Monday, January 09, 2017

Typosphere, Ho! "Stay West" on My 1961 Hermes 3000

[[ My first attempt at typing on a typewriter in nearly thirty years ]]

[[ My writing assistant denies any and all responsibility for slipshod typing 
or head-scratching sushi poetry. ]]


My refurbished 1961 Hermes 3000 typewriter has arrived in Mexico City. Typewriter Techs, the Riverside, Illinois company that refurbished it, shipped it to California in a box so well padded it could have survived a Mars landing; having discarded the packing materials and box, I then grew some new biceps carrying it on board my flight home. I'd say it weighs about the same as a wet brick. It was a loooooong way from the security screening area to the gate. Jack LaLanne, watch out.

[[ No, not the French scarf company. 
This Hermes was of Swiss manufacture of yore. ]]
The color is just as I had hoped, a foamy celadon (although it looks gray in this photo too strong a flash). 


I'm old enough to have had nearly two decades of experience with typewriters, both manual and electric, before I started using a computer in the late 1980s. It was an eerie experience to type on a typewriter again... like time traveling. 

My first attempts at typing on this antique were clumsy, since I am, as are we all, so used to letting fingertips fly over a laptop's keys and making scads of corrections en medias res and whatever whenever wherever and with the benefit of, after penicillin and sliced bread, the bestest thing ever invented: CNTRL Z! 

But I like the deliberateness of typing on a manual typewriter the goose-stepping linearity of it. That is the whole point, for me as a writer now. (Why? See my previous post, Consider the Typewriter. Am I kidding? No, I am not kidding.)

Madam Mayo says, The Anti-Digital Revolution will be Youtubed! 
And blogged! And, when I get around to it, tweeted!
Git yer iron-knee right here, on a spatula!
But seriously, check out this fine trailer for philosopher Richard Polt's 
excellent and thought-provoking resource The Typewriter Revolution


I chose the Hermes 3000 because of Richard Polt's recommendation in The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist's Companion for the 21st Century:

"The 3000 model is a Swiss segment-shifted typewriter with excellent alignment, smooth carriage return, and quality manufacturing, introduced in the fifties. You’ll find it in a wonderfully bulbous body, painted in a color that some call “sea-foam green”... Not the very fastest or snappiest typewriter, but “buttery” in its smoothness, as fans like to say... Users include Larry McMurtry, Sam Shepard, Eugene Ionesco, and Stephen Fry."
A tip of the Stetson to my fellow Texan Mr. McMurtry. As for Monsieur Ionesco, voila l'entrevue:

[[ Watch the interview with English subtitles here
No, alas, Ionesco's Hermes 3000 does not make an appearance.
Mais nous pouvons utiliser notre imagination. ]]

[[ My 1961 Hermes 3000  arrived in its original carrying case,
along with, LOL, total yay, a packet of jellybeans!! ]]

[[ Under the jellybeans, a message from Typewriter Techs. ]]
[[ The original 1961 Hermes 3000 instruction manual 
(Ha! Will those websites and YouTube videos still be available 
and playable in 55 years?! You reeeeeeeeeally think so...?) ]]

[[ The warranty, yay, from Typewriter Techs. ]]


Although we now inhabit a consumersphere rife with such exploitative poppycock as single-serve Nespresso
 capsules... it is nonetheless easy-peasy to find typewriter ribbons that work for multitudinous models and makes of typewriters. I knew that from reading Polt's The Typewriter Revolution, and a quick Google. Furthermore, Typewriter Techs included this with their shipment:

In case you cannot read the image and/or your brain, like mine, goes into blur mode WITH ANYTHING WRITTEN PLEASEGODWHY ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS, it says:

"In the 1950s ribbon sales topped 50 million annually, they were the toner of their day. But unlike toner most typewriters will take the same ribbons. There are several direct replacement ribbons available for most machines. If you cannot find one, don't panic. The ribbon itself is identical, only the spool changes. We recommend you purchase the genetic black., or black and red ribbon and rewind it onto your current spools. This is the least expensive and guarantees a correct fit. You can also contact us we stock a large variety if replacement ribbons.
"Cloth ribbons will hold more ink than nylon. Cotton will soak up the ink, nylon it just lays on top of it. A typical ribbon should last about 900,000 characters or about 180,000 words... That's around 500 pages. A good quality ribbon will transfer the ink without leaving excessive ink on the type bars or pages. If the entire type slug is covered in blue, it's probably not a good ribbon to use again. Black only ribbons can be turned upside down and doubled in life."


A related and most felicitous purchase was the Jackalope typewriter pad. Definitely it cuts the noise.

[[ The typewriter pad. Land o' Goshen,
why didn't I use one of these before?! ]]


[[ My writing assistant remains confused yet pugfully blasé. ]]

A most thoughtful holiday gift from my sister's dog (yes, in our family the dogs give presents): this yardage of neat-o typewriter fabric and I do like it draped over the Hermes, just so. Nope, I am not going to attempt anything on a sewing machine, the typewriter is my own personal Mount Everest for the moment. Must get typing. 

More anon.

> Your comments are always welcome. Write to me here.