I’m certainly not what you would call an antique collector, and even my garage sale visits have trailed off (I tend to be the driver who lets the family in and out of the car so that they can walk a block and then get picked up without having to double back). But the other weekend we were all walking a huge block sale and one particular item caught my eye.
It was a cute shiny typewriter sitting in a box on a table, and my kids were already jamming on its keys. When I went over to inspect it, I was really taken with how great of a condition it was in and how neat it looked. The family was happy to let it go for $5, and I figured that if nothing else, I had a great office decoration that befits a writer.
But what really astounded me was what I discovered when I went back home with it. What I had stumbled upon here was a Royal Deluxe Model O typewriter from 1937 — and in incredibly good shape. It’s got that eye-catching art deco design, and apparently such things are collector’s items worth up to a grand to the right buyer.
I wouldn’t think of selling it, though. It works perfectly, and the ribbon still had enough ink for some typing (I did buy a new one). It’s been a long, long time since I last used a manual typewriter — I trained on electric ones in high school typing class — and while it’s clumsy and awkward to use these raised keys with a good amount of space between them, I was pleased how quickly it came back to me. There’s a deep satisfaction to hearing that “clackity clack” of the typewriter strokes.
I showed this to my church secretary, who’s in her seventies, and she giggled over it like a schoolgirl. It was exactly the sort of machine she’d used back when she was younger, and you should’ve seen how quickly she pounded out a short letter with accuracy on it.
I figure that in the future, I’ll probably give it to my daughter who’s already a burgeoning writer in her own right, but for now, it’s great to look at — and to use for the occasional note!