Last time I wrote about slightly uncommon, if not rare, subjects… This time I am going to focus on what I perceive to be among the most common.
Brother’s Charger 11
Anyone who is even passively interested in typewriters knows about, and has seen, a Brother-brand typewriter. They are among the most common, and in my travels to different regions and countries, it doesn’t seem to matter where you go – you can find a Brother. And it could likely be a Charger 11, one of the most plentiful of used typewriters I come across.
Robert Messenger has a brilliant history of the Brother typewriter company, from its origins to the time when they began producing typewriters in the 1960s. It is well worth a read! And it provides a great perspective on how disruptive this Japanese company was in the industry. They very quickly started producing good-quality, cheap typewriters for the masses. Eventually they were selling typewriters in 110 countries!
While there are only a handful of mechanism designs found in Brother typewriters, they appear in a staggering number of differently named and packaged machines. The Typewriter Database entry on Brother can make your head spin! Not only did they sell essentially the same typing mechanisms in dozens of different models, they also provided repackaged machines to other sellers, including Webster, Sears, Montgomery Ward and K-mart.
The story of how a Charger 11 appeared in my little collection…
Judging by the styling of it, and the convoluted deciphering of the serial number (G4820008) from the TWDB, my daughter’s Charger 11 would appear to be from 1964. It would be considered a JP-1 variant, I believe (the first generation of Brother’s mechanisms). I neglected to get a picture of the cover/case that snaps onto it, making it easy to carry, but it’s not very interesting to look at, so if you’ve seen one, don’t worry, you’re not missing a thing!
It has no tab, no #1 key, not even an exclamation point – it is a very basic sort of machine. On the plus side, the margins are very easy to adjust. While it’s a capable, portable, sturdy, bullet-proof sort of typer, I wouldn’t be too upset if, for example, Zoe knocked it off the desk and it ended up bent or broken. I could probably find a replacement in a few days, to be honest. I would be more upset if, say, my Skyriter or my Hermes Rocket were to suffer such damage.
All that having been said, I must admit that there are some other Brother variations that I am really looking forward to trying…
Danforth Brewery’s Viaduct IPA
I need to provide a bit of context here; I live in Toronto near a street we call The Danforth. As a result, the beer I’m looking at today is a very common beer, very easily available. Unlike the Charger 11 typewriter, if you don’t live here, I realize it will likely seem far more exotic. Such is life!
The Danforth Brewery has been in operation for a few years now. Not a bricks-and-mortar brewer, their beer is brewed under contract. Their Viaduct IPA is, to my knowledge, their only beer. It is widely available in restaurants and bars across the city, and is distributed by the LCBO (the provincially-owned and operated liquor store in the province of Ontario.
Interesting fact: The viaduct from which the beer gets its name celebrated its 100th anniversary just a few weeks ago. I take the subway to work on this route, traveling high over the Don River and the Don Valley Parkway (affectionately known locally as the Don Valley Parking Lot).
Much like the Charger 11, this beer is a pretty straight-ahead, no-frills West Coast IPA. It is a bit grassy on the nose, and has a somewhat sweet flavour with the initial quaff, finishing off nicely bitter. It’s a decent pint, and it lives up to the standards of a craft beer. Beyond that, I don’t know what I can add? It will never be one of my favorite beers, I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek it out. In that way, it’s very much like the Brother Charger 11! A solid performer of good quality, but landing somehow in the middle of the pack of all available option.
Here’s to hoping that Danforth Brewery will continue, and that we’ll see another recipe from them soon. (Love the artwork on the can, by the way.) Until next time, please drink responsibly, and type safely!