ORWELL'S TYPEWRITER A REMINGTON
To Orwell Today,
re: ORWELL'S TYPEWRITER MY GRANDFATHER'S
Thanks so much for your post, Jackie. You have answered the question. I hardly expected such a quick response and in such detail.
Orwell is definitely seated at a Remington Portable, either a model 1 or 2. An interesting machine it was. The typist could retract the typebars after use to lower the profile of the machine, making it more compact for transport. Orwell must have bought his with portability in mind.
Another curiosity is that in the profile photo of Orwell at the typewriter, the typebars seem to be in the "down" or inoperative position. This suggests that Orwell is posing for the camera with no intention of writing.
The typewriter placed in the window of the Jura house is another model altogether. Unless Orwell had another machine, this one is probably a prop.
Remington Portables of the kind Orwell used were quite common and are readily available on e-Bay. One located in Spokane, Washington sold yesterday for $20 plus shipping. Unfortunately the buyer seems to have been someone interested in cutting the keys off old typewriters and making jewelry out of them. Blasphemy!
By the way, Agatha Christie used the very same model Remington. Did Orwell know Christie? Could they have consulted on their purchases?
Thanks again for your post. You have a great, informative site and provide a valuable service.
Wow, that's incredible that the mystery of Orwell's typewriter has been solved. No, I don't know if he knew Agatha Christie but I'm beginning to feel a bit like her myself, having correctly zoned in on the Remington Portable as the make and model.
Yes, no doubt he was posing for the typewriter pictures because the photo session was all about him demonstrating his daily activities. What an interesting little glitch about the typebars being down in the inoperative position. Only a true typewriter enthusiast would know that, similar to how only a true princess would feel the pea* beneath a mile-high pile of mattresses.
I'm amazed and thankful that I actually possess the same kind of typewriter used by an author - and not just any author - but the most FAMOUS author of the 20th century, and one who happens to be very close to my heart.
Now my Remington Portable will be triply cherished by me, firstly because it was my grandfather's, secondly because it was like Orwell's and thirdly because it was the one that taught me how to type.
All the best,
PS - I have been in the very place where that photo of Orwell typing was taken. See 27B CANONBURY SQUARE
PPS - I actually think it would be nice to have earrings made of Remington Portable keys. I'd choose "G" for the left ear and "O" for the right. And with the spare keys I'd have a necklace with the letters of my husband and children and use the numbers for a "1984" bracelet.
*The Princess and the Pea, by Hans Christian Anderson, 1835
ORWELL TODAY BIRTHDAY TYPING
ORWELL'S TYPEWRITER MY GRANDFATHER'S
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