12 oktober 2013

Lambert typewriter (model 1)

Last week, I won this Lambert typewriter at an online auction. The grandfather of the seller bought it at least 50 years ago at a flea market in Amsterdam and it had been in the family ever since. The machine is still in good condition, complete and (if I would re-ink the pad) still working. See the video I made, below.

Inventor Frank Lambert (born in France, emigrated to the USA) filed his first typewriter patent in 1884, but it was only in 1900 when the Lambert typewriter was produced for the first time. In the mean time, he made a fortune with the invention of a water meter. The sale of his typewriter proved to be more challenging, although over the next 3 decades more than 17.000 Lamberts were sold.

The main reason why people would prefer a Lambert over, for example, an Underwood 5 (the most common standard typewriter at the time), was because the Lambert was four times as cheap. You could own a Lambert for as little as 25 dollar. It was not as good or fast as an Underwood, but for sporadically use at home it was good enough.

Most of the Lambert typewriters (from serial number 2.500 onwards) were sold by Sidney Hébert from France. First he only dealt the typewriters, later (from SN 5.500 onwards) he bought the machinery and constructed Lambert typewriters himself. These later machines bear the label "constructeur".

My Lambert typewriter bears the name of Sidney Hébert, but without the label “constructeur”. Strange enough, its serial number is very high: 26.618. The Typewriter Sketchbook mentions that normal serial numbering stopped around 17.000. Only a few machines within the 26.000 range have survived and it is suggested that these machines were numbered differently for export.

My machine has some export characters on the keyboard (the so-called “multiple key”), so that would subscribe this theory, as well as the fact that it eventually turned up at a flea market in the Netherlands. More important, its multiple key can rotate in order to write italics. According to the same Typewriter Sketchbook, only the first 3.300 Lamberts carried this feature, which is why collectors call these machines “model 1”. 

Unless somebody comes up with a better conclusion, all this makes me believe that my Lambert typewriter model 1 should have had a serial number between 2.500 and 3.300, but was numbered differently because it was meant for export.

28 juli 2013

Typewriter pictures part 1: The Oliver 3 (Monopol-Stolzenberg)

If you like the pictures, make sure to visit the website of the photographer: www.pimgeerts.nl

Shown on the pictures is my Oliver 3 (Monopol-Stolzenberg), 1902, sn 55.756. 

In the next post I'll show the result of part 2 of the photo-session: The Williams 2 Academy. Thanks again, Pim!


28 mei 2013

Rooy Portable typewriter

Here are some pictures and a typecast from the ultra flat Rooy Portable typewriter I bought today: sn 27446, produced in 1953. I should retype it so it makes more sense. But the sun is shining, so: sorry, can't be bothered. :)

Rooy portable in its lid

Rooy Portable sliding out of the lid...

Ready for typing!

Here are the links to information about the Rooy Portable typewriter:
Machines of loving grace
Retro Tech Geneva
Typed on Paper

And for information about the recent evolution of mobile phones see:

26 mei 2013

Pittsburg Visible Typewriter

I didn’t drive almost 2 hours to Germany just to take pictures of typewriters and collectors (see my previous post). In fact, I carried a list of typewriters that I would possibly buy if the price would be right.

One of the machines on my list was the Daugherty Visible (1893). It’s not only a very nice typewriter to see, it also has historical value for being the very first completely visible typewriter. Unfortunately, there was no Daugherty for sale, but the next best thing was standing on one of the tables: a Pittsburg Visible (1898). This is almost the same machine as the Daugherty, except for carrying another name. The price was right and it seemed complete to me, so I put it in the trunk of my car.

The serial number of my machine is 11985. According to this serial number list around 10 thousand Daugherty’s were made between 1890 and 1898. In or around 1898, the machine was renamed Pittsburg Visible with continuous serial numbers running into 12 thousand.  In 1902 the Pittsburg Visible 10 was introduced, with serial numbers ranging from 13 to 23 thousand.

The Pittsburg Visible that was made between 1898 and 1901 (one of which is my machine) is sometimes referred to as the “model no. 9”. This model designation was never put on any machine, but it is used in the serial number list of Burghagen to distinguish this model from the later number 10.

There are some minor differences between the Daugherty and the Pittsburg Visible no. 9 (mainly different decals) and some more important differences between these two typewriters and the Pittsburg No. 10. The number 10 was stronger and a better typer (see Martin 1949, p. 114), and because of the use of normal shift keys it also had a different appearance than the previous models, which had nickeled shift keys. For more differences between the models, see: the Virtual Typewriter Museum.

I still doubt whether I should buy newly made nickeled ribbon spools. At some time, a former owner of this Pittsburg typewriter replaced the original nickeled spools with regular spools. Newly made nickeled replacement spools do exist and would bring the typewriter back to it original appearance, but I am afraid they would look too shiny on my otherwise not so shiny machine.

25 mei 2013

German typewriter Collectors Meeting, May 25 2013, Köln

Today I went to another meeting of the German typewriter collectors in Köln. It was nice to see familiar faces and to practice German while walking past the trunks of the cars, filled with all kinds of typewriters. Here are the pictures, so you get an idea. I had the impression that most sellers had to take the vast majority of their machines back home again. Only those who put "realistic" prices were able to sell some.