Have you trolled the depths of eBay and are tired of the same old catch? Are you looking to expand your fishing grounds for more exotic game? Perhaps you’ve seen a typewriter listed from an overseas seller, but fear of the unknown held you back. Before you read further, I’m talking mainly to the American angler. Because what I’m about to reveal about hooking an overseas typewriter may be different depending on your country’s import laws.
You might be in one of those principalities where typewriters are banned for fear they may fall in the hands of a subversive element. After all, we know that writers who use typewriters secretly wish for a return to a simpler time. A less consumptive time. A time when needs trumped wants. Saying no to our binge of ever escalating upgrades and new things is an act of revolt. But I digress, The Manifesto covers this topic quite well.
There’s nothing to snagging an American typewriter. Drop in a line and you’ll get one. There’s loads of them and if you’re patient and know what to look for, you’ll get one that is up to the task. I have no qualms with the Americanos. They’re good, decent fish. I prize my 1947 Smith-Corona Sterling.
But, perhaps, you’ve been lured by the good looks of an overseas beauty. And, here I must admit, the Americans are rather plain. Fortunately, Olivetti (Lettera) and Olympia (SM3) stocked our pond with some good designs. But you’re the type of writer who wants a trophy on their desk worthy of their poetic prose. A fish that mirrors your inner beauty. Part of the fun of writing with a typewriter is finding The Special One.
But there’s a catch! The guy selling it is in Holland. A few days waiting for your domestic typewriter to arrive already chafes against your two-day prime time delivery expectations. Waiting for the trans Atlantic container ship will make glacier watching seem like fun. Moreover, you might’ve already been a victim of domestic package abuse when your typewriter arrived with a bent carriage. Who knows what’ll happen when those merchant marine thugs get hold of your precious cargo. And once it arrives, you’ve been warned there might be additional import fees, tariffs or other sundry financial add-ons. All this leads your finger away from clicking the Buy it Now button. It’s just not worth the worry! You’ll stick with the known. It’s not perfect, but perfectly safe.
Well, pilgrim, I’ve sailed into foreign waters and am happy to report that your fears are unfounded. My sampling size is only two, but these two were terrific. One was from a nice shop owner in Berlin, the other from a guy in the Netherlands. And here I must stress, as I’ve done in other posts, get your typewriters from sellers who know typewriters. They know how to pack them, how to describe them and whether they work well. These two sellers knew their wares.
I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they arrived. Ten to fourteen days went by like a breeze. And when they appeared on my stoop, I was not presented with a tariff bill. Shipping was a bit higher than buying domestic, $50-65, but considering the distance travelled and the quality of the typewriter, easily justified in the total cost of ownership. One I’ve already reviewed, the Groma Modell N, the other is in the works, a Reinmetall of stunning beauty.
So, come on in the water’s fine! Throw out a line and snag something different. It might just be the typewriter that’ll energize your writing.
Here are the two sellers:
La Reja (Berlin, Germany)
Typewriters Heaven (Afferden, The Netherlands)