Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Swiss Ambassador

Ted said that he didn't like his new Ambassador. I had seen the very machine to which he was referring. It had been sitting in the Mesa Typewriter exchange for months gathering dust and looking generally sad. After a little negotiation, Ted was willing to give me the Ambassador to see if I could make a go of it. After a few hours of working I have resurrected this great green giant to an acceptable state.

I'll start with the paint. I had thought it was really dusty, but on closer inspection I could see that the paint was terribly oxidized. Every surface was dusty with powdery-white oxidation. I know that heat can do that to paint, but I had never seen it so evenly cast over the body. It must have, at some point in its life spent a lot of time in a hot room. Not being prepared to strip everything, I decided to try some cleaning wax. The thought was to give it a sheen similar to a regular Hermes while stopping the paint from dusting off. It seems to work. Obviously, the paint is nowhere near as durable as it once was, but it looks good and will be good enough until I make a final decision about the paint.

The whole machine was filled with grit so a lot of my time was spent just getting the Arizona dust of the carriage guide rails. A couple drops of oil really freed every thing up.

As Ted reported, the platen is in a sad state, but I have never seen an original Hermes platen that wasn't rock-hard. Fortunately the feed rollers are still really soft and grip the paper well. If you use two sheets of paper it works great. I tend to use two sheets of paper regardless. If time and money is freed up I might send the platen to Ames for recovering.

This model has a twin ribbons system. It can use standard fabric ribbons or the lovely high-definition film ribbon. This particular machine came with a completely full film spool so I didn't have to install a ribbon.

As desktop typewriters go, the Ambassador is really ridiculously large. It dwarfs pretty much any desktop typewriter. My HH looks like a portable next to this thing. I have no idea why the size. Maybe it's the one typewriter to rule them all.

No students have used it yet, but I will make it available tomorrow for part two of a two-day project. I am sure there will be some interested takers. It types like a dream and is filled with every bell and whistle. I love the paper injector. It makes you feel like you are shifting a really fast car into first.

The decision that I am facing is whether I should make this into a Silver Surfer. Shining it to a mirror finish might make this the most formidable typewriter ever.