Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tool of 1001 Uses

Quite widely advertised at the time, the versatile hobby-tool of its day, the Handee.

Haven't sent for the catalog, but somebody did do so a while back and it somehow ended up on my bookshelf. This is what the little catalog booklet looks like.

It's got a copyright date of 1940 inside the front cover (and 1938 on the backpage, weird), the first couple of pages extoll the virtues and many uses of this handy Handee tool.

And on the top of page 9, it is found as a useful tool in servicing office equipment; in this case taking a Handee to a typewriter.

Taking a Handee (or a 'Dremel') to a typewriter was not my first thought when it comes to typewriter repair, but it will have its uses. A polishing disk should really make those typebars shine, hoping it isn't a grinding wheel he's using on the keys. The potential for disaster might be greater than the benefits from using such a type of powertool.

The rest (most) of the booklet is an extensive catalog listing of all the types of Handee tool and attachments that are available from the Chicago Wheel and Mfg. Co. of West Monroe Street including project books and a book of plans...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Columbia C B 16

Just a record. Lucky find :)

When playing it for the first time it stood out, sounded better than most. Having scouted about on the web a bit to find out more about who the Charleston Chasers were, that may make sense. The Charleston Chasers (these ones active during the late 1920-ies, not the UK orchestra of the same name that is active now) was the name of a studio band for Columbia. The band members list over time reads like a who's who of major American bandleaders of the thirties and forties.

Columbia catalogue number C B 16, from ~1929.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Creative re-use or mere vandalism?

Like the key-chopper for typewriters, there is the label-cutter for shellacs.

Now that I've been looking at 78 rpm shellac records for a while, I discovered that there are some products being offered for sale that have used an old record. I mean used as in used up; destroyed. Of course the record may have been already broken and unusable, but the 'product' feel of the coasters make me think they are using stacks of old records and cutting them up.

There were of course millions of shellac records made and there probably still are millions floating around. Then again, they're not being made anymore. They are part of the cultural documentation for the first half of the 20th century, even if the content of a particular record is currently not fashionable or in demand. (That Ariel Grand looks like an early twentieth century record. Or rather that's what it was...)

Are there so many records that it doesn't matter really?

Somehow it seems a bit 'off', to destroy an historic object for such an ephemeral and trivial use. Like key-chopping.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

En easy guide for operating the Remington Portable Typewriter

Part of the preparations for tackling the Remington Portable #2 with the fancy paintwork was seeking out a manual. When getting/restoring a typewriter, I do like to have it complete with a correct user manual.

Oddly, for such a popular and reasonably common machine there was little available online to be able to print out a good quality facsimile. Amazingly there was available for sale online a copy of the manual of the right period. A bit of an outlay (nearly as much as the machine itself), but as we're probably sticking to one machine per year just went ahead and got it.

In stark contrast to the current project machine itself, the instruction booklet is in fine condition. It is missing the page 13 where the user is requested to cut out the keyboard diagram, but it did come with another two loose card keyboard diagrams. The booklet suggests a printing date of 1927. The inserted keyboard diagram cards are from November 1929 and May 23rd 1931 respectively.

The booklet I've now scanned and cleaned up a bit and made as a PDF for easy reference and downloading. The actual booklet is 6" by 8 1/4" with a thin, greenish-grey card cover and the usual thin, smooth paper pages.

The easy guide for operating the Remington Portable Typewriter is available here in high resolution (~18MB) or in rather low resolution (~788kB). Also uploaded to the Internet Archive here.

(Please do download and keep a copy and/or put up another copy on the internet. Things vanish on this internet without a trace when least expected...)