Friday, May 5, 2023

He Dunks Typewriters in the Kitchen Sink

When a typewriter mechanism is very dirty, with congealed oil, dust, eraser crumbs and general dirt, I've resorted to dunking the whole mechanism in soapy warm water. Using a lot of washing-up liquid and thoroughly drying and oiling afterwards it works, but still felt a bit 'uneasy'. (Also taking care to not get the keys wet, water would get under the glass (or celluloid) and mar the card keytops.)

Stumbling on an article in the February 1957 issue of Popular Science magazine, this dunking in soapy water is actually recommended as a method used by professional repairmen too. With illustrations, using an Underwood portable that would've been ~30 year old by then.

The article:

On page 215 it does say that paper covered with glass should be kept out of the water, but the spraying with water still seems a risk to the paper keytops, would be hesitant about that. One other thing is that I've not yet dunked a machine in our kitchen sink. Have been using an old, large baking tray instead.

Other than that, the article pretty well describes the method. 

(Admission; I did place a machine in our kitchen oven at a low temperature setting to thoroughly dry it :-)

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