Issue: 2015-05-28 PHOTO: Teresa Vander Meer-Chasse
The Old Remington has written many stories
An old Remington typewriter sits on a wicker shelf in Sid’s home, nestled among vintage 1950s View-Masters stereoscopes. “That typewriter is probably from the 1920s,” says Sid. “I’ve had that old typewriter for a long time.”
Sid takes a moment to jog his memory. “I’ve probably had that for 40 years or 35 years,” he estimates. The black colouring of the typewriter has faded over time but the typewriter, made of durable metal, is itself in good condition. “I was scavenging around in an old building. There was straw and dirt on it. I cleaned it up and it was still able to type and work well.”
The Remington typewriter, made in Ilion, New York, is one of nine typewriters that can be found around Sid’s home and museum, located down a gravel road behind the local baseball diamond in Beaver Creek.
Wandering through Sid’s twocar garage we see the multithemed museum in his backyard. The first door of Sid’s museum opens up to a dark musky room dedicated to his army collection. The floors of the room are rough and the roof lets the sunrays shine down upon some pieces of the collection. The room houses an Alaska Highway era dusty grey cot, a wooden US military desk and chair, old military two-way radios, and another vintage typewriter. On the sturdy wooden desk sits an Olivetti linea 98 typewriter surrounded by clocks, flashlights, and metal desktop filing cabinets. “This typewriter isn’t as old as the Remington.”
The Olivetti is made of a soft metal, maybe even plastic. Like many pieces in his collection, Sid can only estimate when he acquired the object. “I’ve had all these typewriters for years,” Sid tells us. “My collection changes, but some pieces — like these typewriters — stay for many, many years in my museum to be on display. The museum displays aren’t complete without them! “Typewriters were much more common in the old days. Now everyone has computers and cellphones.”
Even Sid has an iPad. Sitting on the US military stamped chair, Sid pretends to type away on the Olivetti and reminds us that “this is what people used to use to write letters, contracts, stories, and articles.” Most, if not all, of Sid’s typewriters still function.
The Olivetti linea 98 typewriter can be found in the army themed room of Sid’s Bordertown Museum. The Remington typewriter can be found in Sid’s home underneath his A&W light fixture. The Remington has written many stories over the past 95 years, and just like Sid van der Meer, it keeps going.