Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Remington Portable wreckage

Bought this as a parts machine - spares or repair. Given how robust these little Remington Portable #2 typewriters are, this one has some remarkable damages. Somebody must have really pounded those keys to break parts and twist the metal inside the machine. Some of the damage must have been done a while ago; the older attempts at repair suggest it was still worthwhile to make the effort.

The clamping spring of the '2' clevis is broken off, this was 'fixed' with some wire spring. (How do you have to type to break that clamping spring?) Oh, and then the key return spring needed to be mangled to be attached again:

The 'Z' key is a new, different key - not just a new keyring. (How do you have to type to break off an entire key?) Also both shift keys have different, later keyrings:

The intermediate lever for the 'T' key is all bent out of shape. Did manage to get the key lever attached again, but it's out of alignment. Will require taking apart further to get at the levers:

The regular keytops are giving up. One of the fractions keys (British...) is bulging in an odd way, as if the celluloid cover has been too hot and soft:

To round it all off; probably in an attempt to improve the machine it was doused in oil. This has turned to tar now. (With a surprising amount of cat hair and general dust thrown in for good measure.)

A rather derelict Remington Portable #2 mechanism.

Now then, to repair or not to repair...  :)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Adjusting the ribbon vibrator on a Corona 3

The folding Corona 3 typewriter has a ribbon color selector. That's the little switch just right of the left spool cup. On this particular machine, the 'black' setting did not lift the ribbon enough for a full character print. Didn't dare to mess with this compact mechanism back when I got it, so just set it to the 'red' setting and used that.

When asked to fix a stuck carriage (by my eldest, who's sort of taken ownership of this one), also had another look at this vibrator linkage. The gully that guides the roller that lifts the arm that pushes up the vibrator seemed fine. The roller is a bit worn, but not too bad. The gully itself is fairly rigid and in the shape it should be.

Then spotted that the switch end-positions are not given by the slot. Two 'flying' tabs at either side of the switch baseplate act as the stops. (The shape of the switch-part should have been a hint...) The spring-loaded switch is always pressed firmly against either stop. The shape of these 'flying tabs' is similar to other Corona adjustment features I've seen on Speedline machines, the shape suggests they are meant to be tweaked.

By carefully forming (that's bending, but you meant to do it) the tabs with pliers, the height of the ribbon vibrator for both positions can be adjusted. The left tab controls the 'black' position and the right tab the 'red'. Gently moving the left tab towards the switch increases the lifting height of the vibrator. After this adjustment, it again prints full characters in both settings.

Wondering; how ever did this come out of adjustment? Or did this particular typewriter never really work well on the 'black' setting?

More little mysteries to ponder :)   such as why the carriage seemed wedged stuck, but now loosely follows its guiderails again...

Friday, April 15, 2016

In the newsroom, moving pictures from the early forties

Well, '40 actually, in the comedy 'His Girl Friday'.

The newsroom mainly is the backdrop for lots of complications. Around the 75 minute mark the story gets written down. These days I'd hesitate to throw the carriage return the way she does...

Noiseless Standard? Would make sense, with dialogue needing to be heard as well.

This movie can be heard and seen now on The Archive:

(Oh, and indeed great hats ;-)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

In the newsroom, moving pictures from the early thirties

The hero of the Mystery Of The Wax Museum, a 1933 horror (?) movie, is an intrepid newspaper journalist. She investigates and uncovers the whole gruesome mystery of the wax museum. After the last-minute rescue of a damsel in distress, she writes up the story and get it to the editor.

As the camera enters the newsroom, it shows several modern Noiseless Standard machines in use.

Even though intended as a horror / thriller movie, to modern standards it is probably relatively tame. Released in 1933 and filmed in early technicolor.

The movie can be found online, main scenes of the newsroom around the 16 and 76 minute marks:

Friday, April 8, 2016

In the newsroom, moving pictures from the late twenties

The movie "Big News" is a crime drama set around newspaper reporters. Already the first 10 minutes or so of the movie has several views of the newsroom in action. In the scene below one of the lead characters is typing away at his machine (whilst making snide remarks to his colleague Vera just arriving in the office).

Also for the late twenties these look fairly venerable machines. (Remington 10?) But then, office equipment was expensive and these machines were built to last. This may also of course just be what the prop department came up with. The set would perhaps be made with the inventory from a newspaper office that modernized or shut down.

The movie "Big News" was released in 1929. In American terms a 'pre-code' movie. This one definitely is that; a drunken lush of a lead character discussing grounds for divorce. Such undermining of public morals would not be permitted after '34 or so. 

Even though the movie is dated and to modern cinema standards quite slow-moving, it is very modern in other ways. Frank dialogue and working wives with successful careers. Talking movies were still very new then with limited experience in recording. That probably partly accounts for relatively static scenes.

This movie survives only on a 16mm reduction print, resulting in the fairly poor image quality. The original would have had sharp, crisp images - it's a small miracle that actually even this 16mm print with sound survived at all.

The movie is in the public domain by now and can be watched online through the wonders of internet:

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Roasting pan

It should have fitted our oven. It didn't fit the oven. Most sneakily the handles made it just a little wider than the advertised 'standard' size. And that's how the typewriter cleaning process got upgraded with a deluxe 'cleaning pan'.

With a machine on the grille, the pan catches any dirt or liquids being used. Good thing to do another cleaning session on this machine - otherwise would not have spotted that the screw that holds the margin bar was working itself loose. It almost made it, such a small screw falling off 'd be unlikely to be found again. (It's small, right in centre of picture.)

Also an opportunity to give the insides another light cleaning. The mechanism of these Corona portable typewriters is really brilliant. These little wire linkages are what prevents any bounce-back of the typebars, a mechanical one-way function.

With the 'leaking tray' under the machine, all parts got a clean. These later, all-black Speedline mechanisms do look neat, impressive when viewing underneath the 'internals'.

Cleaned for passing it on...

(If curious, listing here - for as long as it's up of course...)