8. New Typer Day: Imperial Good Companion 5

I’m in love.

Here is a typer to take the breath away, and my photos don’t do it justice. It was born in the same year as me, 1959, but has weathered the storms MUCH better than I have! I can see a little touch-up of the paint work in one or two spots, but otherwise this machine is in perfect condition, and is easy to type with.

Hats off to the lads at George Blackman Vintage Typewriters [https://www.georgeblackmanvintagetypewriters.co.uk] who did a superb job, and packaged it well:

 

The smart case is also in excellent condition:

Beautifully-aged colour:

Red alongside Stan – they’re good companions already…

 

There is a short-lived tradition in my house of writing a poem when first trying out a new typer. I’m afraid this is the best I could come up with:

And here are all the letters, etc:

Yes, I think we have a bright future together!

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Calming down a little…this was a relatively expensive purchase for me. One expects a shop to charge more than the prices generally found on eBay, but I don’t mind paying it when the company have done such a good job in restoration. A feeling of “We care!” emanates from their work. Also, they answered any email queries I had very promptly and courteously. Full marks again to George Blackman Vintage Typewriters [https://www.georgeblackmanvintagetypewriters.co.uk]

I had to learn that, as the machine was designed without a baseplate, it will not work on a felt and wool pad, and must remain on the base of the box – see fourth picture above. That’s okay, but I’ve put a rubber mat under the base to stop it sliding or scratching the table surface. Again, thanks to the shop for setting me straight on that.

This is my first segment-shift typer, meaning that when you press the Shift key the segment or basket where all the keys are, lowers to enable upper-case strikes. What a difference this makes over carriage-shifting, where the heaviest part of the machine must be raised by the weakest finger!

As a result, the tension of the keys is such that I could possibly contemplate learning to touch type, but at the very least I will try with two fingers of each hand instead of one.

This is the only red Good Companion 5 I’ve seen, though Richard Polt informs me he bought one in London many years ago. I’m sure there must be more, but they do seem quite rare. Let me know if you have one.

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So, and then there were three: the Imperial Good Companion 5, the Remington Noiseless Portable, and the the Olympia SM3, nicknamed Red (what else?!), Stan, and Oly (with one l). The SM3 is away to Tom Lucas for a service and a new platen. The platen on the Good Companion seems to have some life left in it yet. It should now last another 59 years.

FYI, here’s a great overview of Imperial Good Companion typewriters:

https://oztypewriter.blogspot.com/2013/04/imperial-portable-typewriters-1908-1978_9.html

 

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