Unboxing the Remington Monarch

So as I said earlier, I decided to go buy a typewriter.  Just for the tactile feedback and the increased concentration it forces you to have.  I go a little ADHD when I write on a computer, and although that’s OK at some levels I think I’d like the discipline that comes with knowing you can’t cut-and-paste.  And besides, it was only $87.  And I had had a couple of beers.

So, I went and bought a 45-year old typewriter on eBay.  Turns out there’s quite the thriving market in such things, although even the best examples are not fetching a huge amount.  However, I couldn’t go past this portable typewriter – it was in excellent condition and exactly what I was looking for.  I’ve now received it, and it is in beyond excellent condition.  Yes, I need to pick up my typing (it’s amazing how slack computers let you become), but the typewriter itself is as it was when it came off the production line 45 years ago.  And I do mean that without the slightest hint of ‘for it’s age’.

And since I wonder sincerely whether my Netbook (now 1 year old) will still be operating in any shape in 44 years time (remember, that’s 2053 for crying out loud!), I thought it would be nice to give the Monarch the unboxing treatment, as it is my ‘brand-new’ gadget.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… “unboxing the 1964 Remington Monarch.

Firstly, the eBayer who sold it to me knows their stuff had it very well packed:

I plan to introduce my children to the wonders of bubble wrap later. 

And you can see the size of it (it’s not diminutive, but it’s not impossibly heavy, as I remember my first typewriter was):

The carry case is the item that has had the most wear and tear over the years, and even it is in good condition:

With plenty of foam packaging, it was well-protected:

The Remington Monarch, with its travel protector and everything all there as well:

Everything inside the case is here, including some brushes for maintenance and the original (!) user’s guide:

The keys are in excellent condition, and after a little fiddling it was operational.  Not bad for a 45-year old machine:

And just for the record, here’s an example of its typing: 

Not bad – fortunately I do remember what it’s like to type on a typewriter.  It’s not always fun, and I will probably abandon it in favour of the computer again.  But for the moment it’s my gadget-of-the-week, and I think it does well in the longevity stakes. 

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A Remington Monarch

Tweeting with @NicoleJensen (and @PattyCam) recently, and recognising that I have a lot of writing to do, I got nostalgic for the feel of a real typewriter.  So of course like everyone these days I go on eBay, and there’s a fantastic portable typewriter for sale (8 minutes to go) from arfandmarf, ready for my credit card love:

This 1964 Remington ‘Monarch’ typewriter is in excellent, near pristine condition.   It has its original (quality) case with key, original instructions, a cleaning kit and even the original semi-circular  ‘restrainer’ (designed to keep the type levers secured during transit).

This typewriter has been carefully maintained since new – it comes to the successful bidder cleaned, serviced, lubricated and working PERFECTLY – AND I DO MEAN PERFECTLY!

The ‘Monarch’ was introduced in 1961, and the second (updated version) was introduced in 1964 – this typewriter is one of the second versions.   The updated, fully-featured version has minor improvements, including cosmetic improvements (such as the use of chrome):  this typewriter’s quality is superb (sublime, in fact) and, having owned more than 50 typewriters, I can honestly say that this is the only portable I have owned that matches (and exceeds in most cases) the quality and performance of most full-sized typewriters (quality full-sized typewriters!).

Everything about this typewriter smacks of quality!   It even has a red-coloured touch-pressure control knob which allows the ‘touch’ pressure to be varied at will.

OK, I appreciate that the purchaser will probably just want to display the typewriter (and why wouldn’t you!) because of its fabulous 60’s clean retro lines, but I just had to make the comment that this is a superb machine to actually type on.

The typewriter’s body is metal.   It has lovely, clean lines, and a predominantly two-tone colour scheme in dove grey and soft-white:  the undersides of the keys are a fabulous, funky, dark brown.

The ribbon is in excellent condition and the type is 10 characters per inch:  the type is level.

The case is a quality, sturdily constructed item with a secure latch and internal heavy foam bolsters designed to secure and protect the typewriter during transit.   The original key is included.   The quality of the case is in keeping with the typewriter’s quality.   The case shows some signs of wear, but is in overall very good and totally functional condition.

This typewriter was manufactured in Holland, and the case was manufactured in West Germany.   The typewriter’s serial number is ‘CY 47 54 37’


So now I am the proud owner of this machine (well, proud when it arrives and hopefully it is in as good condition as described, as I do intend to actually write on it):

Remington Monarch Mk2
Remington Monarch Mk2

Actually I am thinking I’ll combine high and low-tech solution, being to type on it (nice tactile feedback) and then for second draft scan, ocr, and re-read and re-draft into the PC.  Let’s see how long my $87 ebay purchase-on-a-whim lasts :).

Data management strategies

On 14th October 2009, I will be presenting at CPA Congress in Melbourne to the topic ‘Data Management Strategies’.  Apparently CPA Australia didn’t like my originally suggested title ‘The devil is in the detail – which is why the Lord of the Nine Hells should never be your DBA’, which I blogged about earlier.  I think the new title is rather bland, don’t you.

The session overview is below:

Micheal Axelsen FCPA Director
Applied Insights Pty Ltd

As accountants, we prepare the information that a business uses to make its important decisions. Sometimes though, the data we use seems to be impossible to track down – and when we do find it, who knows whether it’s actually useful or not?

In this entertaining presentation, Micheal looks at some of the practical pitfalls and case studies of working with data – from rampant spreadsheets to the DBA nightmare – that Micheal has seen, with practical advice you can use to help your business escape its database nightmare.

Anyway, it promises to be fun, although it would have been much more fun if I could have brought theology into the debate of DBAs vs rational people.

Image from Flickr User Lessio. Some Rights Reserved.