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!


  1. ooh, if you can get that ick off those keys, I think you'll be plenty pleased with the Quiet-Riter. I do think the '49-52 version ("The Breadbox") had a neater sound and touch, but I was well pleased with a '56 I had for awhile earlier this year. (:

  2. David, thank you for the shout out!

    I am sorry to hear that you ran into rust and disintegration problems with your 1940 Corona Sterling. If the part that broke is one of those little wire lever links, you could try to make one from a paper clip using small needle nose pliers. I did this for missing links in my Corona Four. Making the link was the easy part. Getting them on was difficult, made easier with some small, sharp "dental" tools with hooked ends that I picked up at a local Ace hardware store.

    If you broke a keylever, you may want to find someone with a Corona Sterling parts machine and parts to spare. I lurk at the Facebook Antique Typewriter Collectors Group (I'm not a member, but I enjoy reading posts).

    It seems like a very friendly and helpful group. Consider becoming a member of that group and seeing if anyone has a parts machine and spare lever. Good luck!