Friday, February 11, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Emily Post Post

As I gather addresses to start writing my own letters, my thoughts have turned to the stationery that I want to use. The problem is that I have no stationery, at least none that is fine enough for ITAM. You always see nice stationery folded in half in old movies. I like that look. For this particular social grace I needed some expert advice. Emily to the rescue:

Whew! Thank goodness Emily was there. I was considering some comically large paper, or something decidedly liberal, but she has talked me down off that ledge. The Age of Innocence plays over and over in my mind as I look at all these rules. (Good movie from a greater book.) Without the internet, I suppose that people had more time for social rules and propriety. I particularly love that these paper sizes are nothing like American Letter sized paper. 8 1/2 x 11 is too cold and impersonal a size for a letter. I don't want to be reminded of a bill or my City of Phoenix water statement; I want a letter from a friend.

From my research only Crane offers paper in something similar to these traditional sizes. The hand-bordered Regent Blue Ecruwhite letter sheets are a perfectly respectable 6 3/8 x 8 1/2. The Ecruwhite Letter Sheets are in a similar vein.

Crane also offers a Monarch sheet (7 1/4 x 10 1/2). That size paper is intended to be folded in thirds. I don't like paper folded in thirds. If there is another company that offers paper and envelopes in matching paper I would be interested, but this seems to be an expensive, all-cotton, niche product.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Odd Little Duck

An ommage to Dill: I'm little, but I'm BOLD!
With type this large you use up space fast.

Typebar? More like crowbar.

Red? Don't even think about it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Son of Crass Commercialism

If you give a man a typewriter, you can use the space to display another. Teach a man to type and he'll probably start some sort of blog.

The CTP needs to keep students in the ink-- ribbons, that is. If you purchase a 10 pack of carbons from the CTP, each dollar will go to fund the purchase of ribbons for my student's classroom typewriters. Consider helping. Postage included.Each pack is $7.00

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's a Typewriter Month Miracle!

The Maroon Olympia is fixed! The problem was in the carriage release which was not releasing properly when the escapement advanced. It was as simple as removing an errant piece of metal that had jammed up the machinery. I am much happier now it is working properly.

I promised a blow-by-blow account of the process, but I forgot my camera was there. I did catch a few informative images that might help others in their own restorations.

I know that I promised wanted to use a water bath and dry the machine in the oven. I was a little apprehensive about the process, so I used penetrating oil instead. It was still a very dunk-like job.

A towel is the most important thing to
have in all the universe.
It was a nice, warm, and sunny day. It made the machine warm to the touch and aided in making the penetrating oil run nicely. I wanted to have a way for the oil to drip off the frame freely. I had an old metal screen and placed it over a trashcan. In the bottom of the can I had a pan collecting the oil that dripped off. The larger can was tall enough that I didn't have to stoop and bend. I placed the typewriter on top of this screen and applied the oil all over the place. After a few minutes elapsed, the machine was noticeably cleaner. I used an old toothbrush to scrub some of the tougher parts. There was a ton of junk in the bowels of this typewriter. All sorts of gunk grime, goo, and eraser dust worked loose and ran out the bottom of the frame into the drip pan.
Shiny and new.
The only negative would be the distinctive smell of the penetrating oil. I have no doubt that the smell will dissipate over the coming days and months. I was really surprised with how well everything cleaned up. It looks like a new machine on the inside.

Sticky platen.
I thought that belt dressing would be a good way to make the platen a little more rubbery. Standing it on end I lightly sprayed the auto belt conditioner. After a reasonable time elapsed the platen was sticky and gooey. I must have added too much or this product just isn't suitable for platens. I tried rinsing the sticky layer off with some water, but it wouldn't come off. I then tried some rubbing alcohol. A thin layer of grime and rubber came off revealing slightly softer rubber below. I took some wet/dry sandpaper and gave it a good scrub. After the treatment it was noticeably better.

I cleaned the body panels with some warm water and All (free and clear) laundry detergent. Laundry detergent has a bluing agent that give everything a little glow. I like it. I used a soft toothbrush to get in the crackle paint. After the panels were dry I went over them with Pledge. Pledge was a suggestion from Richard Polt's web site and it worked really well. The body has a nice lustre. There is still the scratch from where the carriage return lever scratched the body, but it just ads to the uniqueness of the machine.

Take a look at an after and before. 

Nice and new (After)                                   Dirty, unloved. (Before)
 Overall, the project was a success and I learned a great deal about typewriter cleaning. Primarily, I need to take my time. I think rushing this job would really ruin it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Typewriter Month Blessing

I remember, as a child, gathering around the Typewriter tree with our cups of hot 3-in-1 oil. We would sing traditional Typewriter carols; "What Typewriter is This?", "We Three Repairmen", and "Margin Bells." Those were the days before the Typewriter season became so commercial. Even so, there is nothing like the smell of typewriters just out of the drying oven.

I wanted to share a Typewriter Month blessing that has stayed with me to this day:

May the ribbon you use be inky.
May your typebars be clash free.
May your strikethroughs be few.
May your correspondence be often
And remember, that you are saving the written word.

In all seriousness, I think that Feb. is a great month for ITAM. Let's thank Deek (Look for his blog Type Clack in the sidebar) for his suggestion. With all the Type-Ins, events, and blog postings, you can see how alive and vibrant this community is.