Monday, March 21, 2011

Mint Green Beauty

I have been editing photos for an hour or so this afternoon, and my head is all swimmy.  In a good way, though, like when you've had a nap and woken up in that calm, semi-dreamy state, and now all you want to do is stand in front of the refrigerator and eat a few grapes.

Hey, what do you say I snap out of it and write a blog post already?

So here is the object of my affection, the heaviest thing I put into my cart at Goodwill a couple days ago (but don't hold that against it).

When I saw it, I had that rush of instant happy recognition, like when you run into a childhood friend you haven't seen in a couple decades.  Your entire countenance changes.  Bells ring.

I took a brief moment to moon over it there in the store aisle with my husband.  He knew it was a great find too (super clean, no nicks or scratches, complete with original manual and brushes!).  

Very soon, however, that giddy feeling dissolved into the next:  This is too good to be true; let's load this baby up, pay, and haul ass!  Fellow thrifter Vonlipi has a phrase for this kind of moment:  Start the car! 

Friends, allow me to introduce you to the Hermes 3000 typewriter from probably the mid-1960s.  Mint green, mint condition.

I know this machine.  I learned to type on this machine, i.e., one exactly like it.  (I had thought all along it was an Olivetti, but when I saw this one, I recognized it instantly.)  I know where everything is and how it all works.  This is the one!

Okay, so I'm a bit of a dweeb.  I taught myself to type one summer when I was in middle/junior high school (the things we did before the internet...).  I set this baby up on my study desk in the corner of the bedroom, propped up my mom's 1950s typing manual, the kind that's hardbound at the top, and pounded away.

f f f space, j j j space...

I typed up stuff like these recipe cards.  Dweeby and domestic.  Qualities every middle schooler wants to cultivate.

Please forgive the typos (chortening?).

In high school, my guidance counselor asked what I wanted to be.  Answer:  A secretary.  He thought I was aiming awfully low.  Perhaps he was right.  So I went to college, partied, and got a BA in Psychology with a minor in Office Administration.  Then I went to work as a secretary.

My best friends are secretaries (admin assistants, legal assistants, paralegals, whatevs).  They are some of the smartest people I know.

The Hermes 3000 is a Swiss-made typewriter.  It weighs probably close to 30 pounds.  I think the word "portable" is applied loosely.  You wouldn't want to be lugging this baby up the Alps.  Though if you did and managed to reach your secluded cabin without herniating a disc, you could type your novel with it, like Jack Keruoac did.  His Hermes 3000 sold at auction for $22,500.

I mentioned yesterday that this makes the third vintage typewriter I've bought in a year.  I think that makes it an official collection, at least until I decide to sell one or more of them.  Here are the other machines I thrifted in 2010, each of which I love only slightly less than the aforementioned.

This is a Royal typewriter, and the model is called Parade.  Made in the 1960s, I believe, in Holland.  

Such a pretty blue.  Well-made, solid, yet substantially lighter in weight.

If I were in the habit of naming typewriters, I might name this one Kate, after the woman who will have her own royal parade when she marries Prince William. Quite photogenic too, no?

Don't judge the next one by its cover.

The Olympia is a German-built tank of a typewriter.  And yet it is a thing of beauty, in an Arnold Schwarzenegger kind of way.

Slightly intimidating, what with the military green metal and spit-shiny black keys.  

Not to mention the upper body strength needed to heft it up onto the desk.  Bench press this machine regularly and you can probably drop your gym membership.  You will no longer be a girly-man.

You can read more about the Hermes 3000 and the Olympia HERE and HERE.  I don't pretend to be an expert on typewriters.

I just think they're sexy. 


  1. P., you should meet my friend, Pink. She collects typewriters too. Yours are great! I especially love the new one. So much fun! I'm glad you got such a great find!

    xo -El

  2. Had the exact same experience with my school counselor - still became a legal secretary, then a legal assistant, and now it's 30 years later! loved your post.

  3. Pretty cool collection! My kids said "what's that?" when they saw a typewriter at a thrift store recently.

    My mom made me take all the university credit courses in high school so I could "keep my options open" and I still spent the next 12 years as a secretary. Then I had kids and now I have my own business -- and I never would have had the skills to run a business if I hadn't been a secretary in my past life :)

  4. LOVE this post! Those are three pretty machines, I tell you what. Beautiful. I always look around the thrift store shelves to find one of those familiar cases. Yet to find such a pretty and clean one as your new baby! (And I totally name my typewriters!)

  5. Oh the horror! This brought back bad memories of Mrs. Hale and Year 10 commercial studies, which I took just in case I didnt become a world famous (insert whatever occupation you like here)

    Times have sure changed. 25 years ago typewriters were in every office in Australia. Now you'd be hard pressed to find one anywhere. Yours are beauties!

    Fortunately I never needed my commercial studies because I was pretty much crap at it.

  6. I have two Smith-Coronas. One manual, one electric, both given to me as gifts. Hey, I was one excited pre-teen when I opened the manual one! And, I taught myself to type. AND, I loved typing recipe cards and still have them.

    I swear we were separated at birth, girlfriend.

  7. Hey name the Olympia "Rambo" what with being heavy and military like.

  8. I learned on a Royal typewriter and then graduated into the world of the electric IBM when I was in high school.

  9. This is definitely the beauty of the lot. Hubby and I found one like the last. It was in pretty rough shape, and we were still awed. It tempted me to learn how to take a photo with my phone, almost.

    We homeschool, and our thirteen year old is using one of those stand-up typing books right now. When I see people henpecking at computer kepboards it makes me cringe.

    It is so very cool that your hubby is in on this.

  10. Love this post .. the typewriters are great. My niece either collects them or just has a few. I have none. Instead of going to college I went to secretarial school (they used to have those). I've been a secretary for a long time (I took 8 years off to be home with my kids for a while.). For the last four years I've been an office manager/secretary, but if I had to choose between the two I'd go for secretary. I love it.

  11. Good grief! I've only got an Adler (won it in high school), an Avanti, and an IBM Selectric. Now I don't feel so bad. LOL

    If you want to see some cool jewelry, check out

    I'm not affiliated - but I have earrings and a ring from there.

  12. Vintage typewriters! How cool is that? I had one when I was a kid, but I don't remember the brand.


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