Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What To Get the Writer Who Has Everything? Cormac McCarthy's Typewriter + A Trip to the Austin Typewriter Museum

If you like to romanticize the act of writing in the same way that I do, then you probably have fantasies about parchment paper, black ink fountain pens, and antique typewriters.  And this fetish isn't limited to the writing utensils themselves, but extends to all kitchy things that incorporate my favorite writing utensils as art deco add-ons.  I'm sorry pink Sony Vaio, for as much as I love you, I would totally have an affair with a dashing gentleman dressed daringly all in black and named Oliver.  I also have no fear of unleashing my inner "nerdy secretary" and decorating my walls with risque pin-ups of vintage machines that really know how to "push my buttons."  This, of course, means that the man sporting a well-inked necktie around me would quickly find himself not wearing it anymore.  

But, for the typewriter enthusiast who has everything...

Cormac McCarthy's portable Olivetti typewriter circa 1963 is going up for auction at Christie's on Friday, and is expected to fetch a paltry $15,000 - $20,000.  That's a pretty $250 per word he ever typed on the machine.  I bet it never gave him the blue screen of death

I used to have two old typewriters that I never replaced the ribbons on, so I ended up leaving them with my ex-fiance when I moved away.  Regrettable, now, as one was a gift from my mom purchased at an antique store in Florence, Texas.  Perhaps one day, when space allows, I'll go shopping for a new mechanical muse.

In the near future, I'll have to settle some of my cravings and pay a visit to the Typewriter Museum here in Austin over by Rio Rita.  Has anyone been - is it really a typewriter exhibit space?

I'm also curious if anyone else prefers typewriters to computers?  Or, (gasp), writing long hand? 


That Chelsea Girl™ said...

I love typewriters! My dad has an ancient one, and when I was little I learned how to type on it. Take care :)

Austin Eavesdropper said...

This blog post made me salivate

antique typewriter collector said...


I am a typewriter lover too.

There is a remarkable collective experience that we have towards typing and a strong nostalgia for the typewriter, as a physical and emotional symbol of writing.

I have been collecting 19th century typewriters for 20 years now (1880s & 1890s) and have been enthralled with them the whole way.

There was an incredible variety of ingeniously designed typewriters from the 1880s & 1890s, with over 300 models coming forth from many industrialized countries by 1905.

Please visit my website to see some of these extraordinary typing machines.


Happy typing,
Martin (Canada)

Laura® said...

OMG, OMG, OMG! I just found your blog, and now I am totally bookmarking it because of this post. I LOVE typewriters! I dream of a bright red Olivetti "Valentine," but given the fact that it's a damn hipster style icon, I doubt it'll ever happen. I love the clack of the keys, and the ding and the end of each line, and the way the sheets of paper pile up, making you feel like you've accomplished something. Unlike typing on a computer, where you only get a print-out once you're done and press "print." So great to know there's a typewriter museum here in Austin, too. Want to go together?

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