branching out in my love of old stuff

It’s no secret that I go antiquing a LOT. I always loved antique stores, but they weren’t as plentiful in California as they are in the south. There are entire small towns here whose entire downtowns are made up of antique stores, and they all have “antique festivals” in the spring and fall–essentially just the same festival crap you see anywhere, but the stores themselves will usually have sales to go along with it.

Mostly I’m looking for vintage cameras of course, but occasionally I will come across something interesting that I just can’t say no to: opera glasses or absinthe spoons or brooches. (Actually I have quite a decent collection of those last.) In the past couple of years, I’m seeing more and more typewriters. I guess as the kids who never used them become old enough to start buying antiques, they’re starting to be seen as “exotic”. It’s been in the back of my mind for a while that it would be fun to have one for writing letters, but I just hadn’t found one that I had to have. Either they were too busted, or too big, or too expensive, or not old enough.

Well, I’m sure you can imagine where all this is heading:


underwood champion, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I went antiquing in Breaux Bridge (Crawfish Capitol of the World!) on Saturday, and found one that hit all the required marks:

Under $100 ($43)
Over 50 years old (1948 model)
Not too big (portable model)
More or less working condition (the 2 key sometimes sticks, but how often do you use it)

I’ve written a few letters on it since Saturday night, and it’s so much fun! There’s something satisfying about keys you really have to pound on, and the noise they make, and how you have to slow down or all the keys get tangled up.

The case is scuffed, but it latches and the handle is intact. I want to get some compressed air and blow out some of the dust, and maybe scrub the keys with an old dry toothbrush. And I’m waiting for a “new” ribbon from an eBay seller, although the one in there still has some life in it.


typewriter close up, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Something about keys that stick up, instead of being flush with the keyboard, tickles my fancy.

I just really like giving old things another chance to do what they were meant to do.

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