Without being able to go back in time to the 1980s and experience an e.t. as it was when it was new, it’s difficult to judge the merits of a particular brand and model of e.t. based on the one second-hand model you own.
Identical when new, any two electronic typewriters that rolled of the production line 35 to forty years ago, are now no longer the same.
“Not even identical twins can have the exact same experiences.”John Medina
One might have had one lady owner and been used sparingly. The other might have seen several owners and been heavily used.
One might have been knocked about during transit and left out in the sun to yellow. Another might have been re-assembled using parts from a donor machine.
One might have been stored in a hot shed or garage to attract cockroaches and house paint. Another might have been stored in a damp cellar to attract mice and mildew.
If you’re lucky, of course, that e.t. you picked up online lived its entire life in the Goldilocks zone, not too hot, not too cold.
More likely though, that e.t. you picked up online is neither perfect nor complete. All the more reason to find another one.
What reasons can there be to buy an e.t. you already have in your collection?
1: To get your hands on a stash of hard to find consumables or an instruction guide. I’ve done that a few times.
Twins: Two for the price of one? No. Two for the price of two!
2: Out of curiosity, to compare your machine against another. Is it as good as it gets?
You can spend too much time wondering which of identical twins is the more alike.ROBERT BRAULT
3: (3 can often stem from reasons 1 and 2) To use one of the two machines as a parts machine or do a straight swap for the machine you’ve got (for example, you find an unblemished “as new” model or a colour variant you prefer).
If I ever had twins, I’d use one for parts.STEVEN WRIGHT
Take two Panasonic KX-R305 portable e.t.s as an example:
As mentioned in a previous post, these “second generation” 5 kg, 11 cps KX-Rs (introduced in November 1988) are 1 kg lighter and 1 cps slower than “first generation” KX-R portable electronic typewriters (introduced in June 1987). There’s a noticeably cheaper grade of plastic and probably more plastic throughout. The typing action is quieter than it is on original KX-Rs and the 11 cps print speed is just fast enough to pass muster. You could do a lot worse.
Why did I buy a second KX-R305 when the one I already owned (on the left, above) was in pristine cosmetic condition?
While the typewriter itself was in pristine condition, its top cover had a missing/broken latch. (Reason 3).
That’s the kind of flaw that niggles at you and how else are you going to find a replacement top cover other than to find another KX-R305?
At the same time, of course, you can satisfy your curiosity and do a typing comparison and a cosmetic comparison between the two machines (Reason 2).
“The moment when you realise that you’re typing with the wrong twin…”
As it turned out, in addition to having an intact top cover, the second KX-R305 had a slightly better typing feel (firmer and quieter, less vibration of the print unit). This makes sense since the respective serial numbers suggest it’s the younger of the two (1CAMC014133 vs 0FAMB006388).
The trade off: minor blemishes on the front facia and sides of the younger model. For me, the typing action on the unblemished older model (the one with the “Demo” sticker) is still good enough, so I’d rather keep that one:
Only room for one. As you can see I’m short of table space.
Some lucky person’s gonna come by a very good KX-R305 typewriter in their local thrift store (even if it ain’t perfect).