One of the sales was, well, interesting. It was an everything-must-go "estate sale," which meant we could wander through a house filled to the gunwales with knick-knacks and objects of all kinds, plus three or four well-fed kittycats lurking to see what all the fuss was about.
And I bought something:
|Initially, I mistook it for a label-maker|
It's a Simplex Typewriter, Model 1, vintage 1892 (so one info source says), nestled in its original box. It would be difficult to imagine a simpler device: the operator inks a little pad below the "keys," turns the type-wheel to the desired letter and pushes the lever next to the wheel. The wheel moves automatically, and there's a latch that allows it to return at the end of each line.
By modern standards -- even then-current standards -- it's pretty basic. A standard sheet of paper won't fit, and the stop-and-add-ink routine would get tiring in a hurry.
I look at it as a kind of primitive Blackberry on which people of that day could tap out their "text messages."
Later versions, it is said, added lower-case letters. In any event, the Simplex Typewriter was gone by the early 1920s or thereabouts. They were produced in huge quantities, and apparently many survive.
So why did I buy it? It's neat and I like it, that's why. Also, the seller initially named a price that was roughly the sum I would have offered, and reduced it quickly when I hesitated. Without haggling, I thought it a good deal.
And I like toys.
Besides, one cannot be a writer without owning a typewriter. I will from now on mention the little Simplex to anyone who questions my bona fides as a writer....