Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What Would You Call 16 Typewriters?

My wife would call it crazy. I would call it the largest donation the CTP has ever received. A few days ago I got into contact with a local real-estate agent, K., who had a large collection of typewriters she wanted to see go to a good cause. When it comes to typewriters the CTP is really the only good cause in Phoenix where a typer would get some daily use.

It took a 1/2 hour to get to N. Scottsdale (near Taliesin West), but the trip was worth it. There were machines from the teens (low-number Corona 3) all the way to the 1960s (twin Hermes 3000s). The variety is very nice and I know that some of these will be very interesting for students to use.

Most of them are in good condition. There are a few machines that need some work. I'll go through each one in subsequent posts, but I'll share some of the pictures that I took when I got them all home.

Twin Hermes 3000. Both have manuals and brushes.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Typewriter Cover Pattern

I've been promising for some time to post the pattern for the typewriter cover. After consulting with Mrs. Magic Margin she helped me make a set of instructions. Hopefully they make sense. If you have any questions please let me know and I'll forward the questions over to her.

If you happen to make one or have one made we would love to see the results. You can email your pictures to tryanpa@cox.net. In case you haven't seen the examples we made I've included pictures below. The black and white one does not have any interfacing.

I'd Like To Thank The Donors

It has been a while since I've updated the donor page, but please take a look at all the kind people who have donated typewriters to my classroom. More than a few of them paid to have a typewriter shipped from somewhere else. The Typosphere is a very kind place.

Thank you!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Time is Here!

After looking at all the entries and using a complex random mathematical formula developed by the boffins deep inside the Magic Margin Labs, I am happy to announce that...

...has won himself a typewriter cover!

Thank you all for entering and congratulations deek!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ceci n'est pas une machine à écrire*

Taking a short break from typewriters, I wanted to share one of my favorite electronic-age gadgets.

In our dining room we have a TV, but it's not a standard flat screen. This television is a GE model 10T4 from the late 40s. I found it at a Hamfest in Glendale, AZ back in the late 90s. In the first few hours of the 'fest I had seen this beauty, but the price was too high. I came back close to the end and offered what I thought was reasonable ($20 or so) and the seller was happy to not not take it back home. 

Borrowing a friend's tube-tester I was able to hunt down the bad tubes and replace any capacitors that has started to leak. It's wasn't a hard repair, but I was scared when I had to re-solder a yolk post back onto one of the power supply tubes. That monster was a little scary. For 13 years the tubes have been working well. Powering it up for 30 minutes once a month has helped keep everything limber and well-working. 

The saddest day for this TV was the digital transition. I had it on the very moment the last analog signal was broadcast. It was a sad day for me too, but I have been able to bring it back to life with a DTV converter box and a rat's nest of cables.

Monday I took out the old iPod and snagged a video of it running while Peep's Wide World was on PBS. The video is embedded below.

*Blame Google if the translation is not correct.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Typewriter Monsoon

July and August in Phoenix is hot, humid, and stormy. No doubt, you have heard about the haboob that swept through Phoenix. I can tell you that they are not unusual. Dust storms are common in arid deserts like Phoenix. This is our unpleasant season. Most of the nation has their unpleasant season in the winter, we just happen to have it in the summer. It's kind of like a hot Christmas in Australia. We call this season "monsoon" even though it lacks the wetness and general impressiveness of the Asian monsoons. Really, it's just the rainy season. (Though not very rainy if you ask me.)

Much like the thunder and lightening common this time of year, there seems to have been a whirlwind of typewriters coming into my possession; an Underwood desktop that has an interesting story and a Smith-Corona Skyriter. Both of these are headed to the classroom, but first to the Underwood.

The Selectric that I christened The Deathstar has been traded for a manual that fits better with the mission of the CTP. The Underwood was the result of that trade. My son and I went to the Mesa Typewriter Exchange because I had convinced Bill that we needed to trade. Making a day of it we packed the Cheerios in the diaper bag and headed down with the Selectric in tow. Bill was willing to make the trade which was wonderful, but I had to choose a suitable replacement from the variety of machines in the store. My eye was drawn to a Hermes Ambassador, but I remember Bill saying that he wanted to make it a project of his own. Bill suggested a nice FP and I would have said yes, but this average Underwood with a wide carriage snagged my attention.

What kind of cat are you?

It's not a special machine by any stretch of the imagination. Millions of these were in use in offices across the US. This particular one was a post-war (1946) typer in good shape. The soberness of this typewriter is evident with the not-too-much-we-don't-want-to-look-like-dilettants crinkle paint. I love sober typewriters and this monster is very serious.

Heavy metal.

Bill pulled out the machine and set it up. There was a little dust from sitting so long. It was described to me as a "tomorrow" project; something that would be cleaned up and set in order tomorrow. After getting the age loosened off, Bill noticed that there was a problem with the E and D type slugs. They were loose and on the verge of being thrown from the machine. Bill wanted to fix it. I was floored. Re-soldering a type slug is not a simple fix. Imagine the steady hand needed to take on such an operation, but with his friendly manner Bill wanted to fix it before sending it home with me.

Someone loved the E and 6 key.

Twenty minutes later the type slugs were soldered, the ribbon was installed, and the machine was in the car. The D and E slugs securely attached. However, in the process they lost a tiny bit of their alignment. That's fine with me. I think that their new alignment makes for a great deal of character. This surgery, however, did not alter the feel of this typewriter. It has a great speedy action that demands serious typing.

This machine is headed to the classroom with the Skyriter (more about that one tomorrow). Right now that makes the total number of around 22. The actual number escapes me. I'm on summer vacation so the mind isn't as quick.

To finish up this post I want to share another haiku. This one is from Angel:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

15,000 Times: Thank You

Yesterday was a milestone moment for Magic Margin: 15,000 pageviews. To honor the special occasion Mrs. Magic Margin has been hard at work in the Magic Margin Labs to craft a new version of the typewriter cover debuted a few weeks ago. This is a special cover that will go to a commenter (chosen randomly) who gives a compelling argument as to why anyone would need 15,000 typewriters. Really, just comment and you are added to the drawing. This time next week I will announce the winner. You can comment up until next Thursday. Just so you know the cover fits most standard portable models SM-3-ish in size.

Thank you again for all the support!


Special commemorative badge.

Soft fuzzy lining to protect your typer.