This time we’ll look at two really solid products, both the typewriter and the beer, and they both come in interesting packages.
Smith-Corona Super Sterling
This is my first Smith-Corona of this “generation.” By that, I mean this style of typewriter which they made from the early 1960s thru to the early 1970s, with the sort of sleek, modern body, the curvy plastic keys, and the fascinating sliding ribbon cover hood. A bunch of their other machines of this period had similar styling, including the other Sterlings and the various Galaxie models.
It was Father’s Day, and my wife, kids and I were at an antique mall/flea market. There were a few typewriters about, but nothing I was interested in – until I spotted this. As is common at these places, the price was relatively high, more than I really wanted to pay. As I was looking over the machine, someone approached me to see if I needed help. I asked them if the price was negotiable, and surprisingly, it was! So I got myself a nice little Father’s Day gift. My wife hardly rolled her eyes at all!
These typewriters are well known to be workhorses, with their heavy-duty cases which the typers actually are mounted and locked into. The bodies are heavy, and they feel really solid.
As you can see in the photos, I have not yet spent any time cleaning this one yet. It works really well as it is, and is fun to type on. Every time I pull it out to do something to it, I just end up typing on it instead! The biggest flaw is the tape that is stuck across the back of the machine. I have no idea why it was put there in the first place, and I’d like to get it off without causing further damage.
This is not a rare machine, partly due to Smith-Corona’s dominance as a manufacturer in this field at that time, and probably also partly due to the durable cases and general build quality. There’s lots of info available on these, too, as a result. Smith-Corona actually has a nice online museum of sorts relating to the products they’ve produced in the past. Machines of Loving Grace has a wonderful summary of the Sterling typewriter line, as well. Typewriter Minutes has a great video review of a 1969 Super Sterling, and showed me how easy it is to remove the platen on these machines.
The platen on this machine is very, very hard, which I’m sure doesn’t help the loudness of the thing. Aside from that, this is really nice typewriter. I think I need to try some of the other Galaxie models out there. Maybe there’s a reasonably quiet one?
Insel-Brauerei’s Insel Kreide
Just as the Super Sterling stands out on the shelf with its distinctive styling, the Insel Kreide bottle really stands out on the shelf, too. Wrapped entirely in paper, it is easy to spot – and clearly a good sales tactic, because I would probably have overlooked it otherwise!
Insel-Brauerie is a brewer based in Germany. In the last several years they have really gotten noticed after winning several international competition awards. This particular beer won the Specialty category in 2016 at the World Beer Awards. As a result, they have received quite a wide distribution, and are available here in Canada.
I found Insel Kreide to be a highly carbonated beer. It pours a cloudy blonde colour. Its fizzyness, and its citrus notes and floral aroma help to make it a refreshing beverage to quaff. The bitterness of the hops is mostly in the finish, and it finishes fairly dry. There’s an earthy quality to it which makes the flavours seem more complex. To be honest, this isn’t a style of beer I would normally gravitate to, but I enjoyed it very much.
I tried to peel the paper back from the bottle to see what was underneath, but it is very substantially glued. Oh well. This is will be a good. refreshing drink while taking old typewriters outside this Spring and blowing the dirt out of them!