Sunday, March 3, 2019

Ultimately reviving the wrecked Portable, perhaps

It was always going to be a slow project, but with a nearly two-year hiatus it's a very slow project indeed.

Finally got around to re-assembling the Remington Portable 2 typewriter that was originally meant to be a parts-donor. (And now also got around to writing another entry on the blog - had half-decided to stop posting. After 5 years, enough machines to continue to type with and no more tinkering - or so I thought.)

Anyways - the machine when bought did not work at all - it was gummed solid with broken linkages, missing parts, and looked like this.

The following year it was given a very deep clean, down to the bare chassis. During the cleaning I made the mistake of leaving it in the fluid a bit too long and not drying quickly enough, and so unfortunately introduced more rust. Blackening of screws does give some corrosion-protection, but not much.

After cleaning away most of that new rust, linkages were fixed and the main assembly put together again. After all that hassle the key-lever for the '6' still refused to align. I must admit this combined with the now rusty black screws discouraged me somewhat and the whole project was shelved.

It was not binned, but sat in storage out of sight. This weekend it was taken out and finally the typewriter was put together again. The unruly key-lever was still annoyingly out of line, but with a length of new hemp cord attached to the carriage, the whole machine did type again. That was encouraging progress - so 'onward' :-)

The machine had received a replacement stop-block for the uppercase alignment out of the spares-box and the carriage stops were aligned. Started to place the uppercase neatly centred on the platen. Then tweaking the lowercase to match the uppercase.

With the top-cover off, the lifting tray was inspected more closely. Comparing with another Portable #2 confirmed that the lifting guides were 'off', looked to have been bent sideways and forward. This machine really must have been mistreated - broken linkages of course already indicated it had been handled 'inexpertly'.

With pliers some 'forming' of the guides and of the prongs on the tray itself, now the tray slides smoothly again. And it no longer fouls the repaired link of the '6' key! Everything sits flat again:

And pops up to type again too:

The left shift keys and the 'z' key still need to be re-mounted with proper lettering. The whole keyboard could benefit from a re-fit, though that would require some special tools ideally. The top row of keys show an odd wave, as if somebody tried to lift the machine by the keys (maybe somebody did just do that...).

Having gotten this far, will now have to see how to finish the machine. Depends a bit on how the keyboard comes out (the shifts have non-Remington keyrings, regrettably), it is going to be either a re-paint or kept in its current 'industrial' look.

Conclusion of it all is (again) that these Remington Portable #2 typewriters are very sturdy and resilient machines!

Still some typewriter-tinkering ahead :-)


  1. Looking forward to the finished project. Good work you’re doing.

  2. Congratulations on the fine work.

  3. You spend that long on a machine, gonna likely get attached to it :D

  4. Ah!, you've got something there - hm maybe too late, should've let this one go a while back.
    Am now starting to be curious too... :)