Calling Help from Other Typists/Typewriter Collectors!

Guys. Gals. I do have a typecast coming, but this has been bothering me to no end…

I need help.

I’m looking for a typewriter.

But this typewriter has… requirements.

First it must have a fairly durable case. Secondly, the typewriter’s base cannot be part of the case! Thirdly, the form needs to be of the ultra portable school — think Smith-Corona Skyriter, Hermes Rocket & Baby, Olympia Traveller, etc. Fourth — and this is the biggest, most important one — it must have a tabulator. I love Skyriters to death, but the lack of a tabulator destroys their enjoyment for me. Though I can’t be picky, I’d prefer the tabulator that allows a tab at each space instead of setting it at the back with a limit of 5-6.

QWERTY preferred, DVORAK acceptable. English alphabet preferred, Spanish acceptable — a little awkward, but acceptable. Colors… nothing on the dark side, preferred. Size 10 font preferred, size 12 acceptable. Font face, totally neutral — the more fun the better, the more uncommon the better… though script and italic I’m hesitant about.

What I have effectively described to you is my literal ideal typewriter, folks. I kid you not. This typewriter would be the end-all-be-all in terms of usage. My poor SM3 would be regulated to nostalgia lane, probably.

My guess is such a heavenly thing doesn’t exist. I’m prepared for that answer. And honestly expect it.

If y’all have any suggestions, leave a comment.

There is a typecast being posted at 20:00 UTC-6. Hope y’all enjoy. Until later, be safe and enjoy y’all’s days,

Bae

Remington-Rand History v2 (NEW and IMPROVED!)

This is where you hear a “sha-wing, sparkle sparkle”. If you don’t, then get your ears checked, please. 😉

This version is decidedly better than the first as it actually shows a lot more. I used a family tree program so you’ll have to pardon the whole “birth” and “death” thing. But here it is! It’s a bit more readable/understandable than the linear mind-mapping.

Remington-Rand History (fixed)

A few notes:

  • The program decided to ignore the fact that Burroughs does have ancestors, two of them in fact: American Arithometer Co. and Burroughs Adding Machine Co. The former was established in 1886 and later renamed — after Burroughs’ death — to the latter in 1904.
  • I used Sperry Rand on purpose. They later reverted back to the use of the simple Sperry Corp., but this was only after jettisoning Remington-Rand Systems and Remington-Rand Machines in 1978. After this Sperry focused entirely on computer development. Prior to this, Sperry Rand did manufacture typewriters.

Hope you guys enjoy! Thanks for reading/viewing, have a great day and be safe out there. Oh and for sure, feedback is welcome. If you want more history, I’ll be more than glad to oblige!

(And now if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to sleep now… phew… damn history and it’s addictive nature. Where are those eye drops… I’ll be seeing dates in my dreams…)

A More Formal Introduction (SMC Skyriter Restoration Part 1)

Okay, so here’s a more thorough introduction to the 1958 Smith-Corona Skyriter that is going to end up being, I feel, part restoration and part customization. This typewriter is simply a joy to type on — despite its simplicities/limitations (lack of +, =, and tabs; no ribbon selector; special spool size; and slightly awkward paper support).

I’ll start with what it looks like on the outside: the case. I simply love this case and I want to do some work on it. I do have a to-do list, so I’ll post that down below after the galleries.

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As you can tell, some work does need to be done. I’m hoping some basic cleaning will take care most of the filth.

The typewriter itself doesn’t have as many pictures… oddly. I don’t know why I’m so fascinated with the case. Maybe it’s because all of the ones I own currently — with this obvious exception — have hard, heavy cases. But the typewriter fits to this case with charm. They both just need cleaning!

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If you’ve looked at the photos, you’ll probably agree this is going to be mostly cleaning. I have an inkling that this was oil dipped. Unfortunately, this was a common practice back in the day as it left the machine in perfect working order. But over time it gummed things up, makes keys stick and dirt just clings to everything! I am literally going to have to strip this down as far as I can without destroying it to get all this gunk out. Since it still types, I’m hoping I can skip a few things, but… It is simply gross how dirty it is.

Okay, so, there it is. In all it’s “CLEAN ME!” glory. I love this little sucker. At the motel, I was typing with it everywhere and it is unbelievably quiet. I can’t imagine what it will type like once things are cleaned and Bristol shape. (…sorry, was watching Mary Poppins.)

However… this is where my to-do list comes in and… some ethics. To be frank, I want to do some customizations on it. Paint mostly — as the rest could be considered restoration actions like spring replacements, etc. The ethics comes in in that this is branded in two ways and both are perfectly sound with little to no damage or wear. If I paint it, only one will survive: the name plate. There is a technique I’ve used before in both water colors and penmanship where masking is applied over areas that do not need to be inked/colored. This may work for this… but it certainly doesn’t have any guarantee. But anyway… The to-do list.

To Do:

  • Fix lid (reattach)
  • Tighten paper rest
  • Rebend lid locks
  • Clean case
  • Clean segment
  • Disassemble & deep clean
  • Clean platen (good as-is, for thoroughness)
  • Fix bell! (Carriage gets in the way!)
  • Fix touch adjustment — spring
  • Investigate ribbon direction mechanism
  • Unbend left shift slightly

Okay, that’s the basic list. Notice the painting isn’t included nor another customization: fixing the case up a bit to make a nicer. I’m all for keeping things in their original shape because it’s kind of like holding a piece of history, but… I’m also for making things your own if you can and/or have the ability. So, I’m a bit torn.

Well, I’ll figure it out. It’s a process. And this typewriter is certainly going to be one! Next up will be the Disassembly Guide.

Y’all have a great day and be safe out there! And, as always, thanks for reading.

In the Beginning, There Was…

a typewritten blog. Except these types of posts… that require lots of pictures. I figured that typing it out this way would be best to ensure 100% readability.

What “these types of posts” are, are those regarding restoration! Remington-Rand Noiseless Model 7 #H143886, world. World, Remington-Rand… you get the point.

Outside

I was going to do this entire post as typewritten, in fact you can see it in the typewriter there! But… there’s lots of pictures here so… (Oh, I have to comment on this. If you have never tried writing outside, do so. It is absolutely amazing. It is, I feel, how writing should be: organic, fun, inspired, and relaxing. Sadly, that backyard isn’t mine but at least it’s only a short drive away!)

But enough rambling! Here we go…

In the gallery below, I have all the pictures that I took of this guy when it arrived. I had done absolutely nothing at all to it. It was dusty. It was musty. And it came with more things than advertised! It arrived with, beyond the case and itself, the manual, two cleaning brushes, an eraser pencil, the key for the case (works!), correction slips, and the directions for said slips. With all that aside…

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I refused to do any testing before getting at least some things cleaned! (All keys did move, the carriage slid, bell dinged, and the tabs worked. Okay, so I lied… I did do some testing.) The first thing I did beyond taking the ancient and brittle ribbon out was to take off the lid (held down by 4 screws: two on the front and two by the typebars near the spools) and the outer frame (held down by 4 screws: two on each side on the back). It looked so naked without them, so I feel a bit guilty showing it in this state…

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The thing about taking the outer frame off is that two of the feet must be taken off — the front two — and then put back on after the frame is off so that the typewriter can safely sit. Thumbs up to the designers for putting a little bump on the metal bit holding the foot so that the foot is always aligned properly!

Once those metal things were off, they could easily be cleaned. What really bugged me was that I couldn’t find an easy way to take off the paper support, the rear, or the sides without doing some serious deconstruction of the thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking things apart… but when you see the side and it has at least 2 dozen screws on it, it makes you take a moment of pause in awe. With that said, the said metal parts had to be carefully washed while still on the machine. For information sake: I used Dawn Antibacterial soap in very slightly warm water. Worked like a charm. Gentle persistent rubbing with a clean rag did the trick then washed it down with clean water (new rag) and dried it (another rag). An excellent showcase is below:

Lid Before & After

After that, I cleaned off the typeface… Same Dial (just a tiny bit) mixed with 91% alcohol. I’ve used it on other typewriters without a hitch and it cleans very well.

Typeface Before & After

Then I dusted everything! Compressed air came in handy as well as those brushes it came with and some rags.

Okay, so, I have to admit that I got a bit over zealous at one point in trying to get everything off. I couldn’t get the platen off for the life of me — even though the rod was out, etc. In the process of taking off the left side, a spring went flying… and was lost. This guy no longer has a left side carriage release, for me that doesn’t matter — I use the right exclusively. However, I noticed that a little bit of metal acted as the lock for the spacing selector. That little bit was under pressure from the spring that used to also keep pressure on the lever! Yeah, multi-tasking! So, I had to rig it to work. Solution? One paper clip and wire snips, for the win.

Paper Clip Fix

A tribute to MacGyver…

After that was fixed, I went on my merry way and cleaned the keys. This… this was nothing short of arduous in that it just took time. I used Crest (!) 3D White tooth paste, Q-tips, and water. I used a fresh Q-tip each time and took up a little of the tooth paste then went around in little circles. It worked so amazingly well that I’ve told my partner to buy me a tube when it goes on sale next time! After you go around for a bit on the key, you will notice the paste getting gunky, switch to the clean end and rub it into the key until it seems to disappear. Get another tip, dip it in the water, run it across a rag to draw out excess water, then run a few circles on the key. Get another tip and then dry it off. Unbelievable how well this worked. Something brown turned to a very nice black and white again!

Key Before & After

That all done, I slapped everything back together. I thought the before and after would be obvious, but just these simple things breathed new life into this 1947 typewriter.

Before & After

Oh… one thing I would like to share… how much gunk had been built up over time on the keys was startling, to say the least. The picture below is the rag used to clean the space bar…

Spacebar Dirt

And that’s that! There’s more planned for this guy in the future. I do plan on doing a full take-down once I figure out a few things and I’ll post up that how-to as well. It works very well as is but it does need fine tuning.

I hope y’all enjoyed this! I’ll be doing more repair and restoration things in the future. Leave a comment below if you want! Have a great day!