

22 de diciembre de 2012


Happy holidays, dear Typospherians!

as seen in Hermes-Welten, Basel, December 2012

20 de diciembre de 2012

Typewriters from the Commons

They are here... they are all here... they are coming to get you
Jane Stafford (1899-1991)
Jane Stafford and L.C. Smith
See flickr's commons typewriter collection for many many more!

8 de diciembre de 2012

The King's Treasure

This morning I woke up and saw that I had won an auction on a Swiss internet platform. This was quite unexpected, as I had placed this bid just for fun, or an expression that I really like this object, but wouldn't want to spend more money on it.
I saw that the object was located in Saint-Ursanne in the Swiss Jura region, not too far from Basel. A medieval town, allegedly a charming place. Thus began the QUEST FOR THE KING'S TREASURE.

Winter has fallen over this lovely Swiss landscape

A great read on the train - ETCetera No. 100! This issued is packed with incredible information and beautiful images, as are all ETCetera, but this issue is much thicker, marking the no. 100 mile-stone, and also the change of editorship. Thanks Richard! And ALL OF YOU TYPOSPHERIANS, GO SUBSCRIBE NOW. This is a must, very affordable, and super value for money. So, no excuses! See here for more information.

View towards Saint-Ursanne.

Getting closer. Very nice walk through a dream landscape of white and quietness.

The town's name ultimately derives from latin "ursus", the bear. You can see the bear in the city's coat of arms above the archway.

Peace and quiet. Good lunch. Down to earth, slowing down.

Interesting thing to see that the information headline on the administrative building uses a typewriter font for "a novel entity, a new image" (seven municipalities being regrouped in one new community)

view towards the mountains - great for walking

Now is this a place for a treasure hunt? The entry to the antiques store. A castle, really.

This is already not bad. 

Valuable information on this beautiful Noiseless typewriter. The internet had brought me here. And I discovered a REAL nice place and very beautiful spot in the Swiss Jura.

When I placed the little chest, a nun walked by and asked me whether this was the King's treasure. It sure is.

Well, it's a typewriter. So maybe not a surprise as to the category of the treasure. But what a nice typewriter! I LIKE it. Mignon model 2, quite rare in this colour.

One last shot, and then back with my treasure, through the snow, back to the city. What a day, what a memory.
More soon on typewriters.ch. Thanks for reading, and enjoy December!

PS: Have you subscribed to ETCetera yet!!!???

5 de diciembre de 2012

unwrapping the GIGANT

Pre-Xmas-Unwrapping of the Olivetti GIGANT. Made in Brazil. Produced for and exported to Germany. Gigantic typeface.
Olivetti GIGANT Olivetti GIGANT Olivetti GIGANT Olivetti GIGANT