Saturday, April 27, 2013

10 or X or What?

I have a Royal desktop standard machine with single glass sides from 1927. It's a beautiful machine and I am really proud to own it, but I have a problem.


I don't know what to call this model. Is it a Royal 10? Should we designate that it's a single beveled window rather than the dual window? Royal 10 Single Window?


Should I follow the convention and use the letter prefix from the serial number? In this case it is X-1089085, so this would be a Royal X.


Or maybe 1927 Royal Standard? What do you, the Typosphere, think?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Angering the Typewriters

So after lofty promises and Greek-drama-sized hubris, the USB typewriter project has come to a halt. The mounting point I imagined just won't work and I am starting to question the wisdom of using my Underwood. Mostly because the rear feet are too squished and are providing almost no clearance for the sensor bar. 

While the mount point I picked was beautiful and it made some sense, I was unprepared for how much it would affect the feel of the movement. Stopping the intermediate linkage even a few millimeters made the whole machine unresponsive. I am beginning to see why the ribbon vibrator bar was a wise choice on Jack's part. The vibrator bar is a piece that interacts with every key bar, yet has movement so as to prevent any major alteration to the feel of the typewriter.

You win some and then you loose some.

I guess that the Ancient Ones of the Typosphere looked unfavorable on my enterprise. Yet, like Herbert West I shall reanimate this idea.

Monday, April 22, 2013

For Nick and All Typospherians

Nick emailed me and asked if I would be willing to scan the instruction sheet for a Royal Portable Model O. Happy to help the Typosphere. I scanned it and made two versions. The first version is for printing on 11x17" paper and folding to your heart's desire. The second is for on-line viewing.




I've also run off a few copies and folded them for you. They are for sale (via this blog) for $1 including postage.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Typewriter Hacks

When I think of typewriter hacks I think of:


or:


But folks of the digital world that are hooking up typewriters to computers. I haven't decided whether it's a silly idea, as expressed by Strikethru, or something fun as Robert has described. That vacillation hasn't stopped me from giving the USB typewriter kit by Jack Zylkin a go. A few days ago I posted the main board assembled, soldered, and tested. I have a few other pieces to assemble, but my big hang-up was the location of the sensor bar.

As Jack shows on his Instructables page, the sensor bar is attached to the ribbon vibrator cross-member. The reason why he chose this location makes sense. Each key top linkage arm touches this bar and there is a significant amount of play in the trip point. In other words, this is a pretty good place to put a part like this. However, I did not like this location.



The fact I would be mounting something to a moving part made me nervous. I know that most of these typewriter USB conversions use this cross-member, I thought there are plenty of places under the machine to mount a new cross-bar and mount the sensors to that place. This is the location I thought wold be ideal:



So, I went to she shop and started to craft this of aluminum:




And then covered it with Gorilla Tape.

Unfortunately, I didn't take step-by-step photos, but I think you can get an idea of how I crafted it. The curved edge approaches the secondary linkage segment behind the key tops. These small linkages descend only slightly and the clearance is small, but it's enough to make contact with the metal fingers and short to ground. I wanted to mount the sensor bar on the inside of this support bar, but I think the clearance just isn't there.

The great thing about Jack's kit is that's open. You can make the decisions for yourself and go wherever the wind might take you. I decided to make a new crossbar tof my own design that honored my aesthetic sensibilities. You, could do something entirely different.

I am still working on my USB Typewriter. I'll probably be finished with it today, but in the interim I found these two videos on Vimeo featuring a typewriter hack using car door lock actuators and then a profile of the guy who made the USB Typewriter kit.

Before you get too comfortable watching the videos, I want to remind you that today is the deadline for your the prompted questions: Where is the typosphere going? You can find out about the assignment and the reward for those that complete the challenge at this link:
http://www.magicmargin.net/2013/04/magic-margin-at-100000.html


Automatic Typewriter from Harvey Moon on Vimeo.
 
Handmade Portraits: USB Typewriter from Etsy on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Deadline Ahead

 
The deadline for the Magic Margin 100,000 Page View Contest is days away. If you want to be one of the lucky few to receive a coveted limited-run Magic Margin poster, respond to the prompt in the post lined below.

http://www.magicmargin.net/2013/04/magic-margin-at-100000.html

Monday, April 15, 2013

It Came in the Post



Soldered by yours truly. This is the first step in a larger project. This project has derailed the Underwood Universal restoration, but I think what's coming will more than make up for it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

November 1956

I found this interesting document and thought I would share it with the Typosphere. Royal's human resources department published this monthly magazine for the benefit of its workforce. While typewriters are present, this magazine primarily lets us have a glimpse inside the everyday life at a major typewriter manufacturer during the 1950s. 

The people who worked at Royal were not typewriter users like us. They worked for Royal and were probably loyal to their employer, but typewriters were not the cultural artifacts they are today.  No doubt, they would thing that owning more than one typewriter was just plain unusual.

Typewriters were devices intended to do a job. So, within these pages you'll see no mention of the power of unplugging from the digital hegemony or any of the usual tropes of the Typosphere. Instead you'll find celebrations of birthdays, information on major medical plans, and pictures of employee barbecues. You might even see the odd typewriter here-and-there.