Thursday, December 19, 2013

Paper Welder

Ton, Miguel, Nick, and Richard all shared their staplers and this is mine. Actually, it's a type of fastener.





This beauty crimps paper together with a fluted "weld." It is in the same vein as Richard's tab thingamajig, but with more mid-century chrome. The ever-interesting American Stationer blog has a very lengthy article about the different models of the Paper Welder

One benefit to a crimper like this is you can feed pages that have been crimped though a typewriter with ease. Staples do not always play nicely with a platen.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Typewriter Crafting: Making Hermes 3000 Knobs

Count yourself lucky if you own a Hermes 3000 and your knobs are in good shape  I have two of these typewriters that are in fantastic shape and all knobs, levers, and buttons are extant and operable. However, I do have one Hermes that is missing both knobs.


It's a lovely mid-body Hermes. You know the ones; pale green and white key tops. They have all the feel of the original Hermes with the extra brittle knobs. Bonus! I haven't put it out into the rotation because of the knobs. As a typer it's completely useable, but the knoblesness makes loading paper too dependent on the line spacing mechanism. So, I set out to make a new knob.

Rob made some out of wood. Very nice. I support hand-crafted lovliness. Wood would be good, but plastic...well the future is in plastics. I, however, do not have a plastics factory. Or do I?


Enter Instamorph. You may have seen it as Shapelock or (as the boffins in labs know it) Polycaprolactone; PCL. This plastic is amazing. It melts in 60 degree (140F) water and becomes a pliable putty that you can mold into a variety of shapes. Apart form the hobbyist applications, there are medical uses (drug delivery systems) that make this a very unusual material. I like it because you can make into typewriter knobs.

I took the original mandrel from the Hermes knob and cleaned it off. I then melted some PCL according to the directions on the tub and started forming the small lump into something that resembled a typewriter knob. I worked the material over for a while trying to make a close fit to the mandrel. The material is pliable, but it can be stiff and I was having a hard time making a tight fit around the part. I then thought to form the piece slightly smaller and compression fit it into place. That worked marvelously. In the end I got this.



It is a good size, but looks a little homemade. If you have a little more time and a little more ambition you could make it look a lot better. I gave the plastic some time to cool and then attach the newly-crafted knob to the typewriter. The best thing about this plastic is that if you are unhappy with the outcome, just cut it up into little pieces and reheat it. This process can be done over and over. It's really a great/fun material to work with.


Time will yield results on the long-term durability, but I have high hopes. Instamorph (and Shapelock) are paintable. There might even be possibilities in making (or remaking) feet, keytops, and bushings; anything you might imagine. Now, there is one caveat; Instamorph is biodegradable. So that knob or foot or keytop might not last for decades, but it's perfect for fairly fast repairs.

Instamorph: http://www.instamorph.com (Distributed by a local company out of Scottsdale, AZ)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pineapple and Typewriters

Pineapple and typewriters don't mix. Specifically Dole pineapple cups and this typewriter.


Brian–typewriter lover and overall good student–was holding a cup of pineapple his teeth while carrying this typewriter back to his desk. A moment later I herd a yelp, a kerfuffle, and a blur. I turned to see small golden nuggets of pineapple falling into the segment of this typewriter, a stream of juice smacking the floor, and a horrified Brian looking at me like he was preparing to meet his maker.

I have had students bend type bars. I have had typewriters dropped. I have seen dubious choices made over how to treat someof these machines. Never have I encountered a typewriter filled with pineapple and pineapple juice.

As you can imagine, this typewriter is out of commission. The segments are completely frozen and the machine is non-functioning. Thankfully, I know what happened and I will be able to clean it very soon. In this instance a full water dunk will be the best option.

from Dole.com

So my advice: Don't dump pineapple into a typewriter.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Dilemma: Should it Stay or Should it Go?

I had a college professor who like to point out that the real meaning of dilemma was a choice between two equally undesirable outcomes. Dilemma connotatively means any problem, but in this situation it is a true dilemma.

The problem centers around this typewriter.



A once proud and mighty grande dame of the office, this Super Speed is now a decaying wreck. I can only assume that it was stored in dampest, dankest, darkest basement ever dug by human hands. The corrosion is impressive.

Needless to say, to restore this typewriter to its original state would take countless hours and probably more than a few q-tips. This typewriter was a gift. It was free from a very kind person and I didn't have the heart to tell him that I would never get around to fixing it.

Other projects came and went.

Time passed.

And now what do I do with this albatross?


I like the Super Speed. It's attractive typewriter. The horizontal banding breaks up the strong vertical look of this machine. It's very Moderne. The new design came at a time when Smith-Corona was looking to update the look of their office machine. I agree with Alan Seaver when he says, "In my mind, this version of the Super-Speed belongs more to the '30s than the '40s..."

As much as this typewriter looked new, under the ribbon cover everything was very much the same. To the end of the product line Smith-Corona Super Speed used the same ball-bearing design to hang the type bars that had been designed and used on all L.C. Smith machines for the previous 50 years. By the 40s no company was using that technology. Slotted type segments were the norm, but Smith-Corona still hung on to the tradition.


Even with such a great past and good looking design, the realities of the modern day still linger. I can't keep the machine (I need space for new ones) and restoring this machine is not going to happen. What does that leave? I think parting it out and recycling the frame is my only option.

I don't like the idea, but I am in the middle of a dilemma. So much of the typewriter collecting field focuses on salvaging typewriters, but should we be so squeamish about getting rid of common and broken typewriters? Is every machine worth saving? 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wednesday's Typewriter Lecture

Just a little update... The lecture was great! About 25 folks attended and some really good questions were asked. I gave the in-depth story of Magic Margin, the Typosphere, and my typewriter collection.

GCC North was incredibly kind in hosting me an my collection. If you are in the area the collection of typewriters is on display through the remainer of the semester.



The footnotes have been documented, the slides have been Power Pointed, and I have saved my voice for my big event tonight.

So, if you are in the North Phoenix area, stop by Glendale Community College North to hear me drone on about typewriters. It'll be lecture-tastic!



GCC North
5727 W Happy Valley Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85310

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rob's Book

 

Rob said we should post a picture, but I thought several pictures in quick succession would be better. I call them "seqmopho" (sequential motion photographs). They might catch on.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Powerful Tools


I thought that this would be a nice addition to the cause. Click on this link for a higher resolution.

Monday, October 21, 2013

We're Still Typin'

So, I looked at the date of my last post and it has been a while. Don't beat yourself up. We have both been busy. I have had to prepare for the typewriter exhibit at GCC North and my upcoming lecture.

Halloween decorations have kept me busy.


There is, of course, my "photography."


But, I wanted to show you a few pictures of my 5th period typing. They have been slow to adopt the way of the typewriter, but the revolution is not won in great leaps. It is a slow process that converts adherents with logical argument.





Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Selectstar

The Rt. Rv. Munk on To Type, Shoot Strait, and Speak the Truth describes his recent purchase of a Selectric at a garage sale. $5 was the price and that seems about fair. Selectrics are everywhere and many in The Typosphere have at least one lying around somewhere. To my eyes the IBM Selectric type element always looks a little suspicious.

Thanks should go to Georg Sommeregger because I used his Selectric
type ball image for this frightening composite.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Desert Sunsets and Plexiglass Cubes

As the sun began to set in the desert and the golden rays of the sun light up the mountains and cacti I made a delivery of typewriters to the Glendale Community College North campus for the exhibit. I was able to snag a few pictures of the campus and the typewriters in the library.














Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The List

So here is the list of machines I came up with for the GCC North exhibition. I have had to make some tough editorial decisions, but I would love to hear  from you. How complete or incomplete is this list? I have tried to represent a century of typewriter evolution. Does this collection pull that off?

1909 Corona 3
1921 Underwood Standard Portable
1926 Remington 12
1935 Remington Model 7
1937 Corona Standard
1942 Royal Arrow Navy Radio Mill
1954 Royal HH
1959 Olympia SG-1
1959 Olympia SM3
1961 Brother Valiant
1961 IBM Selectric
1985 IBM Wheelwriter 5

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Magic Margin Display at GCC North

A few weeks ago I got a call from one of the administrators at the local community college down the street. Glendale Community College's satellite campus in the North Valley has a beautiful library filled with display cases that are sitting empty. I was asked if I would be willing to put together 12 typewriters to display in the library for the rest of the semester. I jumped at the chance to get my collection out of my home Typetorium. 

We've got the ball rolling and it looks like there also might be a reception and lecture by a certain typewriter-collecting English teacher.

I've been going through my collection looking at what I might want to include in this broad collection. I think I have put together an interesting history of typewriters.

Things are in the planning stages and I'll make sure to keep everyone updated, but I am pleased as punch to be sharing our hobby with a whole new group of people.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Blickensderfer in the Pines of Prescott


This is a picture of Sharlot Hall sitting at what appears to be a Blickensderfer 7 at her family home at Orchard Ranch 20 miles south of Prescott. Who was Sharlot Hall?

Sharlot M. Hall (1870-1943), who became well known as a poet, activist, politician, and Arizona’s first territorial historian. Sharlot Hall was one of the West’s most remarkable women. As early as 1907, Ms. Hall saw the need to save Arizona's history and planned to develop a museum. She began to collect both Native American and pioneer material. In 1927, she began restoring the first Territorial Governor’s residence and offices and moved her extensive collection of artifacts and documents opening it as a museum in 1928.
This great treasure of Arizona sits at a Blickensderfer 7 at Orchard Ranch 20 miles south of Prescott. Sharlot was very concerned with protecting Arizona's new history and filled an inhereted home (which was the territorial governor's mansion at one time) with artifacts and objects from Arizona's early years.

For Sharlot Hall, Prescott was far more rugged than the hip boutiques would suggest today. The simple and reliable Blick would have been invaluable to those living in these rugged wildernesses.