Friday, September 25, 2015

Ranger Elite

Normally not my cup of tea, but this looked clean in the listing and was really literally just round the corner. And the case still had the key.

This contained a Ranger typewriter, model Elite.

No markings on origin or manufacturer anywhere, two small holes but no type-plate on the backplate. Nevertheless it clearly is an Optima produced Elite based on the original '33 Olympia design. (Many thanks to Nick's great write-up on Optima's.) Spruced up with some olive drab crinkle paint to make it look '52. And as further modernization the control levers that were chrome on the pre-war Olympia are now blackened with bakelite knobs.

Likely branded as 'Ranger' to hide its Erfurt, Germany origins, as also described on Scott's item on 'Anglicised' Schreibmaschinen. Nevertheless the 'Elite' decal is the regular Optima type and includes the Optima company logo.

Taking the machine out of the case, putting in paper and it typed away very decently already. Dutch keyboard.

(Not used to typing with an actual 'ij' key, obviously.) Also typing was not helped by the ribbon having been threaded wrong through the vibrator. This wrong way round it snags on the type-guide at avery shifted character. (Thank you for the clear images that made me realize the cause of snagging.)

Some more light cleaning, righting the ribbon and it should be fine :)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Father of the typewriter and about efficiency

Browsing, came across an issue of the Remington Notes on the Internet Archive. In this number 7, volume 4 (1918) much is made of the Self Starter. Had only linked that with the Portables (#3, #5) really, not realized it was on their standards already then.

In this issue also an in-memoriam for the father of the typewriter, William K. Jenne. In the detailed article it is explained that he developed the inventors' model into a manufacturable machine and remained active in the Typewriter Works for 30 years until 1904.

From the article; 'It has become so indispensable to us that it is hard to realize that it has not always been.' and it remarks how recent an invention it was; 'Men today who are scarcely past middle life remember when it was an unknown and undreamed of.' (And now this century later, people of today scarcely remember that it was ubiquitous and indispensable...)

On the last two pages of the small booklet are efficiency tips. How to optimize every motion and not waste a single keystroke.

A section on the SelfStarter key explains that it really is useful when used backwards, to be pressed when returning the carriage. That starts to make sense for a correspondence machine. Also tab-stops work both ways of course, using the tabulator backwards can make sense.

Now who realized that? Not I. Like the article says: 'It is strange how many Remington typists, even today, have not yet learned this "backward setting".' Similarly it seems that the paper-guide of the Standard was a feature that sometimes not known to the user of the machine.

Another related item is a small paragraph that explains why the carriage return lever on a standard should always be on the right-hand side of the machine. (Wonder if the writer of that statement knew the team developing their new Portable machine...)

With thanks to the Archive (and the kind uploader of this scan!).

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Preparing for painting

With the spare parts in, a set of body-panels chosen and ready to be sanded down and have a coat of primer applied. Having seen several Remington Portable #2 machines (or parts thereof), there is quite some variation on details also on the 'number 2'. For example a late 1927 machine e.g. has no protective plate at the back and a summer 1927 does. A 1928 machine does not and a 1929 machine does again have this. Was this an optional extra? Did they get lost when the machine was taken off the base. The British assembled machine's plate also has an extra hole added, no idea yet what that is for. (But there probably was a reason.)

Even on rusted and worn parts the paint is still strong and very firmly fixed. A couple of different methods of paint-removal were used - that is, the not too unhealthy kinds. Some hot and soapy water was mentioned to soften some paints - this makes it all pleasantly warm and clean, but does not soften the paint. Ammonia is said to remove some paints - this paint is not one of those paints. The most obvious aid and actually successful is acetone. Confirmed then that this is nitro-cellulose lacquer. With some sanding to 'open up' the outer layer, acetone softens and dissolves the lacquer and makes sanding down easier. In the end didn't take the time to soak the parts for hours in acetone. That would've probably removed all the old lacquer, but mostly did sanding with emery paper of various grit sizes only using acetone to soften the hard to get to parts.

With the parts smooth with most of the old lacquer and pretty much all of the corrosion removed, a coat of metal primer was applied.

Now what colours to choose for the machine! This typewriter definitely is not going to be black, but will be a two-tone finish. The encyclopedic page on these machines shows the fancy schemes originally available from the factory. (With equally fancy names.) Not going to try to match one of those schemes exactly, but will want to come up with a new one in the same style. How would Algarve Green with Ivory look, or Porto White with Rooftop Red?


Friday, September 18, 2015

Very well packed, arrived all in bits

A short while ago a large box arrived, having made a purchase off of Ebay from the typewriters section. (Shipper DPD certainly does like barcodes.)

The inside of the box showed the extensive and very good buffering.

With all the individual bits also very well wrapped (thank you, Joe!).

This is a Remington Portable #2 typewriter, or rather; most of the bits of a Remington Portable taken off a machine that was really rusted solid to 'boat-anchor' status.  Parts will be used in the rebuilding of my Portuguese-keyboard Portable that is currently underway. One of that machine's bearing-cage sprockets was gone and the state of the case is probably beyond my repair abilities. To my surprise on Ebay I found a case was offered for sale. (Everything can be found on the internet, amazing.) Talking with the seller it turned out he had an old Portable that was beyond repair and was selling the salvageable bits-n-bobs. Spare parts then!

The carriage assembly does show a bit of the state the whole machine was in. From the serial number, this was a British assembled machine from 1929. Apart from the bodywork panels lots of screws and bits - including a carriage bearing cage and a case. These will be used with the 1927 machine and who knows what next project - these Remington Portable machines I find good for tinkering with :-)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Eraser on a leash

(Popular Science, October '26)

At first glance a neat idea. On second thought perhaps, let it go and it could wind itself around the mechanism in all sorts of interesting ways :-)

Also shows that the archetype of the disk typewriter-eraser goes back some time.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

More sleeve designs

Another set of 78rpm shellac record sleeves. As the earlier set of images, record labels sleeve designs from mid thirties to early forties. German labels, except for the British HMV sleeve, very business-like compared to e.g. the Electrola. Electrola was the German label of HMV, or rather of EMI by that time. The Electrola name was founded in '25 by The Gramophone Company after their German unit was seized during WW1. Because the German unit (Deutsche Grammophon) could not use its label outside of Germany, they created Polydor as their export name. Already then, complex arrangements of companies and labels.
(Click on images to magnify. Both sides same design if only one image.)