Friday, December 26, 2014

The parts machines

Although I only have three (as of December 26, 2014 far, these irreparable typewriters can be really useful to anyone who needs a part out there. Just leave a comment if you are interested in anything, and we can work something out. Parts are free, shipping isn't. This list will be continually updated as I get new machines and lose parts, so remember to check in!

40's Underwood Standard

This big brute was actually in decent shape when I got it. Unfortunately I thought I could repair it at a time when I hardly knew how to wield a screwdriver (aka summer 2014). While attempting to remove the carriage (can you see where this is heading?) I messed a whole lot of things up. I have since put everything back in place but I think I busted some important mechanism on the inside in the process. Did I mention I lost all the screws I took out?

Parts taken: 
-1 of 2 shift lock keys
-Several screws
-Entire carriage
-Shift key

40's Underwood Universal

Bought at an antique shop because I needed parts for my US Navy Universal. It's a real rust bucket, almost nothing works.

Parts taken:
-Shift lock key
-Front panel (under ribbon cover)
-All rubber feet
-Spring (for ribbon cover)
-Both platen knobs

40's Royal Quiet De Luxe

I bought this over because it was the uncommon brown color. I thought I could fix it, but of course it has so many issues it is not fixable. The most obvious issue, as you can see, it the bent frame. However, that is not even the biggest or hardest to fix problem this typer has.

Parts Taken:

20's Royal 10

I don't have a picture of this one yet, unfortunately. It is in good shape, actually, and it makes me sad to part it out. However it has the fatal problem of a snapped "o" typebar. I have already taken a few parts from it, and now it is available to anyone else who needs it!

It was rebuilt in the 30's, so it doesn't have the original keys, knobs, or glass windows. The windows were replaced with plastic inserts.

Parts Taken:
-Feed rollers (but I still have the feed roller bar)

Apologies for the miserable photos, but I really didn't want to lug these outside for proper lighting.

(Last updated Mar 27 2015)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Better than nothing!

Although they were all drastically overpriced, I did see some interesting machines at the El Paso Antique Mall today. They were all in the same booth (explains the consistently over-the-top prices), and there were only four, but these are better results than I have ever had from El Paso. Take a look:

Corona 3
This poor Cor (hey look, I can rhyme!) was still in much better shape than my own 3, the only real issue being a disconnected draw band. Still, that doesn't justify $95.

Sitting right under the Corona, closed inside the case, was this Royal Aristocrat:
I have had plenty of these "Safari Style" machines. Good typers and good lookers, but this thing is a piece of junk. No wonder they hid it in the case. Price? $55, of course.

Another machine that was hidden away in a case was this Royal Deluxe:
Although it had quite a few marks on the paint, it would clean up well. Everything worked ok, and it was pretty clean aside from a mountain of eraser shavings under the carriage. $85 is still too much.

Now, this one is just a joke. The poor Smith-Corona Clipper shown here has half of its keys put on upside down.
It's a simple fix, but honestly... $55 is just way too much.

The last and only machine that had me tempted at all was this lovely Remington Portable:
Remingtons of this age are really fantastic machines, and this one has the much prettier early body style. It even predates the name "Quiet-Riter" that was soon put into use. (Here's my Quiet-Riter) It is in fantastic shape, and has a ton of extras not pictured. Still, I am not ready to drop $75 on it.

So, that was all I got for an hour of searching. Better than nothing, I guess!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Most wanted! Top 15

Everyone has got typewriters they just MUST have. Lacking anything else to do, I may as well make my list!

Here are my top 15 most wanted typewriters, #1 being the one wanted most.

#15- Smith-Corona Super Speed
There was a time when I would have wanted this much, much more but since that time I have acquired a LC Smith 8, which is mechanically very similar. These machines are known for their speed and type action.

#14- Olympia SM4
I actually already have one of these--however, the one I do have is in a unattractive grey color and has a large carriage that makes the shift very heavy and ruins the whole experience. I love the type action on it, though.

#13- Burgundy Royal Quiet DeLuxe
These fantastic machines are quite hard to find in this color. I have an Arrow of the same vintage and I love it. Royals of this era are often rightly considered the best of Royal's lineup.

#12- Royal HH
I used to own one of these, back in June. It was damaged in shipment and had a large dent in the back plate. I sold it quickly but soon started to miss it. These are real workhorses and will stand up to countless hours of typing without problems. Like all Royal standards, the type action itself is great.

#11- Royal Empress

This Royal has a fantastic 60's design. They are also huge and intimidating looking, so I would love to have one sitting on my desk.

#10- Smith Corona Clipper (Streamline)

SCs are great typers, and this one has a very attractive logo exclusive to Clippers of this era. This generation of Smith-Coronas is among the most sought after for the brand, as can be seen from the prices these go for on eBay.

#9- IBM Electromatic

These early IBMs have a very industrial look that I just can't resist. I want one dearly!

#8- Remington Portable #1
Although I would take any early Rem with folding typebars, it is the original black #1 that I want the most.

#7- Torpedo 18
Nothing represents quality German typewriter manufacturing better than the classic Torpedo 18. However, since these machines are uncommon in the states they demand very high prices over eBay. 

#6- Underwood Standard Portable- 3 Bank
The early version of the popular Underwood Standard Portable had only 3 rows of keys. Oddly, they didn't sell as well as the also 3 banked Corona 3 that needed to fold up for transport. These little guys are uncommon and go for quite a lot on eBay.

#5- Groma Kolibri

Although I have long since given up hope of finding one at a reasonable price, the popular Kolibri remains on my want list. These tiny guys are among some of the smallest typewriters ever made- roughly the size and thickness of an old laptop.

#4- Hermes 3000

The H3K is among the most esteemed and respected typewriters out there. They are also very distinctive looking, though I wouldn't quite call them beautiful. I have been wanting one for... well, I can't even remember how long.

#3- Groma Modell N
Although not as well known as most of the typewriters listed here, the Groma Modell N is one of my holy grail machines. Why is it not my #1? Well, there aren't really many (if any at all) made in the standard American QWERTY keyboard layout, so I would have to adapt to the German QWERTZ, something I would rather not do.

#2- Remington Noiseless 10
I'm not sure why, but the Remington Noiseless office machines have a huge appeal to me. Whatever the reason, it must be a good one for the Noiseless 10 to be up here at #2.

And now, a drum roll for my #1 most wanted!

#1- Smith-Premier No. 10
Yes, I know this is an odd choice for my #1 most wanted typewriter. But what's not to love? Beautiful design with interesting angles, lovely gold lettering and pin striping, and it is the only full keyboard (no shift with separate keys for upper and lower case) front stroke machine ever made. They are also reasonably common, so owning one is most certainly not out of my reach!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Not so fascinating Facit

I hope that comes off...

Now (after reading more on Facit) I have found that this machine may be a minor victim of the so-called "Facit problem", when these swedish typers get all stiff and (in bad cases) the carriage stops moving because of some strong oil used by the factory... or something along those lines. Though I am not sure how, I will try my best to un-stiffen this typer.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Here's my '58 Royal Electric

Here's the non-working '57 w/ wide carriage

Any advice on how to even start working on the non-functioning RE is greatly appreciated!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Stairway to Heaven

The heavenly steps of the Royal 5

The Royal 5 is such an odd machine. Not quite a standard sized machine, it is still far from portable.

Here my 5 is, next to one of my Royal 10s.
The type action is equally weird... it feels as if the keys are tilting forward. It's really a fun machine, but this particular one isn't working so well.

 It's missing some important piece in the carriage that keeps the whole carriage from sliding off the rails. For the life of me I can't figure out what that is, but it is still safe to use as long as I don't wobble it forward and back at the extreme end of the margin.

This particular one is from 1912, making it my oldest machine by a good decade. 

I got it on eBay a week or so ago, the seller had made the mistake of making a single-day auction with a low starting bid. As is so often with eBay sellers, it was mentioned in the description that the seller would chop the keys to save on shipping. Looks like another rescue!

Strangely, the platen is has a blue-ish tone to it. I think this would have been from a resurfacing job on it a long while ago, but I have no idea. 

I would have loved to write this post on it but the carriage rails really gummed up, so it doesn't 
advance well... yet

Here's tomorrow's teaser

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Picking up speed

So far I have been posting only about once a week, and sometimes even then I don't post.

Well, I've made the decision to post every or every other day until 2015 starts. I really want my blog to pick up speed.

I guess I'll start tomorrow... but for now I leave you with a teaser image.

All will be revealed soon!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Well, that's interesting...

Wasn't planning on posting tonight, but I was unwinding some old ribbon onto new spools to give it the WD 40 treatment. This is what I found at the end of the line: