August 20, 2019
I love vintage office furniture and supplies. The other day, I thought, what if I were to do a reverse-Kondo? What would really give me joy would be to acquire a whole new office set-up. In this fantasy, I started to imagine pencils and staplers and tape dispensers and fountain pen holders to sit on my grey, early 1960s Steelcase desk. The hardest choice was the typewriter. I love them and could easily have picked a Remington No. 2 (circa 1920s; I have one on display under my glass-topped coffee table); or a Royal Quiet Deluxe (1940s; a favorite of Hemingway); or an Olivetti Lettera 22 (1950s) or a Smith-Corona Sterling (1950s). But I chose a Swiss-made, seafoam green Hermes 3000 portable. For one thing, I have a seafoam green Hermes Baby under my coffee table (created by Italian designer Giuseppe Presioso, the small-but-beautiful lines of the Baby changed typewriter design forever; favored by traveling journalists, it was the iPad of the 1940s & ’50s). But for an office, a Hermes 3000 is a better choice. It’s widely considered to be among the finest portable typewriters ever made. When Pulitzer-prize winning author Larry McMurtry accepted a Golden Globe for the screenplay of his novel, Broke Back Mountain, he said: “Most heartfelt, I thank my typewriter. My typewriter is a Hermes 3000, surely one of the noblest instruments of European genius.” Who could say it better?
Whale-shaped, cast-iron Scotch Tape dispenser. Circa 1940 by Minnesota Mining Mfg.