Foreward

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Typewriter Story


Electric typewriters had been around for quite some time and Amanda had suggested to her father Bill that they should invest a modern electric one, like Porsche Cars Great Britain and AFN had. Whenever Bill raised the subject with Jimmy, he would not subscribe to purchasing one, preferring the old Remington he used, which could have been described as, “Coming out of the Ark”.
One Saturday morning I popped into to see Bill who was processing his films and we sat and had a coffee together and to catch up on each other’s weekly developments. Bill explained the typewriter situation to me and said, “I’m determined to get a new electric typewriter for the business but Jimmy is dead set against it.” We looked over at the old Remington and then Bill turned it over and told me he knew what he could to solve his dilemma. 
Bill was an indentured engineer and kept his lovely old set of tools upstairs in the flat, which was used mainly for storage. I used to love going upstairs in the flat and having a look around as it was fascinating to see all sorts of things. On this particular occasion, we were searching for a Stanley knife (box cutter) and I noticed some other tool boxes and Bill had told me they were his father’s, who had also been a an engineer in his day and had worked for Napier Engineering as a tool maker. Anyhow we went down the wrought iron spiral staircase back to the front office, which would have been the front part of the shop, if it had been used as a shop. Bill then proceeded to cut through the large rubber band on the underside of the Remington typewriter which pulled the carriage back across whilst you typed. I asked what was he doing and he said that he would leave a few per cent of the band intact so that when Jimmy was typing it would eventually let go and it would then give them an excuse to buy a new electric typewriter. Bill had also unscrewed and removed a retaining clip that stopped the carriage coming off the end of its rails.
The sabotage worked, because a few days later, Bill recalled that Jimmy was typing some captions for their weekly library release, when the typewriter carriage flew across the room and crashed onto the floor damaged beyond repair! Jimmy was mortified and he asked Bill to have a look at it, as Jimmy was not mechanically minded. After some detailed inspection Bill told him, “It’s had it Jimmy and you should look into getting it a new one as soon as possible.” Jimmy was then tasked with researching a new typewriter and once he had some quotes in Bill then pushed for a new IBM electric one just like Porsche Cars Great Britain were using.
Unfortunately shortly after this episode, Bill was in a terrible state one evening when I popped in and he told me he had found Jimmy slumped over his desk when he returned to the office one afternoon. Jimmy had apparently been in the Film Unit in the Army during world war two and had suffered very badly from shell shock, which had reoccurred causing him to go comatose. Bill subsequently had found out that Jimmy had not been attending to his work for many weeks and the business had suffered through this neglect. This led to Jimmy having to retire and leave the business so Bill’s daughter Amanda came and worked for Bill in the administration side of the business on a part time basis.
More of Bill Bates later…………….

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