Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Year of Typewriters and Friends

I'll post more pictures including the $2 case, but this Lettera 22 is beautiful and types like a dream.

I was a little worried about my "new" Lettera when I tried it out and found that it would not shift and striking the keys did not make the carriage move. Ted Monk's blog pointed me in the right direction. I took off the bottom cover and applied some PB Blaster to the escapement.  After letting it sit overnight, I poked and prodded and this semi-circular piece under the segment snapped back into action. Now everything is fine and my Lettera 22 is ready for its second act.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Spreading Typewriter Joy

I am so glad that I decided to sell a few of my typewriters this Holiday Season.  They were nice machines to have for a while, but I felt it was time to let someone else enjoy them.  A man from a neighboring state asked if my Corona was still available as his little girl had given him a last minute request for a typewriter.  A few emails later and my machine was sent packing in a sea of bubble wrap.  Another gentleman called me from a nearby town asking to see my Royal.  His niece had lately become enthralled with typewriters.  Seeing these two machines go off to make two young typewriter enthusiasts happy feels great.  I'm certainly not running a typewriter shop out of the trunk of my car, but I can understand how Tom Furrier of Cambridge Typewriters must feel seeing machines leave his shop in the hands of new owners.  
~Happy Holidays to everyone who gives or receives a typewriter this season!~

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Royal Surprise

Like many, I have set a Craigslist alert to tell me about machines that come up for sale in the area.  I have gotten some really good leads that way but lately I have only gotten alerts about overpriced standards or electric machines.  Then this alert came in for a "suitcase typewriter in working order."  One glance and I knew they were selling a Royal P for a reasonable price.  I contacted the seller and found that they were seven minutes away from my office.  What are the odds of that!  I negotiated a nice deal from a young man who had bought a property and found the typewriter while cleaning out his barn.  With serial number P260534, my Royal P is from 1931. It has a few issues.  The feet are gone, but I can solve that.  The paint is a nice two-tone brown, but it has pitting on the paper tray and a bit of rust and a lot of flaking on the back.  I would welcome suggestions on the best way to address these issues as I do not plan on re-painting the machine. I was thinking of some very gentle cleaning in these areas and a bit of clear coat paint to seal things up.  I think the rest of the machine will clean up nicely and look great with a coat of wax.  Any thoughts from the typosphere?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Keep Your Keys on for Christmas

Michael McGettigan just posted a very timely message for anyone thinking of gifting a typewriter key necklace or cufflink. I thought I'd pass it along:
No Key Choppers for Xmas

Friday, November 20, 2015

Papa Bär und Bärenmutter

A lucky Craigslist alert brought me this mint condition late 50's, early 60's SG1 (machine on the left).  Now I have Papa Bear and Mother Bear.  All I need is a Splendid to have an Olympia family!  In other news, I am going tonight to pick up a local machine I found on eBay this week.  Guess what it will be:

  • Portable
  • Diagonal stripes
  • It is not black

Sunday, November 15, 2015

From Very Small to Gigantic!

My typewriter weekend went from very small to gigantic. It started when I visited my local vintage/junk shop in search of a new typewriter.  They have lots of cool stuff in this shop but, alas, I have never found a typewriter there. What I did find while hunting their shelves was this neat little Type-Silk typewriter ribbon tin.  It actually has a new, yet dried out, Underwood ribbon in it.  Nice find for only $2.  I visited another vintage shop later in the day and came across two typewriters that I decided to pass on.   
One was this 1930's L.C. Smith 
Secretarial model in olive.  

Another was this 1960's Underwood-Olivetti 21

I actually did get one typewriter this weekend from a nice gentleman named Chuck.  He had heard about me through an article about my type-in and offered me his late father's 1958 IBM 11c.  This gigantic typewriter is in pristine shape and types like a rocket.  Every time I look at it I start to hear the theme from "Mad Men" in my head. (Yes, I know they had Selectrics in the series, but I still hear that music!)  Vintage television aside, I can't say enough about letting people know you are interested in typewriters.  They are in basements and attics just waiting for you.  There are people like Chuck who just want them to go to a good home!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Picking Your Battles

I've been absent from my blog for a bit what with an elementary school to run and courses to teach, but I have not forgotten my typewriters.  I have been repairing a few of the machines I have in the wings.  Inspired by Mary at Myoldtypewriter and her post about the Shape of Stories and Typewriter Repair, I dug into my 1940 Corona Sterling.  The Sterling is a beautiful machine, much like Mary's "Posh Spice" Corona.  I think my Corona was hardly ever used based on its pristine platen and clean type slugs.  But this machine brought a big challenge- rusty linkages.  As you can see from the picture, the linkages for the 7, J, and N keys were rusted solid.  Even the typebar return springs for these keys had rusted into dust.  I had been working on my Corona off and on with some success.  I used PB Blaster and, of all things, nail files, to get into the linkages.  I had success with the J key and got it entirely free.  I thought was getting the same success with the N key until I realized it was moving again because the severely rusted linkage had broken.  Now my heart is broken!  I am not giving up on this classy Sterling, but I had to put it aside.  I just do not have the time to solve this linkage problem right now (repair suggestions are welcome!).  So it is on to another machine, a 1950's Remington Quiet Riter.  This machine can give me a more reasonable challenge.  It is missing its ribbon spools, so I ordered a specific Remington replacement set.  It's linkages are in tact, just really dirty - no problem.  And, this is the second Remington I have had with ghostly white keys.  I wonder what causes this mildew on these green plastic keys. Some typospherians speak disparagingly of these later Remingtons calling them ugly.  Others have likened their smooth typing action to the famed Hermes 3000 - hey, they are both curvey machines.  This is my first 1950's Remington portable but if it types like the desktop Remington Standards I have had, I will be very pleased.  I'm going to take the "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" approach to my new machine.  I think Richard's new book adds something to the old machine's look!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

It's the Great Typewriter Charlie Brown

Have you carved your jack-o-lantern yet this year?  If not, you might want to copy my young student and collector who carved a typewriter into a pumpkin this year.  This boy has typewriter fever and he has it bad!  You can see him with his Royal P at this post.  He also just told me that he purchased a Remington 5 that I can't wait to see.  

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Creativity or Heracy: The Rat-Riter

Your basic Sterling

Sand paper adds a distressed look and a paper towel soaked in bleach adds rust in under an hour. 

Random paint smears add to the rat look.

Yes, black and blue flames help.

Masked up for a semi-gloss clear coat

The Rat-Riter seems to draw the young crowd.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lots of Fun at the Second Type-In

Four skilled typists tried entered the speed typing contest and won lovely gifts from 
the Paper Peddler shop in Williston, Vermont

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Interview with author Richard Polt

This is my second and successful attempt to stream and archive an interview with author and typewriter enthusiast and overall excellent contributor to the typoshpere - Richard Polt.  My apologies to those of you who tried to watch the live event.  I typed and typed and typed on my Olympia but Richard couldn't hear me.....actually, I had too many tabs open on my laptop.  Darned technology!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Typewriter Travels and Visits

All in all, it has been a busy typewriter week.  I had the opportunity to travel to Tom Furrier's typewriter shop, Cambridge Typewriter, near Boston to attend his Type-Out yesterday.  It was great to visit his shop and hang out with the typewriter crowd.  I'll let Tom post his pictures and describe the event on his own blog first, but I will tease you with a picture featuring my Singer (Royal Safari) and my Corona Four.  Thanks Tom for hosting such a fun event.  

It's been a busy typewriter week at school too.  A few of my students are continuing to take apart the broken Super Sterling that I had set out for them.  One of my students is becoming a real typewriter collector himself and brought his 1930 Royal P to show me.  That's one proud typewriter collector.  He also brought by his 1970's Olympia SM8 which I grouped with my 1960's SM8 and my SM3 for this nice Olympia x 3 photo.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Typewriter Deconstructed

I blogged about the mint condition Smith-Corona Super Sterling that Jericho, VT resident Jon Ojala gave me a few posts ago.  (Actually, it is in Sea Foam Green condition - still quite nice.)  Jon had given me this lovely typewriter when I described my plan of having students disassemble a blue Super Sterling in disrepair that I had acquired.  Today I set the blue Sterling out on a desk with two screwdrivers and let some of my "typewriter hounds" know that they could take it apart.  Boy did they ever get excited about this idea.  They wolfed down their lunch so they could go to my office to get started.  Later in the day they begged their teacher to let them come down and work some more.  All in all, it took these three 8 to 9-year olds about 25 minutes to get the case off of the Sterling.  Surprisingly, it actually types better without the case.  Something must have been binding it up.  It also lost a ball bearing out of the carriage in the process.  I promise to post more photos as it gets further deconstructed!
Wait!  Don't take this one apart!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Labor Day Corona

Labor Day, a day to celebrate the worker and the end of summer- and yard sales!  I live near the college town of Northfield, VT which puts on a great Labor Day celebration.  I figured a college town would have to have typewriters at it's sales, and I was right!  After checking four or five tag and yard sales, I followed a sign for a barn sale and came across a woman who was clearing out some things from her parent's old barn.  One of those things was this mint condition Corona Four Bank from the 1920's.  I figure around 1924-27 with the serial # V1A08498.  I couldn't believe the price....$15   Yup, I didn't leave any zeros off, fifteen dollars.  What a way to celebrate labor day!

Not a typewriter, but check out this little rail car that the
fire department uses on the tracks that pass the station!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Blue turns to Lovely Green

It was fun to dream about the mystery typewriter that I found on Craigslist.  The only thing I knew for sure was that it was blue.  I liked "Words are Winged" suggestion that it might be a blue Royal Model P from the 30's.  I was pretty sure it was not John Lennon's typewriter!  I would have been psyched if it was a blue Quiet DeLuxe from the 50's.  I even thought about a Lettera 22, those come in that fantastic Olivetti blue.  But Ted was right, it turned out to be a blue Brother Charger. The ad did say vintage and not antique after all.  But what constitutes antique?  A 1966 Mustang is considered an antique but a 1966 Royal is vintage.  Where do you draw the line?

But read on, my blue disappointment turned to 
excitement when I found this mint condition green Super Sterling!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Blue Typewriter?

I responded to an Craigslist posting from this past weekend about antique items for sale to ask if they had sold the typewriter that was mentioned.  They wrote me right back and said that they did have the typewriter.  It was a portable in a case and it is blue.  They promised to send me a picture and tell me what brand it is.  My question to the typosphere is: What kind of blue typewriter might this be?  Even I do not know the answer yet but I promise to report back.  Looking forward to your comments!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Just walk away....

This weekend's typewriter safari proved to be pretty frustrating, ending in a near miss that had my head shaking.  I started my weekend going to a huge church tag sale at a place called the Clutter Barn.  I had looked longingly at that barn when it was closed, just imagining the typewriters that must be lurking.  As it turned out, there were no machines to be had.  No worries, I was not finished.  I drove by an estate sale and stopped on a whim.  "Yeah, we have two downstairs, one manual and one electric" they called when I asked if they had any typewriters.  But when I looked, only one guessed it, the manual one was gone.  Still, my hopes were high as a local yard sale the next day advertised all items $1-$3 including a "nice typewriter."  The ad also warned that there should be no early birds, so I stopped by about ten minutes before the sale was to begin.  "Oh, I'm sorry, this girl really wanted it so I sold it to her about ten minutes ago even though it was early."  Then I did something I regretted, I asked what kind it was...."Olympic, or Olympia, some German kind" I never should have asked, I should have just walked away.
I also went to the GoodWill shop and found this really cool 1920's Thomas Edison Ediphone.  New collection perhaps?  It's still at that store for $80 if anyone is interested!