Monday, November 14, 2011

Little Black Box

One day last September as I went up the steps to the museum I noticed that someone had left me a gift.   Alice sometimes leaves me items in plastic bags with notes inside.  But this was just a little black box.  I scooped it up and opened the door and went in and sat it on the volunteer desk.

Too late I thought..what if it is not a gift?  What if it is something not so good?  It was heavy..it didn’t feel like it could be anything alive?..or worse than that something deadly.   It looked old. Besides that it was too late..if it was going to explode it certainly would have done it when I picked it up.  Yup I was still alive..I work in a museum for gosh sakes..in a small town..stuff like that doesn’t happen here.  People drop off donations and set them on the step…that is normal.  

Just then Kelly and Sam ( Kelly is the Director of the Art Gallery upstairs and Sam is her son whom she homeschools. ).. came in the door.  I showed them the black box.   Sam was immediately captivated..who do you suppose left it on the step?  Cool..how does it open?  I wasn’t sure.  Finally we got it open..

Bennett Typewriter

It is a very portable Bennett Typewriter.  I told Sam to go upstairs and when he was done with his homework we would try it out and see what we could find out about it.

We found an advertisement..so we made a copy and put it in the typewriter.

Advertizing for the Bennett

New Typewriter $18

A remarkable typewriter carried in grip or in overcoat pocket.  Standard keyboard. Does work of $100 machine. Over 26,000 in daily use.  Bennett Portable Typewriter has less than 250 parts against 1,700 top 3,700 in others.  That’s the secret of our $18 price.  It’s built in the famous Elliot – Fisher Billing Machine Factory, sold on a money back unless satisfied guaranty.  Wt. 4 1/2 Ibs.  You can carry for home use, business or trips. 

D G Bennett Typewriter Company 365 Broadway NY

Charles Bennett invented this smallest keyboard ever produced. ( Well the smallest back in 1910.)

Sam and I had fun with our research..we even got the typewriter to type!   Later that day Sam came back downstairs and told me that he wrote a paper all about the Bennett.

When someone donates something I try to get as much information as possible about the item.  The paperwork for this accession is still in my “in” basket, I thought that someone may come by and take credit for the donation.

One of the great things about working in a museum is learning about so many different things and sharing them.  The museum is closed for the winter, the building has no heat.  I still work for them on a very part time basis, checking phone messages, emails  and writing the weekly blog:)

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24 comments:

  1. My fingers would want to go to the wrong spots with a lot of those keys, but it is really cool and I have never heard of one. You really do get to be up close and personal with some fascinating old objects. :):)

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  2. What a wonderous treasure! I've never seen one like these and I am OLD.

    It has already serves a wonderful purpose by stirring the curiosity of a child and inspiring him to write.

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  3. The first mini keyboard but certainly not the last. It's a cool machine; I've never seen one other than here. :-)

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  4. Oh our youngest son would love that he has a facination with old type writers ! WOW what a cool thing to have and all the info you got WOW! Might have been the first attempt of a lap top maybe being portable and all .Love your header I have the same scare crow. Have a wonderful day !

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  5. What an interesting post. Nice that someone donated, rather than tossed the typewriter.

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  6. That is a fascinating object : the iPad of its' day.

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  7. Even back then we wanted to stick our office in our pockets and go!

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  8. Amazing! I didn't know such a thing existed.

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  9. That is really interesting!
    Yes, there would be a slightly different way of typing with that.
    When I was little I got one of those big old original typewriters with the round keys. We eventually gave it to our local museum. I should go one day and see if it is still there.

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  10. What an incredible find!! Things like this just make my day.

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  11. How cool. I imagine you will miss things like that now that you aren't working at the museum -

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  12. Thats really cool!! I hope you find out who the donor was!!

    (They could get an $18 tax credit!)

    :)

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  13. I have never seen one before like this. My brother in law saved from the farm house and old one his mother had used. It was quite a old machine but smaller than the business models.

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  14. I have never seen or heard of a Bennet before. That is so interesting, I think the forerunner to the lap top and Itouch. Thanks for the history lesson.

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  15. Fascinating job you've got there all right. In my next life I might consider museaum director for a careet. It's got to things I really like... history and mystery to be solved. :)

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  16. I didn't know such a thing existed either. What a great surprise.

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  17. What a wonderful contribution. Yep...I'd have to agree...my fingers would have a hard time doin' the walkin' 'round that keyboard!!!

    Thanks for sharin' such a rare beauty sweetie!

    God bless and have a marvelous week!!! :o)

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  18. Now that would of been really fabulous to see in person. Lucky you.

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  19. What an awesome gift to the museum. I love the old typwriter and it still works. I've never seen one like that. I love the old one Andy Rooney was using and had on his desk. I hate he passed away just weeks after leaving the 60 Minutes Show.

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  20. It's great that you could involve a youngster in checking it out. I'll bet he could do some learning projects around other artifacts, too.

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  21. Hummm sort of like typeing a text message on today's cell phones! :)

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

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  22. Just think of how much you learn from little old typewriter?
    Too bad it was left anonymously as there would be tons more info from the donor.

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  23. Wow - what a beautiful typewriter! Just lovely.

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  24. What a gift. I love the history of things as well.

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie