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. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Making History

Did you know that March 5th will mark the single largest gathering of typewriter enthusiasts in the storied 99-year history of Arizona?  It's true. Come and be a part of history. Bring a typewriter. Bring a story.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Clean Arrow

Last night, while watching Dowton Abbey (a miniseries about a noble Edwardian family), I reassembled a 1942 Royal Arrow. Shined and polished, here are the results:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Invasion of The Big Roll of Paper

I was able to find a little inspiration and start working on a short story featuring a library, a 40s Royal Quiet De Luxe, and some near-future speculative fiction.

"Bow Arts" is an intentional mistake. I know it's Beaux Arts.
All part of a cunning plot twist.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Apart from the very low quality typecast (sentence fluency and conventions) I am happy I found the badge. I had looked into fabbing one through Ponko. I started tracing a photo of the ghostly glue residue. That's not necessary now. All is right.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Heavy Is the Head that Wears the Crown

When you are gone from your classroom you come back to this kind of cruelty. It was a defenseless typewriter. The trouble-maker and badge location are unknown.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arrow Unsheathed

The baby was ill, so I stayed home with him today. During a long nap, I took the dog outside and decided to start cleaning the Arrow. The weather is warm and working outside was nice. I really don't want to remove the platen to clean the machine. It is dirty, but the platen and carriage is significantly cleaner than the body. The plan it to have it clean before the Phoenix Typewriter Round-Up which is happening on March 5th. If I can't get it done before that, I have plenty of other typewriters that I can bring.