Thursday, 2 July 2015

Friday 6/7/2015 - An Olivetti Lettera 22 Arrives In Questionable Shape, House Auctions Really Bug Me, & This Week's Wristwatches.

Last weekend

Went to an auction. We were interested in this house, despite the fact that it would need some work to make it liveable. Speaking to the real estate agent over the last few weeks, he indicated that the property would fetch somewhere in the high sixes. Okay, I think we can cope with that, considering how much we'd have to sink into the place afterwards. Not to mention the $37,000 Stamp Duty that would have to be added to the sale price. 
So, I get to the auction. The agent goes through his schtick about "Position, position, position", etc,  and the auction then gets underway; "Can we have an opening bid on this property?", he asks the crowd. 
And some guy to my right blurts out; "Six hundred and eighty!"
What. The. Hell?!!! A few more bids and I'm out of the running. The place ends up selling for over $800,000. 
One of the agents comes up to me afterwards. "Any questions?", she asks. 
"Yeah, why'd it sell for so much?", I say. That shuts her up. 
The hunt continues. We are in the middle of a "housing bubble" at the moment here in Australia. Home loan interest rates are sitting around 2%, which means that people are borrowing larger amounts from the banks, and bidding higher amounts at auction. That house was not worth the price that it sold for. Six months ago, it would have fetched around six hundred, six-fifty. However, people are getting desperate to get into the housing market and they're willing to spend more. 
We have a couple of options; 
Continue renting and wait for this bubble to burst. Could be six months, could be twelve.
Cast our net out a little wider and look for something a bit further out than we had first planned. As long as it's close to public transport so that the kids can get to school under their own steam. That would be preferable.

Anyway, as I say, the hunt continues. 

I wore the Submariner early in the week (old photo);

I spotted an Olivetti Lettera 22 on eBay earlier in the week. Here's the seller's pic;

Looked good. Seller stated that it was in working order. So I bid on it and was successful. The typewriter arrived earlier today and this is how it looked;

My fellow Typospherians, y'all can see how there's a little more of a gap between the edge of the frame and the shift key, not to mention the way the ribbon cover now sits. 
Personally, I think it was damaged in transit by our wonderful Australia Post. Now, I must mention that they have been fine in the past, despite the fact that I had a run-in with the delivery guy one morning over the way he tends to casually toss parcels onto our front porch with a disgusting regularity. Granted, I'm not buying Faberge Eggs, but there have been times when my wife or I have made eBay purchases of items that were reasonably fragile and I have cringed at times over the way these items were delivered.

I have a plan. It involves a door frame and a car-jack. With the typewriter somewhere in-between;

Now, last time I checked, I remembered that I'm no metallurgist, so I don't know how much stress I can put on this typewriter frame before it either eases back into its approximate original shape or it snaps in half.
What say you? Should I take a crack (bad choice of word) at it?
Mechanically, it works just fine, so if the frame does break, then I'll have a nice parts machine for anybody who wants it.
If the frame holds, however, and ends up looking a little better, then I think I'll be giving this shell a new paint job. I have a can of bright yellow spray-paint which would make this Glasgow-built machine look more like the older Lett 22s from the Fifties.
I'll have to wait and see.

Switched over to the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean (old photo);

Other than that, not much else going on. The job hunting continues, as does the house hunting. The kids are on school holidays for another week, the cat is her usual glamorous self (old photo, man, I'm just not trying today, am I?);

Have a good weekend, and thanks for reading!


  1. That's annoying. I mean.. really annoying. But don't be too frustrated. I've bent back a few frames now. One one occasion I simply sat an Olympia SG1 on its side and belted it with a rubber mallet. The L22's metal is softer, and should be able to be pushed back into place by hand, using your weight. I'd sit it on its side on a carpeted section of ground and get someone to hold the machine while I pushed my eight down onto the corner to push it back. But you will need to use a small rubber mallet to push back out some of the distortions.

    I sent that Stott desktop up to John in two near armoured boxes recently, and Auspost still managed to mangle the one containing the carriage. Bastards they are.

    Good luck with your house hunting. Jane and I are steering clear of the market for now as it is far too inflated.

    Also, have you changed your details? I should have some good writing time soon. Hope to send you an over-due update.


    1. Thanks, Scott. I used a rubber-tipped mallet and smacked it around a little. Definitely made an improvement. Still ever-so-slightly out of alignment, but nowhere near as noticeable. I did notice that one of the segments that screws the workings to the frame is actually broken, but this doesn't affect the machine in any way other than a slight looseness to one side of the frame. I'm thinking that I may be able to fashion a piece of steel that may then need to be drilled into the side of the case.
      And yes, the housing market is absolute BS at the moment.
      My address details are the same, sir. Hope you and Miss J are well!

  2. Frames do get bent in shipping, often enough. Sorry to see that it happened to you.

    That housing market does sound like a bubble. I hear there's stock market trouble in China that may soon spill over to Australia and the rest of the world, and maybe all those people sinking their future fortunes into real estate right now will be very sorry ...

  3. Ooh, annoying. My Sugru mend on a broken L32 frame-tab is holding up nicely. It's not the ideal solution as it would have to be redone every time you take the frame off, but it stops the rattle, & is dead simple to do. Yellow sounds fun for this machine.

  4. @ Richard P, I took a rubber-tipped mallet to the frame and got it into better shape by the time I was done. Still not perfect, but a lot better than it was. I may take another crack at it.

    @ typetheclouds, thanks for the suggestion. The Lettera 22's case zipper is completelt shot, so I think I'll have a try at replacing it, thanks to your example on your blog. Cheers!

  5. As a piece of art, I like the Wile E Cayote plan. :)

    1. I didn't draw the jack properly. The handle goes right through the middle of it. And it's not made by ACME, either. Shame, really.

  6. dude, at those home prices, you might have to sell some timepieces.
    my wife and I went through that a couple years ago. freaking frustrating and repetitive and baffling and joyous and exhausting. ill share some:
    ive got no advice except for strategic patience. I think we spent the better part of 2 years looking while we shacked up with my parents, saving $. Nearly every other weekend and sometimes consecutive weekends looking around. At times even, at the very beginning of our search especially (when youre so excited to find the dream home), we'd find a home listing at 10pm and drive over there just to get a better look (yes, at night haha).
    We'd change our minds about somethings, such as location and condition, but the bones had to be there and the neighborhood had to have a family feel.
    In the end, we went with new house, not without compromises. The wife suddenly realized she wanted a completely new place since her family always moved to an existing house with remnants of whoever lived there before. I wish she realized this earlier since we had looked at this development a year prior.
    So yeah, that's an even bigger part of it: you may have input but the wife likely will have the larger say in this matter. hahaha.
    As for your L22, poor little guy with the bent frame. But it looks like she survived her drop.
    I still have an Oliver Portable that was damaged during shipping and its ribbon vibrator came off and its segment rattles loose. Despite this, when I last analyzed the damage, I believe it can be fixed with putting back and tightening the screws. Luckily the frame is still in its intended shape, to my eye at least.
    anyways, good luck sir. And your diagram gave me a smile.