Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Olympia SF: Schreibmaschine "Fixable"

The description of this Olympia on the auction site was honest. It said that the keys would not depress and the carriage kept moving all the way to the left. What I didn't know is that it had taken a very hard knock to the rear and the sheet metal was quite bent. Here is what it looked like when I first took a look at it.


I was pleasantly surprised that the sheet metal comes off a SF very easily, exposing its well built aluminum frame.  As I said in my typecast, simply moving a spring on the lever that engaged the escapement ratchet did the trick for the carriage and keys.  I heated up the sheet metal a bit and was able to form it enough to make the typewriter function and look presentable.  

I really like the way this littlest Olympia types and I'm quite pleased that my under $50 gamble on a "broken" machine turned out so well.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Guest Typewriter: Imperial Good Companion

The young typewriter collector at my school brought one of his latest acquisitions to my office today.  It was a machine I had not seen in person before, an Imperial Good Companion. With a serial number starting with a B, this model is from 1932.  I didn't get to type with it, but it is quite a looker.

In fact, it looks a lot like my Remington model 1 (or 2) but clearly the lineage is different as this article on the Portable Typewriters blog points out.  

The one thing this typewriter needs is a carriage return lever.  Please let me know if anyone in the typosphere has one to spare and I will let this young man's family know.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Brother from the Same Mother

I can definitely see the appeal of these early Brother typewriters. They are full featured and type really well. Growing up in the 70's myself, this little typewriter and its cardboard/vinyl case reminded me of the toys and transistor radios that also came from Japan at that time.  Though this typer is far from a toy, I'm still holding out for a Valiant or Deluxe!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I See Dead Keys

I didn't really think I was in the movie Sixth Sense, but I did see some strange dead keys the other day.  Someone from town had been given this nice L.C. Smith Super Speed as a gift. It had come straight from the antique store with its crispy ribbon and coating of dust. I cleaned it up and installed a new ribbon after replacing the incorrect ribbon spools with two from a donor machine. Things were going along well except the period and comma keys were sort of dead. They would come about 3/4 of the way toward the platen and then stop. I was thinking the mechanism for these keys was jammed or their strikers were bent.  Looking at the underside of the machine again I saw that two brass stops were attached to the comb (or guide) underneath. This dampened the period and comma keys.  They key action returned to normal once I removed these stops. What I wonder is why anyone would put stops on the period or comma keys in the first place.  Come to think of it, why put stops on any of the keys?  

I put a call out to the typosphere for any enlightenment on what I found on this Super Speed.  Thanks!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Typewriter Required for Graduate Course!

I hope that the typosphere can spread the word on this course.  If you can visit Vermont in the spring it would be great.  I am flexible though and ANYONE who can gain access to a vintage typewriter can take the online portion of the course.  I can work something out for those of you who cannot make it to Vermont.  You will notice by reading the syllabus that one of the required texts for the course is Richard Polt's The Typewriter Revolution.  This course will be a blast!

Register and get more information at the Castleton Center for Schools.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Story Teller

I was contacted by a gentleman who had sought me out last fall to find a typewriter for his father.  His father is ninety-five years old and wanted to have a typewriter for his writing.  His family had first gotten him a Royal Epoch which worked for a while but soon failed him with its flimsy construction.  The Epoch is clearly a machine not built to withstand the typing of a nonagenarian. His son found my blog while searching for a genuine typewriter and I hooked him up with a 1950's Smith-Corona Sterling, which his father loved.  The only problem was the Sterling's elite type.  Not the best for ninety-five year old eyes.  He contacted me again to ask if I had a machine with pica type.  Fortunately, I had just gotten a hold of this 1961 Olivetti Studio 44.  After a bit of cleaning, it was on its way to the man's father who will use the machine to type stories from his lifetime.  This has been such a lovely turn of events.  As you can see from the service decal on the Olivetti, this typewriter has its own stories to tell as it traveled from the factory in Spain, to Berkeley, California in the 1960's (There have to be some stories there!) to an elderly man in New England writing his life stories.  Who knows, perhaps he went to college in California!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Typewriter Elves Visit

2017 has gotten off to a banner start as the typewriter elves left three machines on my porch this evening!  The owner of a local vintage shop left me a Royal 10 to take a crack at repairing a while ago.  She also promised to gift me an assortment of additional machines which were in disrepair.  You can imagine my surprise and delight to see a Royal 5 among the three machines that she left on my porch this evening!

The Remington is a total rust bucket and the Smith-Corona, while boring, will probably just need some cleaning.  But the Royal....oh the Royal will need some work but, as they say, it has great bones!  It will be a while until I can dedicate some time for restoration but what exciting prospects!  Thanks Gwen and Ben!