Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another Adler J5

If anything I am haunted by the blog post "Is the Adler J5 Junk?" That post is the third most-often looked at post I have ever written. How could it be then that another Adler J5 has come into my life? Goodwill.

We were cleaning out some things and I said that I would take all the donations over to the local Goodwill. I haven't had any luck at the local GW since I passed up an IBM Selectric in light blue.  (The same machine pays a part in Catch Me If You Can.) I walked over to the electronics department and I did not see the tell-tale typewriter case. Scattering the shelves was the usual bevy of printers, odd remotes to long dead televisions, and cheap 35mm cameras. I walked by without even noticing the black plastic case. Rummaging around another section, I found a nice old Polaroid Land Camera 600 (you can still get 600 film from the Impossible project) and not much else. On the way to the check-out lane the black case caught my eye. Every thought turned to it being an electric typewriter, but I was surprised to find it was a manual Adler J5 in fair shape. After a once-over the machine seemed solid and so I went to the check-out Polaroid and typewriter in hand. $9.00 would have been a good price to pay, but 4.50 is even better. It was my luck that the yellow tags were %50 off that day.

Is this typewriter Providence showing me the error of my Adler-hating ways? Perhaps, but this typewriter is headed for the classroom when we return in August.

Those keys are brown, not black. Black would have been much better.

A coronet.

A badge.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Eduardo's Criticism

Coming out of retirement.
When Eduardo authored this typecast he was using a less-than-svelte Remington Performer. When he was working on the second draft I pulled out the "retired" Hermes 3000 and suggested that he try using it for the second draft. His experience was far better when he used the Hermes. On reflection, Eduardo said that if the Hermes was the one he started with his opinion would be much different. I think that goes to show that perceptions of the typewriter can be informed by the machine that had been used. If your typewriter was really nice you would have fond memories of the experience. If it was a terrible, clangy, Adler J5-like machine you might have a totally different response.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Raquel's Deeper Understanding

This is Raquel's first summer-school typecast. Raquel is a bright young lady who has really taken an interest in the typewriter. Her favorite is a mid-century Quiet De Luxe.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Phoenix Typewriter Round-Up II: The Temple of Typers

By any measure you can imagine, the Phoenix Typewriter Round-Up II: The Temple of Typers was a success. Attendance was around 20 (more than 3 times as many attended the first Phoenix Type-In) and judging from the smiles and happy faces everyone had a good time. There was a good selection of typewriters to look at. I brought my Royal HH, Silver-Surfer Lettera 22, Blick 7, and a very nice Royal Model O.

My HH served as the Guest Book.

There were Hermes galore, Remingtons, and Coronas. However, typewriters were not the only excitement. Gary Nicholson (of the LA Type-In fame) was there with to colleagues. They are starting work on a documentary on the typewriter in the 21st century. The project is just getting off the ground and they have a large project in mind, but from what I have seen, they are really getting into the heart of the movement.

Bill's Corona 4 with lustrous gold paint. 

Compared to the last PT-I there were many more women in attendance. It's a refreshing thing to see that typewriter love knows no gender line.

Doubtless, you will hear much about the Phoenix Typewriter Round-Up and I'll have more in the very near future, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the two wonderful donations that the CTP received. One Sears manual (based on the Brother frame) came by way of Ted. The other machine is a Brazilian-made Hermes that Marshall wanted to find a good home. Both typers are in wonderful shape and will be well received in the classroom. These gentlemen will also be honored with a star on the donor list. It can only happen at a type-in: you leave with four and come home with six.

Remington, Corona, Royal, Blickensderfer.

Today is the Typewriter Round-Up!

The 2nd Phoenix Typewriter Round-Up (Type-In) is today at Monti's La Casa Vieja in Tempe. If you are going to be in the Tempe area today, consider dropping by. We already have quite a few local typewriter favorites attending. Grab that typewriter and head down to:

View Larger Map

The Typewriter Round-Up is scheduled from 1 to 3, so stop by and cool down for the afternoon. See some really interesting typewriters. Meet some interesting people. We'll see you there!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Typewriter Crafting: Dirt is an Enemy

If you were to read any instruction manual from the golden age of the typewriter you would find many references to the importance of covering your typewriter. This started me thinking. I have some typewriters that sit out and are completely unprotected. Sure, I want people to see them, but I also want to be able to use them without having to dust them off first.

Covers were once ubiquitous typewriter accessories. Now, they are nearly impossible to find in good condition and made of a material of which my wife would approve. That's why my wife and I made this:

What could be under this cover?

A blue Olympia SM-3!

When I say I helped, I measured machines and cut out the fabric. The actual sewing was done by the missus., but it looked easy enough to do.  I am currently working on a pattern that you can download and make your own. We also have been toying with the idea of selling them, but look for the pattern in the next few days.

In case there were any doubts in your mind as to the importance of covering your machine read this excerpt from the 1950 Federal Work Improvement Program Equipment Maintenance booklet (You can find the booklet in its entirety at this link):

Monday, June 13, 2011

Final Indulgence

Now, the only problem is that I think that the ratchet wheel for the line advancement is worn unevenly. I think it's making some odd line spacing happen. I'll post about that later.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tired Digits

Just a preview, but it is about 80% done. Huge project that I am unlikely to do again. Now I know why people have buffing wheels in shops. Doing this by hand has been a labor of love. So, enjoy the photo. I need to go and try to get this aluminum dust out of my hands.

As you know, pictures can never do these sorts of things justice.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

We Need More Cowbell

After the baby was put to bed, I retired to the back patio to continue sanding the body of the Lettera. It is far from done. I still have the 150, 250, 400, 600, and 1500 grit papers to go, but 400 and higher is wet paper. Wet paper lets me sit inside and work on while watching television.

In Progress. Lots of elbow grease. See that reflection on the left side
of the ribbon cover? Quality.

The cover is sanded to 1500. The lower part is 150. See the difference
in shine? All I did was sand.

Pretty cool. 

I need to start looking for a buffing wheel that can fit in the chuck on my cordless drill. I think that Auto Zone or O'Riley might have something like that. The buff is the last step on this "little" project. I am hoping that by the end of the week I'll have a complete machine to show off. In fact, it might make it's way to the type-in on June 18th.


Friday, June 3, 2011

The Slow Methodical Plodding Along

So I don't know if I have the most horrible luck or what, but my Silver Surfer project is taking a long time. So far I have completed...nothing. Well, nothing isn't quite true. The cover of the old Lettera is coming along nicely. The body still needs the paint sanded off. Initially, I tried using acetone and it worked to some degree. The paint didn't peel off in one sheet. It just became soft enough to scrape off with an old paint stirrer.

After the paint was scraped and the surface cleaned, the aluminum looked heavily scratched and pitted.. It was probably made that way to give the paint an excellent key. That would be great for old paint that looked wonderful, but the putty color on the Olivetti was really unpleasant. I needed to sand a lot.

Starting with a 65 grit block I was able to get the paint off. It worked, but the work was slow. I might try to find one of those sanding disks that mount into a portable drill. Speed might get that ugly paint to vanish. 150 followed the 65. After that was a succession of finer and finer grit papers; 250, 400, 600, and 1500. As of tonight, I just need to buff out the micro-scratches that make the surface look brushed. I know there are buffing wheels at ACE, so I am going to get one of those.

The work looks great and I can't wait to finish and get to typing. Below is an adequate, but not very accurate picture of the cover.

Looking shiny!

Another angle, same model.

 I think I will be done some time next week.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lonely Typewriter

Summer school is in full swing and the students are already using the machines. We are just about 1-to-1 in student-to-typewriter ratio. This allows the kids to choose a typewriter and keep it at their desk. This one ,complete with a story about a first football game, was left mid-word. The author will return to the story on Monday.

Water, Water Everywhere

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On the Bench

Silver Surferizing is all the rage. I've been sucked in with a Lettera that needed a little attention. All I am willing to show, yet, is an uncovered typewriter, but soon it will be ready to share.