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!