Saturday, August 7, 2021

New bits and a platen for a Remington Portable

The state of the rubber on this Remington Portable typewriter was not great. The platen was hard and e.g. the feet were 'tired'.

Luckily, we have new printed feet in stock here. Also recently arrived is a newly covered platen, with a fresh layer of 'contirite'. To top it all off, there's a full set of rollers salvaged from a parted-out machine. A full set!

The feet were chiseled off with a screwdriver:

The new, 3D printed feet simply snap into place.

Similarly, swapping out the bail-rollers is simple - gently bend the sides of the bail to free the bail-rod, slide off the old and on the 'new' and snap the rod back into place.

Before moving on to exchanging the platen, a new ribbon was wound on the spools. The typewriter still has the 'top left' and 'top right' in their correct spots. It must however have been serviced, perhaps still in the 50ies. The spool-trays show signs of congealed, old oil (why?) and a missing screw (again, why?). Here again the treasure-tin with parts from the parted-out Remington Portable EV167240 comes to the rescue.

With the fresh, heavily inked ribbon a few lines were typed on the old platen.

Next the platen was replaced - unless the platen-knob screw is stuck in place this is a fairly simple matter. Undo the screw, take off the knob. Then push out the platen-rod towards the left and lift out the platen. The line-ratchet assembly is moved over to the new platen (three small screws) and then the new cylinder is placed in the machine.

Then some lines with the new cylinder - first time typing with brand-new rubber!

Actually the difference was not as marked as expected. It is still fairly loud, with a sharp impact sound. The print quality is very good - although even with the hard platen it was not too bad either. Testing the hardness with the very unscientific fingernail-method, the old platen did still have some 'bounce' (Sh90+?) and was not entirely hard. The new platen is supposed to be around Shore 82, it does register much more 'bounce' with the same fingernail-test. (Will have to consider getting a durometer...) May be that for an even quieter machine, an even softer platen might be possible.

In any case this new rubber should be much better for the type. Although (I think) it still is a fairly loud typewriter, it does now give excellent print quality and, well, it just 'feels better'.

Overall, getting new rubber for my vintage typewriters is definitely something to explore further - it does 'feel' nicer. It makes this typical, common 'garden variety' Remington Portable #2 typewriter an even nicer little writing machine :-)


  1. Hi, I am wondering where I can get new bail rollers for my '29 Portable, is there any modern equivalent that would fit, or perhaps a way to make some? I don't particularly want to buy a whole new typewriter for spare parts. I would really appreciate any help :)

    1. Hi Johannes, if the rubber on your bail rollers has perished, it's fairly easy to re-cover with heat-shrink tubing. Can be handy and cheapest to get a set (krimpkousenset). Cut off the old rubber (hot water to soften, if needed). Use a cpl of layers of heat-shrink to build up to the diameter, shrink with hair-dryer at hot-setting (or in oven, check for temp needed).

      Same for re-covering feed-rollers, re-use the original brass core and build-up with heat-shrink :-)
      These are great little machines, Good luck!