Note (11/30/13): This article has been updated — see here.
I lately acquired a Packard portable typewriter on eBay for $30, shipping included. It is a singularly mysterious machine, and I can’t learn anything about it. I searched various typewriter sites, and I’ve found only one or two others online, hardly any details. Writes a blogger at Opencuney.org:
I recently purchased a typewriter (made by Packard, before they were joined by Hewlett), and took it out this morning in an attempt to figure out what to get from Staples to make it work again (I was told, hopefully accurately, that there are really only a few types of typewriter ribbons). I was struck by how beautiful it is, and how odd, set on the table next to a MacBook. There’s a story to be told about these machines that isn’t finished yet, and I wonder how touch screens will continue to catalyze whatever iteration of the keyboard comes next.
I’m not certain that this machine was manufactured by Packard of Hewlett-Packard, but it’s quite possible. Does anyone recognize this machine? (I swear I’ve seen this model before, but I cannot recollect where.) According to the labels, the Packard was made in Italy.
Regarding build quality, the Packard consists of plastic-body construction with an aluminum (?) internal structure. The plastic is cheap, and everything about this machine indicates it was an inexpensive typer, perhaps aimed at the student market.
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One last note, the eBay seller offered the Packard at a “buy it now” price of $10. I quickly made the purchase, never looking at shipping, which was $43 for expedited delivery. Neither had the seller, who graciously offered parcel post for $20, refunding the difference. That was much appreciated.
Update: Per Vin Mas’ request for photos showing the pull string, here are two —
© 2013, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.