Behold, the Hermes 3000, testament to the wonders of Swiss engineering. Owing to my fascination with old-world objects, I have a great appreciation for typewriters. It’s amazing to open up a typewriter and gaze at the countless springs, bars, cogs, and gizmos that all work in harmony to produce a written page. More amazing still is the ingenuity that was required to imagine such a machine and bring the idea to life (without computers, CAD software, rapid prototyping…).
The particular Hermes 3000 pictured above is from the late 60’s, and though nearly half a century old, it still clicks and clacks as solidly as ever. While I’m no connoisseur, I would say that this typewriter is among the nicer ones out there. While some typewriters from the same era feel rickety while typing, the Hermes 3000 feels like a tank, and every key press registers solidly. I would compare it to driving a heavy Volvo vs. a light Honda - they may be sedans of the same size class, but you can definitely notice a difference in how they handle.
Another thing about the 3000 that I love are the margin indicators. Above the paper sits a ruler bar indicating your position along the page, and integrated within the bar is an actual ribbon that moves around as you set the margins! Most other machines use clumsy, moveable pegs to set and indicate margins. You really have to see it to appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into designing this particular feature - truly elegant.
While you can’t buy typewriters from Hermes anymore (though I’m told they’re actually still around to service them!), there are a number of online stores that sell them. One of the better sites, if not the best, is myTypewriter. At myTypewriter you can browse through dozens of different typewriters, from a Corona No. 3 from 1906 to a mid 80’s IBM Selectric III. If you already own a typewriter, you’re also in luck - at myTypewriter you can also find all sorts of ribbons, supplies, and even out-of-print typewriter manuals.