I learned to type at my dad’s office.
His secretaries had electric typewriters that I would poke around on after hours. I’d watch in fascination as the silver ball quickly spun around to the correct letters, numbers, and symbols before revealing them on the page. I always loved the click-clack of the keys and the sound of the bell when you reached the end of the line.
The office was lined with barrister bookshelves full of leather bound books. Often, I’d have an extra hour to kill before my dad would be able to give me a ride home. So I’d walk the hall admiring the bookshelves before taking a seat behind a typewriter to pass the time.
When my father passed away my siblings and I each got to keep one of the bookshelves. It’s one of my favorite possessions and I can’t help but think of those glorious afternoons exploring the office and typing away for hours on end.
Recently I’ve been on a mission to add mystery back into my life. I figured that if I’m trying to encourage my audiences to enjoy mystery then I should probably do the same in my everyday life.
Part of that push has been to live a more “analog” life. I’ve been limiting my screen time, staying away from social media, and taking a more “old school” approach to my daily routine. It was only a matter of time before I bought my own typewriter.
I’ve always been a fan of the mid-century modern aesthetic, so I went with an Olivetti Lettera 32. Isn’t it beautiful?
I love this machine. It’s in perfect shape, has a perfect fit to my hands, and it’s totally my style. Just seeing it each day makes me want to sit down and get to work.
Also, it’s a manual typewriter, so there’s no need to charge it or upgrade it to the next operating system. It just sits on my desk waiting for me to create something.
Speaking of my desk… I had remembered that my dad’s typewriters had been resting on these large metal desks. They were huge and solid and built to last. So naturally I wanted one of those.
After doing a bit of research I discovered that those desks are known as “steel tanker desks”. I started searching everywhere for a desk that would go well with my Olivetti Lettera 32. I went dozens of pages deep on Craigslist, eBay, and more, but I couldn’t find the model I had in mind.
One day Stephanie and I went out to browse antique stores. I didn’t expect to find the desk I was wanting but I was keeping an eye out anyway. And at our tenth store, in a beautiful moment of serendipity, Stephanie found it sitting just inside the door. Plus, it was on sale. They were practically giving it away.
We cleared out the seats, wheeled it to the back alley, and loaded a massive, solid steel desk into the car. Surprisingly it wasn’t too difficult to transport it across the city and upstairs to our apartment. And suddenly, everything came together.
The desk matched the typewriter, which together matched my lamp, chair, and wall art. Everything was perfect.
I glanced down at the desk to see a seal from the desk’s manufacturer: Globe-Wernicke.
“I wonder where this desk has been…” I thought to myself.
So I went in search of some information I could find on steel tanker desks made by Globe-Wernicke. Eventually I arrived at this article.
It turns out that Globe-Wernicke is best known for patenting the “barrister bookcase” - the very bookcase that lined the halls of my dad’s office. The very bookcase that sat nearby while I was learning to type. The very bookcase my father left me after he passed away.
I love when everything comes full circle in life. I love when things connect in magical, mysterious ways that you couldn’t possibly anticipate.
Life can be really wonderful sometimes.
And that’s the story of my new typewriter, my new desk, and what goes through my mind when I sit down to write each and every day.
Check out some backstage mind reading from Liberty Magic: