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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Farewell Vendex, Farewell Bing

Vendex later became Vendex KBB after a 1999 merger with Koninklijke Bijenkorf Beheer and is apparently now known as Maxeda, a Dutch retail group that operates in Europe, the Middle East and Dutch dependencies in North America. The firm is mostly known for large Dutch department stores and other shop formats. In 2004 Maxeda was taken over by a consortium of investors led by American private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.  Vendex's origins are in Vroom & Dreesmann (V&D), founded in Amsterdam in 1887 by Wilhel mus Hermannus Vroom (1850-1925) and Anton Caspar Rudolph Dreesmann (1854-1934). KBB’s history goes back to 1870, when Simon Philip Goudsmit (1844-1889) started a shop in Amsterdam. 
Mark Adams's later post, on the Bing No 2, was timely because my own Bing No 2 had only left here yesterday, headed for a new home in Sydney. I had acquired it many years ago from the estate of the late Australian typewriter collector, Bruce Beard.
The Bing No 2 was designed as a "child's typewriting machine" in 1925 by Ludwig Reischl, born on March 28, 1881, in Passau, Lower Bavaria. He joined Bing in 1912 and also designed the Orga-Privat.
Made by Bing-Werke, Vorm Gebrüder Bing AG, Nuremberg, the Bing No 2 was described as a “teaching aid typewriter” and was produced especially for export to North America. The Bing Brothers company, founded in 1863 by Ignaz and Adolf Bing, was world famous for making metal toys.
Ludwig Reischl

The Exodus Continues - 82 Typewriters Will Stay

I'm pleased to say the process of significantly downsizing my typewriter collection goes on unabated.  So far it's been quite painless. Two friends arrived today and left with 12 typewriters, making 57 that have left here in the past 10 days. By Friday evening I'm hoping to have reached the 100 mark.
I'm glad this pair took the chance today to see the museum close to how it was earlier in the year, with more than 200 typewriters on display. The way things are going, it won't look like this for much longer. Shelves are already starting to empty.
One of the friends who visited commented, "Downsizing a typewriter collection is like trying to keep an inflated balloon under water. It keeps bouncing back, still inflated." He also said, "You can't seriously expect to get your collection down to 82 typewriters. There are far too many great machines here."
Well, I am serious, and below is the list of the 82 typewriters I have earmarked to hold on to. It will be much easier for me to handle a collection of 82 than 367 (now down to 310).

Alpina (grey-cream)
Astoria (Dunera Boys)
Bar-Let portable (Sherwood Forest green)
Barr portable (black, gift from Richard Polt)
4 Bennetts (including 2 Juniors)
4 Bijou/Erika portables
12 Blickenderfers (models 5 to 9, Featherweight, Home, Rem-Blick)
Continental portable (faux woodgrain)
7 Corona portables (including 4 Specials, Miles Franklin, gold-plated model 3, red model 4)
Everest Model 90 portable (burgundy)
Fox folding portable (gift from Richard Polt)
Gossen Tippa (red)
2 Groma portables (black model N and burgundy Kolibri)
Hall (Salem)
2 Hammonds (Ideal No 2, square keyboard No 2)
2 Hermes (Featherweight and black 2000)
Imperial Model B portable
Imperial Good Companion
Invicta portable (green)
Masspro (green)
New Yost
2 Noiseless portables
Oliver 5
2 Olivettis ( red ICO MP1, green Valentine)
5 Remington portables (models 1, 4, 5; Remette; Remington-Rand Model 1)
Remington 2 Standard
4 Royal portables (Signet, red-black Model O, sunburst Model P, grey-black QDL) 
Royal Standard 1 
2 Smith-Corona Series 5 portable (pink, 5TE electric)
Smith Premier portable (green)
4 Standard Foldings
Sun No 2
Torpedo 18
Tradition (Olympia)
6 Underwoods black, red Universal/Champion; Model 3, black, faux woodgrain model 4, Noiseless 77)
Voss Learnette
Winsor (gift from Richard Polt)

Monday, 1 September 2014

Halberg Portable Typewriter

David Lawrence, the only typewriter repairman in Auckland, New Zealand (he's at Environ Printers on Mount Eden, if you ever happen to visit God's Own Country), this morning alerted me to this Halberg portable typewriter (serial number 1705X) for sale on eBay in Germany ("buy it now" $US399; #311036541350).
This Halberg looks to be the same model as the Halberg Junior that Spider Webz blogged on at the end of last December. See her post here. Spider gave us a peep under the ribbon spools cover and also included this ad, which she linked to Georg Sommeregger's site:
A month ago David had a very pleasant experience on acquiring an Antares Parva, and made some interesting remarks about it. "It has the most amazing action, shorter keystrokes than the Hermes Baby, fine, crisp and snappy printing, and a cadence that just rings my bell. It has never been touched by a screwdriver, and yet every single key works perfectly, the ribbon control is perfect, the alignment is perfect, the bell rings and all I had to do was fit a new ribbon and roll in paper. It has shot to the top of my go-to, grab-and-use machines. There were no bids on this, until mine, and I got it for a song, but would [now] be happy paying more for such a brilliant typer. Olivetti Lettera 22-32 machines garner lots of interest and often high bidding, but I just cannot get comfortable with the action, it's just too soft and genteel and delicate and the keys are too crowded with the 32. But this machine ... I just want to type and type and type."
I mention this because, photographed from above, the Halberg immediately reminds one of the Antares Parva. For one thing, the keytops and top plate are almost identical.
If I could still afford to buy typewriters, I might have been interested in the Halberg, even at this elevated price (Spider, seemingly, got hers for a lot less). I've always been fascinated by how closely related the Halberg is to the Royalite and the later Nippo portable typewriters (at least mechanically, if not so much outwardly). The case for the Halberg looks like it belongs to a Corona Zephyr or Skyriter, but from the side the Halberg does resemble the size and basic shape of a Royalite. There are obvious comparisons, too, to the Hermes Baby/Rocket. At a quick glance, the Halberg looks like a hotch-potch of them all, although the Parva obviously came later.
Nippo Atlas
Under the cover of Spider's Halberg Junior
Under the cover of Georg's Halberg
 Under the cover of a Royalite
Underneath the Nippo Atlas, left, and a Royalite
 Under the cover of a Nippo
Under the cover of a Nippo P-200
The Halberg was made by Halberg Machinefabriek NV, Cuyk, Holland. Founded in Limburg in 1941, the company started making typewriters in 1952, but the factory was taken over by Royal in November, 1954. 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Giger Underwood

Inspired (and distracted) by overnight comments and ideas from Richard Polt, Erik Jaros and Ted Munk, the Naked Underwood has indeed turned into the Giger Underwood. Thanks for pointing me in this direction, you three visionaries. I was wondering what I would do with it next. I love it, now for a few keytops.