Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sightings of beige machines

Sightings from a very small 'safari'; a browse at the jumble sale of a local church. Had been wondering if there'd be any shellac records or gramophones or other interesting vintage technology. There actually were two typewriters, however these were of a fairly recent vintage - the 'beige period'.

The Olympia manual typewriter could have done with a wipe from a damp cloth to clean it a bit, otherwise probably fine. Regular keyboard, but with the 'ij' key.

The one other machine was equally beige and, as an electric, edging even closer to the impending PC-age.

This Torpedo Electronic 700 typewriter has a fairly extensive keyboard with a neat assortment of mathematics or engineering symbols.

Even though the asking prices at the event overall were very modest, passed on both. 
(Instead from the tools-section picked up an old screwdriver and folding rule :-)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Der Schreibmaschine - ein Gerät der Feinwerktechnik

Leafing through this book about designing for precision manufacturing.

The introduction of course explains all the ways precision manufacture matters.

And there it gets the essence typewriters in a single line. Roughly translated; "With the typewriter there is provided a precision-manufactured machine that can capture and keep human thought through time."

In a nutshell :-)

The book by the way is filled with examples of mechanical design solutions. Those precision-manufactured mechanical details that typewriters are full of...

Friday, September 30, 2016

Art and Pleasure

Become member of the society "Art and Pleasure". 

Was playing some records from a stack of early thirties' records and came across this advert on a record sleeve.

Not a bad offer for getting continued variety in records, though still significant money. This record-club was run by the record and gramophone shop of Kiekens in Harlem, then located on number 24 Breestraat (Broadway). Probably long defunct (as will be the society "Art and Pleasure").

(Broadway in old Harlem is actually anything but broad - rather a narrow street by today's standards :)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Corona Four serial number H311516

The carrying case was cleaned earlier. The typewriter itself is now mostly clean also with the keys polished and the ribbon-spool-covers newly painted.

This is a British machine with the there common wondrous wealth of fractions on the keyboard. Mention of the Corona Typewriter Company address in London at Aldwych House, WC2. Patents still pending according to the label.

All this makes it likely it is an English typewriter that was sold in Britain, typewriters for the Dutch market would have had a 'Dutch' international keyboard. That it's British is a bit unusual, as the original owner was said by the seller to be Dutch. Then again not impossible for him to have been in England in the twenties. Though it was suggested by the seller he'd kept this machine with him during his imprisonment, that strikes me as unlikely.


Back to the typewriter: Some detail views of the carriage. It is very similar to the Corona 3 carriage - not very 'tight' in its rails, but light-running and comfortable in use.

The serial number in the machine frame H311516. From the information in The Database, the machine was made sometime in the summer of 1925.

As per standard Corona practice, the serial number is also scratched by hand in the carriage.

The typeface with the opportunity to keep an account precise to eighths of a penny.

The rubber of the machine still needs seeing to - it is rock solid and makes for a very loud machine. Other than that it is fully functional and ready for use!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Thrift 12

Don't browse the large local thrift store all that often. Was dropping off some items, so did a walk around the store. This time there even was a typewriter, a proper typewriter too. In decent shape with very little rust and its feet up on the paper table.

Made 90-odd years ago in Ilion across the Atlantic, now sitting in a thrift shop in the North of The Netherlands. Keyboard layout fairly standard for a Dutch machine.

Did not get it, did not even enquire what the asking price would be.  Restraint.

What I did get was a small stack of these. Also heavy, but much less volume to store :)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Dark red and dark green

Discovering that this Meccano was fun, had a go at finding an older outfit. This then started with finding an Outfit 1 that was not very complete, but the parts were in decent shape. No box (of course), but it did come with the book.

This set was sold in Batavia in the Dutch East Indies (and played with) in the early thirties and then brought to Holland as the family moved back.

With luck then remnants of another number 1 set of the same period popped up online - combined these make almost complete the parts for making all the models up to the Outfit 1. The remaining few missing bits and a set of new brass nuts and bolts were sourced from a specialist vendor of spares. He was very helpful in finding the spanners and parts all of the correct vintage for this set. Net result is a pretty complete set for the dark red and green (DRG) period of Meccano.

To keep the parts, a new box was made by converting an existing cardboard box. Adding cardboard dividers and covering it with liner paper, it does the job of keeping the parts and looks the part. For the finishing touch, a (fake) label was designed that vaguely resembles an Accessory Outfit label of the period.

There is of course some rust and wear on the parts but still very usable. Rusty nickel parts were cleaned and aluminium used to even out the spots to grey.

The paint on the parts is more fragile than expected. Meccano called this enamel, but it is definitely not glass-like. Also it's not on the level of cellulose-lacquer as used on most typewriters of that period. Even soapy water may attack the paint and weaken it. Washing them, some of the added parts' paint was unfortunately lightly damaged. This shows as lighter spots or streaks - the top green strip in the picture and e.g. a horizontal green brace (part 48a). Learned to be even more careful...

Also from the instruction book, model 1.60 called a 'Swivelling Crane' in the English version of the instruction book. It's on page 52.

Different style parts when compared to the fifties' set, different style of models as well. Again fun to explore, and learned more about how fragile paint can be...

Friday, September 2, 2016

Caught in the net

Have been fishing in the online places for a bit. When buying a couple of job lots, some unexpected, different species show up in the net. Not what the lot was being hauled in for, but these do give a nice puzzle to figure out what they are. From online references and from the context that they're found in, most of these could be determined.

A set of lower wings with a full set of struts and even bolts. Not sure the nuts are original, but the bolts look the right type. This would be part of a French made 'Aeroplane Constructor' set by Meccano.

The thin, green corner gusset or architrave on the right is a 'Primus Engineering' part. Same half-inch hole spacing. These were steel and wood construction sets, made from 1913 to 1926. Given that they went out of business in '26, these gussets are surprisingly common in British lots. The nickel part on the left is much thicker and of the Meccano pattern, but not stamped with Meccano anywhere. It may be an early part, not yet stamped, or it might be from another manufacturer.

The red disk on the right has a half-inch hole spacing, with Meccano-sized holes. Most likely this actually is a Meccano part, from their short-lived X-series. Then this would be a part number X475. The disk to the left with differently sized holes is not yet identified (Primus?).

Very common in North America, less so in Europe. A jumble of A.C. Gilbert Erector parts. From the design of the parts, the closed disk wheels and the 'trunnion' bearing, these parts are late twenties through mid thirties. The seller of the job lot this came from knew that relatives from the US would visit during the 30-ies. Quite possible brought over as a gift then.

Very common. A small selection of Trix parts. These are mostly late thirties to late forties bits-n-bobs. The Trix sets were comparatively cheap - not compatible in hole spacing, but a few bits seem to be mixed up with most lots.

These long, strong strips are not marked and are in design identical to the Meccano design. The pale green color suggests these could well be Märklin parts, likely from the thirties. Almost Meccano then, as Märklin ended up owning the German operation of Meccano after the first world war.

Tinplate train wheels. Odd that, not usable anywhere, really. The small diameter are most likely from a thirties O-gauge tinplate train (Hornby?).

These unintended catches probably very clearly show what it is I've been fishing for :-)

Now to see how to dispose properly of these... Probably the online marketplace again, though if anybody's interested do say so.