Monday, February 28, 2011

Please Pardon the Indulgence

ITAM has been wonderful. I've had the chance to write a few letters, get a few letters, and just enjoy typewriters. Others have posted their collections and, as my last ITAM post, I am going to share my personal collection of typewriters.

Of course, you know that the classroom has quite a few typewriters. The classroom machines are (incompletely) recorded on the "Our Typewriters" page, but I wanted to write about my personal collection. These are the typewriters that I have displayed at home. They are too special to me to risk bringing in the classroom. There are only four because I promised my wife that I wouldn't clutter the house up with typewriters.

Left: (1) Royal Arrow 1941, Right: (2) Blue Olympia SM-3 1959

Left: (3) Royal Quiet De Luxe 1946, Right: (4) Remington Remette 1942

1. Royal Arrow 1941
This is the newest to my personal collection. As I mentioned in earlier posts, this particular machine was incredibly dirty. The Arrow was the first typewriter which I dunked into a basin of warmish water. I had tried just penetrating oil, but there was so much grime and dust it wouldn't clean up. In a fit I decided to throw caution to the wind and dunk it into water, dried it in the oven, and oiled while warm. The water was able to get into all the nooks and crannies. It did wonders for the mechanism. However, there are two small problems. First, I cannot stop the Y from sticking. It's clearly not gunk, but some part of the linkage won't let the typebar return upon striking the platen. Second, the touch control is very hard to move. I took care to take pictures during the disassembly, but for some reason the touch control is stiff and difficult to move. The slider is set where I like it, so I have no problems with the current situation. I am pretty impressed with my own restoration.

2. Blue Olympia SM-3 1959
I love this typewriter because it's blue and it matches with our Heywood-Wakefield themed office. In all the Craigslist ads and dodgy eBay auctions I've seen few Olympias have been blue. No doubt it's not rare. It's just a little special. The picture does not do it justice. The blue is very nice, like a robin's egg.

3. Royal Quiet De Luxe 1946
This is the first typewriter I ever bought. It's special for that reason alone, but I've been spoiled by the condition of this machine. It was well loved and always stored in the case. There was almost no dust. It's life was spent in Arizona and there is no damage from moisture. The only thing that could be improved is the platen. Now that I have experience removing it, I might send it off to Ames for recovering.

4. Remington Remette 1942
This was a Goodwill find. I think it was $10 all told. Cosmetically, it's very nice. Mechanically, it's junk. The Remette uses a very interesting geared linkage. It made it possible to have the typebars resting at a very low angle. The low angle eliminates the need for a mechanism to raise the typebars to a 45%. This kept the cost of the machine down. It may look like a depression-era waste, but it really works. That is, of course, if you don't break the J gear linkage while trying to bend it back into place. Yes, I am that stupid. I thought that I could silver solder it back together, but I would need to disassemble the entire typebar segment block. I don't know how to do that or if I would want to do that. This Remette sits on our shelf and looks pretty. If I find another one, I'll just swap the body plates. 

I hope that you've enjoyed looking at my typewriters. I don't have nearly as many as others, but I do have the option of trying one out for a while and then taking it to school for the kids to use. Poor me.

Note: I staged the photos. Each of the typewriters has a special place in the house. I put them all together for ease of photography. 


  1. I like the Royal and Olympia together, they make a nice photo.

  2. Adore the SM-3. Been wanting one of these lately.

  3. I think you have the best of both worlds! You get to try out many different kinds of typewriters, and then you don't have to worry about finding space to store them OR feeling guilty because you have too many typewriters and not enough time to use all of them. And the kids are improving their writing while having a great time using the typewriters - despite the downside of occasional vandalism, I think yours is the perfect scenario.

  4. There's too many sightings of an SM-3 to not want one...damn typosphere:)

    Love the Royals. As my first manual purchase was a 1946 Royal QDL, I feel somewhat connected to yours!

  5. nice collection! makes me long for that SM3 i won on ebay but haven't arrived here yet. maybe not for a month and a half still since it's in the US and I am halfway around the globe. i am amazed at your self control, keeping only four in the house. the missus should be proud :-D

  6. I still own the old Blue Olympia and it gets operated very rarely in a year to keep it actively in running mode. The world is changing with new technology at every moment and it’s the same will act in future leaving behind the current ones into past. But the way to handle it at the hard times of operation is simply tricky and needs the technical mini weapons.
    Penetrating Oil