Showing posts with label Olympia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olympia. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Close Encounters at the Mesa Typewriter Exchange

I was on the phone with the unsinkable Bill Wahl from the Mesa Typewriter Exchange and he told me a story about a celebrity sighting in the store. 

Screenshot from Mr. Brown's Instagram

I guess Mr. Brown stopped by last thursday and brought a very nice Olympia that was in the shop. Pretty cool.

You might ask why I called. Well, the 7th Phoenix Type-In is in the works and a date is forthcoming. Regardless, it will probably be later this summer. Keep your ear to the typebars for more information. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Silence

While a typewriter isn't exactly silent, it does allow one to enter a space where one's internal silence can come forth.


I try to talk to my students about silence and it's not exactly easy. They have a real fear of silence as if the moment you strip away all the noise what you are left by yourself. I can see how that would be scary.

This typecast is brought to you by a very lovely Olympia typeface.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Olympia SM-9

UPDATE: Now, this is embarrassing. I didn't even know there was a cheaper sister to the SM-9; the SM-8. I was corrected in the comments by impressionofinfinity. I checked the TWDB and sure enough, there is the SM-8. I should have done my homework. I have corrected the post where possible, but kept the original mistake.


In case you don't know Tim is from Georgia (not Alabama as I indicated previously) and he has been on the quest for the perfect user's typewriter. He's not looking to build a collection. To borrow from the world of animal adoptions, he is looking for a forever typewriter. Due to his immense generosity and kindness, whatever does not meet his expectations has found it's way here to the CTP. Most recently it's this lovely Olympia SM-9 SM-8 from 1974 or '75:



As I sat down to do this typecast, I really got into the feel of this typewriter. I haven't been sold on Olympias before. Even my favorite SG-1 sometimes feels stiff and heavy. This one couldn't be any more different. The platen is still soft and it makes for the perfect typing experience. I have to say I love it. It's a little tinny, but very solid in key feel. My personal opinion on the styling is a little more harsh.


The SG-1 is a fine precision instrument. Even the more worn-in SM-9 (another donation not from Tim)  is still very high quality. It feels as if some areas of quality were compromised in the name of profitability. Some of the metal is a little thinner. The finish isn't as fine. The fit is very good, but not as precise.




My reservations are a collector's reservations. If you are a young typist and are looking for a forever machine, this little guy might be the ticket. I already have some kids looking at this one.

Friday, January 30, 2015

They Came in the Post

Last night as the rain started to fall I heard a knock at the door. I looked through the peep hole and I was surprised to see three packages. I had heard that these three packages would be coming my way from Alabama. Tim had mentioned it in his email.

I loaded the boxes into my car and drove them to school. What could be inside?


The excitement is palpable.


An Olivetti...


an Olympia...


and another Olympia.


It's raining right now, but in my classroom it's raining typewriters. More on these great typewriters very soon.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Fingers Fly

A new school year has started. Actually, it's already three weeks old. The honeymoon has worn off and the kids are deep in the study of Beowulf, Hrothgar, and the terrible events at Herot.

This last Tuesday I started the kids on the typewriters. Here are a few pictures.








In order to get the typewriters ready for classroom use I had to dust them all off and do something about the ribbons. I didn't have time to place an order from Baco so I used Ted's WD-40 ribbon rejuvenation method. I used several light coats and didn't bother with dabbing the ribbon. They weren't wet enough to warrant it. In the end the ribbons were noticeably darker and made it easier for the kids to type.

The best part, however, was giving the lecture on how to use them. I had a whole presentation and it was very odd telling a whole generation of phone freaks how to turn a knob to feed a sheet paper into a platen. Very odd.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Typewriter Day 2014


My Typewriter Day contribution is this Polaroid print with an assist from me. Typed on a Royal HH. The typewriter pictured is my Olympia SG-1.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Rogues Gallery

Here are some pictures of typewriters that have gained notoriety in my classroom. This comes, mostly, from their erratic behavior and unique dispositions.


Paper-Eater McGill
Known to really curl and rip your paper. Only attacks on even-number days.


Terence "One-Knob" Oaks
Even with the set-screws nice and snug, the knob falls off. Usually on a carriage return.


Kaiser Drag
Once a fortnight you must tighten the carriage return arm.


The $10 Man
$10 for a tub of Instamorph made loading paper much easier.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

With an SG-1


William S. Burroughs with an SG-1 by Robert Mapplethorpe

Friday, August 23, 2013

Elmore Leonard: 1925-2013


I have been the victim of a cold and haven't been reading the news. I remember an interview from Time magazine in 2010 that made me proud to be a fan of the analog. This is the answer to a question about his writing style:

"By hand. Every word is written by hand. Then I'll type it on my electric typewriter. It took me 20 years to buy an electric typewriter, because I was afraid it would be too sensitive. I like to bang the keys. I'm doing action stories, so that's the way I like to do it. I don't have [a computer]. I don't have e-mail or anything like that. I have a fax machine."

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Removing an Olympia Badge

No, the title of this post is not a metaphor. Although I am gifted in mystical arts of the metaphoric, what I am taking about is far more literal. I wanted to give you a few tips on removing this troublesome little piece of decorative metal.



Olympia badges on the 1950s varieties (SM-2, SM-3, SG-1, etc.) are high-quality aluminum castings that are adhered to the body of the typewriter by four sprue. Each of these four legs are placed in a corresponding hole and the ends deformed. The deformation holds the badge fast and makes for a very strong connection. Come to think of it I have never seen a badge-less Olympia. Quality German engineering.



Removing the badge is not for the faint of heart. You must drill out the deformed end of the sprue just enough to ease the badge from the mounting holes. To do this you need an electric drill and a steady hand.

I used an electric hand drill fitted with a bit only slightly larger than the sprue. Starting slowly, I drilled out the end taking care to only drill enough to get rid of the riveted end. In place of the rivet-like end you will se shiny, bare metal in a slight concavity. This concavity will play an important part in reassembly. 



After the drilling, I took a very thin bladed screw drive and carefully eased the badge out of the mounting holes. The aluminum badge can be bent easily, so make sure that you are prying up near a sprue.



There you go. Your Olympia cover is badge-less and ready for refinishing.

When you want to reinstall the badge, just fit it back together and put four small beads of JB Weld in the concavities made while drilling. After the JBWeld is cured, you can put the felt back and it should be as good as new. This process can also be done for the riveted badge from the back of the machine. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Oh That's Pink-lympia!


So, the painting is done and the color is striking. I like the color, but I might want to sand and do another coat on top of this one. There are a few sanding marks that made their way through the gloss and it's bothering me. Also, a small bubble has turned to a tiny chip that is causing me hours of lost sleep. 

This typewriter is destined for the classroom. The pink was a decision based on several requests from students. Obviously, original pink typewriters like models from Royal or Smith-Corona are too expensive for my budget, so I decided to turn this machine into a pink wonder. 

SM-9s are the perfect customizer's typewriter. The main body panel is one piece and you can remove it without tools. The only other piece of metal I removed was the back panel on the carriage and that came off with just a couple of screws. I left the rugged grey on the bottom because it looks good and goes with everything. In all, it looks pretty slick. The only odd thing is the ribbon color indicators. I was unable to pop them out again (I super-glued them in when I restored it last). The stencil indicator was the only one that came out, so I just painted over the others. I think it works because the tensioner indicator on the left is just a cutout too.

I have been getting better at painting typewriters, but I would really like to get one finished at a body shop. I have a feeling that the paint might be more durable and look a little nicer.

Regardless, I am proud of how it turned out and I know that there will be a line to use this one in the fall.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Typewriter Day 2013

I spent my typewriter day prepping and painting the shell of an SM-9 a color so outrageous that Krylon's description of "watermelon" does not do it justice.


Friday, May 17, 2013

It Doesn't Feel Like the End

...of the semester. It's the end of the semester. I didn't mean to alarm you. Magic Margin is going to be around for a while.

The typewriters have been silent for the past week. The last official journal was last Friday and since then the machines have been "cooling down."


Most of these typers are rugged little beasts. The constant use is starting to show in some of them and I have already started with the reconditioning of a few. This work will continue the work over the summer. By fall we should have a fully-working arsenal again.

The other great thing is that my annus horriblis is nearly over. Yearbook is done. Prom is done. The final edition of the newspaper is done. It's all done!


I have been going 80 MPH all semester and now it's almost 0 MPH. It feels good to breathe. Now, on to the next round of projects!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year


2012 proved to be a fantastic year for typewriters. I hope to do my small part in making 2013 another great typewriter year. I also wanted to take a moment and and thank all the people who have worked to make the CTP and my tiny corner of the Typosphere so rich. I could never have dreamed that this blog, the Typosphere, and the CTP were even possible.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wall Post

When we moved to our new home about a year ago, Mrs. Magic Margin was very generous in allowing me space to display my personal typewriter collection. Everything about the "typewriter room" has been a work in progress. The biggest problem for any collector is storage space. To display a typewriter is a large investment in shelf real-estate. 

I've mentioned my love of the Expedit shelf from the mega furniture retailer, IKEA. Each cube is 12" square so any typewriter you display needs to be smaller than that. I have been able to display a large collection using this storage system, but there are machines that I don't use (because they need to be repaired or restored. I don't want to get rid of them, but I would like to have them out and appreciated. So, this was the solution:


I know that there are some in the Typosphere that might be a little hesitant to hang some typewriters on the wall, but I like it. 


Each machine is custom-hung and the mount is attached to a stud. They are very secure. I don't know about the long-term effect that hanging would have on the mechanisms, but I imagine that it wouldn't be too different from storing them upright in their cases for an extended period of time.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Central Phoenix Typewriter Hunting

Being a teacher you are on your feet all day. With all that standing I tend to wear through a pair of shoes in the course of one school year. Almost every summer I have to take my shoes down to my regular cobbler and have them resoled. Fun shoe fact: the Prince of Wales has had the same pair of black oxfords made by John Lobb of St. James for the past 40 years. He keeps having them patched and shined and they'll last a lifetime. But, enough about shoes.

While I was in the area I thought it would be nice to go to a few antique stores and see what I could find in the way of typewriters. I didn't find much, and what I did find was pretty boring, but it was fun hunting none-the-less.







The only bright spot was finding this Gestetner duplicator. I have no idea what it would take to get it working, but it was in nice shape and only $65. There seems to be a large plasticized canvas sheet that has disintegrated with time. Perhaps it keeps the stencil stretched taught over the drums. I have no idea even where you would get the parts to make it work. But if you could it would be fun. Repeat-O-Type has inks and stencils. Anyway, here it is:



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bill M., You Rock!

Whenever I verge on the edge of rude, the ghostly presence of Great-Nana Magic Margin descends from her ethereal plane to slap me up-side the head. I have meant and meant to post this thank-you to Bill M. a new donor to the Classroom Typewriter Project, but I have been derailed by Scientific keyboards and other little activities. 

Bill sent a very clean Japanese Olympia and a customized Royal Companion. The Olympia is a mate to one we have in the classroom. These snappy little typewriters are popular with students who are new to typewriters. They have a more modern look and a feel that is good for novice and expert typers alike. The Royal-- like all the other Royals-- will be loved and used. I am sure there will be some interest in the unique paint scheme.

Now, I have some shame and time and it's about time that Bill be recognized for some good old-fashioned thoughtfulness. Bill shipped these typewriters to Phoenix all on his own dime (as I am a teacher and very much out of dimes, nickels, or other form of pecuniary remuneration). It's his kind of kindness that gets these typewriters into the hands of students. And you know, there are other teachers out there looking to better the lives of students through non-digital writing. Think about sending someone a typewriter. They will appreciate it!

So, it's time I banish Great-Nana Magic Margin's ghost and say thank you to Bill. You rock!

Here are a few pictures:




Saturday, June 16, 2012

Typewriter Ephemera

When I think about a typewriter, I think of a permanent device. Typewriters can last for decades. Some have been around for more than a century. It is a device with longevity.

As rich as the experience of using a typewriter can be, the ephemera that belongs to the experience of using a typewriter can add an appreciative level of verisimilitude. Typing on real onionskin is a joy. Using carbon paper is so much fun. Using the original instruction manual makes you smile.  These bits and pieces do not last forever. They are ephemeral.

I find myself collecting these typewriter adjacent pieces almost accidentally. I see something at an antique store and I pick it up. Usually, I don't spend more than a few bucks. Over time it's easy to amass a large collection of this stuff.

Typewriter ribbon tins are popular and I have enjoyed looking for those, but when I came across this on Ebay, I had to bid.


I won it for a paltry $1.99 bid. It's a mending kit sent out as a promotional item. In this case Hi-Brand Office Equipment of North Hollywood wanted to give their customers something special. Sure, a book of matches was useful, but this little mending kit (mostly designed for women who wear stockings) would be the perfect thing to hand out to secretaries who were responsible for ordering supplies or had some pull over what typewriter brand the boss would buy.



I like it because of the nice Olympia SG-1 on the back.


Looks familiar.


So, enough show-and-tell. What are your favorite bits of typewriter ephemera?