Today I bagged a 1927 Remington Model 12 typewriter, but where exactly I’m not telling. The sourcing of good antique machines can be very challenging in a small place like Manila and sometimes we have to be circumspect about revealing our sources.
That said, I have to say typewriter after saying Remington Standard Model 12 because if you key that into Google you’ll likely trigger pictures of a pump-action .22 rimfire rifle. It’s no surprise either because in 1837 Mr. Sholes, the inventor of the QWERTY typewriter, sold his share of the typewriter invention to E. Remington and Sons, later to become the gun, typewriter, and sewing machine manufacturer.
The Remington Model 12 is a big black typewriter that looks exactly like you’d imagined the typewriters of old. It has the characteristic iron cube shape and weighs like a safe of the same material. A nice touch to the machine though are the Rube Goldergian twistings of chrome steel around the area of the carriage, and the glass topped ring keys in front. If you’re even a little bit into Dieselpunk or Steampunk, this machine will appeal to you.
1927. It helps if you’ll transport yourself in your mind’s eye to that year in our history. It was the year Charles Lindberg made the first successful solo trans-Atlantic flight from New York City to Paris, France. It was a remarkable achievement considering one out of two pilots who attempted that at the time died in the attempt. 1927 was also the year the 4 faces were carved into Mt. Rushmore, and the year the Ford Model A was launched. Josef Stalin, whom by some estimates was responsible for the deaths of as high as 20 million, began his dictatorship which would last till 1952. No, not everything was bright and optimistic in 1927.
What about Manila, what was going on in Manila. 1927 was smack in the middle of the American colonial period. Here’s a picture of the Philippine General Hospital at the time, from John Tewell’s collection on Flickr:
Here below is the Remington Standard Model 12. It works. It does need some cleaning, oiling, and a change of ribbon, but it works. I’m looking forward to writing a thing or two on the machine, by way of making it feel more at home here in the Philippines. Mabuhay, machine!