Historical information

This Remington No.12 typewriter is of the typebar, front-strike class. It was made by the Remington Typewriter Company of Ilion, New York, U.S.A. in about 1925. The Model No. 12 was introduced in 1922 and was one of the first 'visible writer' machines, in which the typed characters were visible to the operator. Previous models were of the upstrike class in which the characters were typed on the underside of the platen. To see what had been typed the operator had to raise the platen, meaning the typist was typing blind much of the time.

This machine was used by Margaret Ganly née Burn in the 1930s. It was purchased for her by one of the sons of William Pride, a famous saddle maker in Geelong, William was Margaret’s grandfather. The typewriter was donated with original sales receipt and servicing tools.

Margaret worked at Dennys for 7 years during the 1930s. The typewriter is accompanied with a story written by Margaret about her time working at the company. Margret married Jack Ganly, a fellow employee of Dennys. The Ganly name was well known within Dennys, with three generations of the Ganly family working at the company.

WORKING CONDITIONS & OFFICE WORK DUTIES. Written by Margaret Burn in 2021. Worked at Dennys Lascelles in the 1930s.

In the 1930s coming out of the Depression, jobs were hard to come by and had to be clung to by efficiency and subserviency. There was no union to protect workers – bosses could be tough and rough.

Dennys Lascelles revolved around fortnightly wool sales in the “season” – September to May. Sale day was always a day of suppressed excitement. Preparation from a clerical point of view was complete and we now awaited the aftermath of the actual wool auction. The building teemed with people. There were country people down to see their wool sold, buyers of many nationalities, or from the big cities, who were coming in and out of the building all day. Their role was to inspect the acres of wool bales displayed on the show floors; however, caterers were present to feed clients, and there was plenty of social interactions on top of business.

The office staff did not go home but waited until the first figures came back from the wool sales and the machines went in to action, both human and mechanical, preparing the invoices for the buyers’ firms. This comprised of lists of lot numbers, weights, prices per lb., and the total prices paid. A lot of this was done by old-school typewriters, making this work a big, heavy, tiring job. Before the finished lists could be dispatched, they were collated on an “abstract”. The lists had to balance with the catalogue from which the invoices had been prepared. This never happened automatically. All the paperwork had to be split up amongst pairs of workers and checked until discrepancies were found. This would happen until midnight but occasionally went until 2 or 3 am. Once complete, the invoices could then be rushed off to the buyers’ firms usually in Melbourne, and hire cars took the staff home.

It was back on the job the next morning, usually around 8.30. The office hours varied according to the size of the sale and work involved. Some days started as early as 8 and could finish around 5.30. The second phase of work began with the account sales to be prepared for the sellers of the wool. These detailed all the weights, descriptions of wool, brands, and prices. One Sales account could have multitudes of lot numbers, all needing to be individually described. Various charges needed to be deducted such as finance for woolpacks, extra stock, or farmers who were given a loan to live on during the season. Details of how payment was to be made was also noted, whether the seller was to be paid by cheque, to a bank, or credited to their account with the company (which often left the seller still in debt).

For a couple of months in the winter, things were quieter when staff took holidays and were sometimes given afternoons off. But there were still weekly skin sales and stock sales around the state. The annual end of June figures to be prepared for a big company like Dennys with branches all around the state also kept the staff busy. In good years there was sometimes a bonus.

On sale days there was a bar open for the clients and wool buyers. This added to the excitement for the young girls, who were strictly barred from using it, but somehow managed to sneak a gin and tonic. This is how I had my first ever, before the evening meal.
There was also the romantic notion in some minds, with all the influx of males, that some of us might end up on a wealthy station, or be noticed by an exotic buyer. To my knowledge, this never happened at Dennys Lascelles Limited.

Group staff photo at Dennys Lascelles Limited.
Margaret Burn. Age 18 or 19.
Jack Ganly (Margaret’s future husband). 22.

Physical description

The typewriter has a black painted metal frame. The top section of the typewriter consists of a cylindrical platen on a carriage featuring plated metal fittings. A curved folding paper guide sits behind the platen and moves on the horizontal axis when the user types on the keyboard. A horizontal semicircular type basket with typebar links the top section to the lower keyboard. The ink ribbon is carried between two spools on a horizontal axis, one on each side of the type-basket. At the rear, a paper tray features gold lettering which reads ‘Remington’. At the front, a four-row QWERTY keyboard is found with 42-character keys total. 'SHIFT LOCK' and 'SHIFT KEY' are to the left of the keyboard, 'BACK SPACER' and 'SHIFT KEY' to the right. All keys are circular, white with black lettering. At the top of the keyboard are five circular red keys with the numbers 1-5 displayed behind their respective keys. A Spacebar is found along the front of the keyboard.

The typewriter is accompanied by a cardboard box. This box contains the original sales receipt, on blue paper with grey lead handwriting. It also contains spare parts, a spare ribbon stretched between two spools, and cleaning tools such as brushes of differing sizes.

Inscriptions & markings

Serial Number. Engraved.

Gold lettering. Paper tray.

Gold Lettering. Behind keyboard.
“Made in Ilion, New York, U.S.A.

Gold Lettering. Mirrored both sides of type-basket.