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..
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.
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:)