11 January 2021
By Tim Koch
Tim Koch wonders if Göran Buckhorn has the Smith-Corona Virus.
I am seeking the Impeachment of the HTBS Editor-in-Chief, Göran R Buckhorn, for failing to find any strong rowing connections in his recent article on typewriters. As the above shot taken from the online catalogue of items held by the River and Rowing Museum shows, there is at least one not-too-tenuous link between the two.
Amy Gentry OBE (1903 – 1976) was active in women’s rowing for more than 50 years, first as a competitor and then as an administrator. She would have spent more time with her typewriter than she did with her oars as she earned her living as a secretary and also ran the Women’s Amateur Rowing Association and the Weybridge Ladies Rowing Club. In her lifelong efforts to improve and promote women’s rowing, she must have typed many hundreds of letters and missives to further the cause.
Famously, Amy Gentry worked as a secretary for Vickers Aviation and she became personal secretary to Barnes Wallis, the chief designer, between 1941 and 1943 whilst he developed the ‘Bouncing Bombs’ used on the ‘Dambusters’ raid and witnessed the first trials on Burwood Park Lake. Whether any of Wallis’s wartime secrets were typed on Gentry’s ancient Underwood, we can only speculate.
In his article, Göran did mention journalist Robert Messenger who runs a website about typewriters called oz.Typewriter, and linked to Messenger’s piece on Hemingway and his Halda. However, oz.Typewriter also has a piece called “The Olivetti on the Nile”, about the time that Messenger (with his Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriter) covered Egypt’s Nile International Rowing Festival. It was an article that I drew heavily on for my piece on the event posted in February 2018 and which The New York Times recently linked to, something that I was very flattered by.
Finally, Keira Rathbone is a West London based ‘typewriter artist’ who uses a mechanical typewriter as a drawing tool. If you would like to buy her limited edition print of a rower, go to her website.
Editor Göran R Buckhorn’s riposte: Contrary to the cowards, I will not be Pleading the Fifth, instead I confess my guilt. Although, I would like to point out that nowhere in my article on 8 January do I claim that it is a rowing article or a piece about the sport and old typewriters. And while we are correcting ourselves, the first one to mention Robert Messenger on HTBS was Greg Denieffe on 10 February 2016.
But, as I mentioned earlier, I am guilty as charged. Please inform me whom I shall send the HTBS editor’s keys to on the morning of 20 January. Thank you and yours sincerely….