Monday, December 12, 2022

December 2022 typewriter safari

On an afternoon, did a tour of the local thrift-stores - only looking. 

Despite much space being reserved for seasonal decoration materials, there were typewriters! With generations and what gets thrown out today, it is mostly the 1970s and 1980s machines with plastic bodies: first spotted, a flock of Olympia's.

On the other side of that same trestle/table there was a very rusty Remington 10 standard:

A much older machine; from the serial number this is a 1909 machine:

In the next thrift store, only electric typewriters. Portable, but not usable without a socket to plug it into. Not too long ago these were expensive and valued items, machines generally have the power-cord packed with the machine in the case. As does this Triumph Gabrielle, even with a dust cover.

This very modern-looking Triumph-Adler Gabrielle 9009 has been sitting near the entrance of this store for over a year. By now it's lost a spacebar, but still has its cord and cover.

In the third store visited, there was a typewriter on a dark bottom-shelf; a re-painted Scheidegger-branded 'Typomatic' machine. (Adler?)

A bit further in the 'games corner', one large and very plastic suitcase suggested 'typewriter':

Peeking inside, indeed it contained a writing machine. A very clean-looking Smith-Corona Coronet Super 12 electric portable typewriter. Not a small machine, this descendent of the tiny Corona 3. With a little cut-out in the top-cover showing off the Coronamatic cartridge. All for a mere 5 Euro asking price.

Net result; only looking. The Coronet was affordable and looked interesting to explore, but completely outside of my defined scope of pre-war machines. The 1909 Remington was really tempting. It however looked too daunting a project to dare attempt (and these are still fairly plentiful in much better condition). And also considering that a Remington 10 is not the most practical machine to take home by bike :-)

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Monroe Model L 160-X calculator - How to Operate

The little Monroe Model L calculator was in very nice shape both cosmetically and functionally. However, these 'X' or 'Executive' models were originally supplied with a travel-case and of course an instruction manual - now added :)

A while back another Model L could be bought online that was in pretty rough shape, but still had its travel-case. It even came with the original key and an original cloth dust-cover. Age-wise, the two machines were very similar (1946 and 1945), so the case was adopted by the 'good machine'.

To make it complete, also a reproduction manual was printed. Using various images online of the instruction leaflet, the full text could be reconstructed. The new leaflet is not an exact reproduction, but more a 're-creation'. The text and examples are correct, but e.g. the layout has small differences and it uses a modern typeface. Nevertheless it looks credible with the machine and will be able to instruct any future users on how to operate the calculator.

How to operate Monroe adding-calculator Model L:

In case you have a little Model L calculator and want to add a new instruction leaflet; print double-sided on ~100g A4 paper, cut and score for folding at the guides on the outer-page.

Friday, December 2, 2022

They come in sizes

Surprise find - the same basic model, but even smaller :-)

The smallest of the two is a mere 75mm (~3") in diameter - for the smallest of cacti.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Hammond - With ribbon and first work

Still much to adjust on the Hammond Multiplex, but the machine produced its first, tentative writing in probably decades:

To get there, the ribbon spools were made functional again. Both spools have one good side without damage and one side that was broken. The one spool with a large chunk missing, was given a functional-fix. From several layers of paperboard, a segment was built-up and cut to fit exactly the edge of the damage. When painted black and with the spool mounted with the fix on the bottom, it is not really noticeable (see above picture :-) and it makes the spool again take-up ribbon. (With a shard missing, the ribbon starts to just wind around the capstan underneath the spool...).

The old 10mm ribbon was re-inked with some water-based (glycerol) stamp-pad ink. Because the Hammond type is made of hard-rubber, did not quite dare to apply oil-based inks. The ribbon is clamped on the brass centre of the spools with a strong spring-steel clip.

The original ribbon may need to be replaced in the end - having been twisted and stretched as much as it has, it does not feed well over the ribbon stand-offs.

The first attempt at typing created completely illegible text. From closely watching the mechanism, it could be seen that the hammer was triggered just before the shuttle-vane had reached its stop-position against a pin. This created the type-impression when the shuttle was still racing to its position - 'motion blur'. The Hammond typewriter can of course be adjusted - from a scan of the instruction manual for a Hammond 2 the correct adjusting screw was identified - it is screw 12 in the drawing.

There are actually rather a lot of adjustments possible on a Hammond, so very glad this was explained in the manual. (Also by the way remarkable how similar the Hammond Multiplex still was/is to the original hammond of the 1880s.) On this Multiplex, the screw 12 was jammed solid, but applying 'over-size tools' managed to persuade the lock-nut to finally free up.

By adjusting this screw '12' up and down, the trip of the hammer can be made to be later or earlier during a key-press. With some trial and error, it was set at a point to trip the hammer just at the instant the shuttle-vane reaches its stop-pin. There is a sweet spot to aim for (as there so often is of course). 

The machine now starts to type - still much adjusting to be done, e.g. higher hammer-pressure versus draw-band tension, heights etc.

One other thing that was done to revive the Multiplex, was to give it newly manufactured rubber 'socks' and new felt soles. The 3D-printed socks are higher than they should be, probably made a reading-error of 5mm on height somewhere. Despite that, they fit and look acceptable. More importantly, the mechanism now again has the required clearance from the wooden baseplate to be able to function correctly.

Having gone this far in making the machine look nice, even the rusty mounting-screws were spruced-up. With rust sanded-off, blackened with permanent marker and a rub with petroleum jelly these screws are fit for this Hammond again. Continues to amaze (me at least) how well old, rusty parts can be brought back.

So, progress on the Multiplex - an amazing typewriter; still much to be adjusted, but looking very impressive already :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Unexpectedly new on the shelf

This was not expected. Hadn't thought there'd be any of these machines still floating about, especially in this area of the world - let alone on but a stone's throw away! Was alerted to it being on the national classifieds site, asked if this was an interesting item perhaps.

Even though it was painted black, the outline was recognisable - very similar to the early Erika's. This really was a Standard Folding Typewriter! A pioneering design that effectively started the Portable Typewriter as a product category. So despite it being black, missing a key and sundry other parts (e.g. line-feed lever?), contacted the seller and quickly agreed a price and picked it up :-)

A bit of a 'barn-find' - it actually was sold out of a barn by an estate-clearance/trader who'd picked it up from a local farm in Jubbega that had been 'full of stuff'. Ergo no idea about this typewriter's provenance or history. From the crackle-black paint it is probable it was refurbished thoroughly some time in the 1930's. From the wear on the black paint on the space-bar, it was genuinely used after that. However, from the several missing parts and general condition, it looks to have been then 'neglected' for many decades.

It nevertheless really is a Standard Folding Typewriter, a No. 2. The stamped lettering on the back-plate is difficult to read from the thick paint - the serial number is (probably) 8644.

It will first be on the shelf, while the currently active projects are enjoyed. When its turn comes for repair and restoration, will be a great look at how the Corona 3 (and little Erika) got started.

Never expected to ever be able to hold one of these original Folding machines - and here we now have one and it's a project too! :-)

Friday, September 30, 2022

Typewriter safari - mostly modern machines

A lunchtime stroll round the local thrift-store, several typewriters this time. 

This orange Olivetti tried hard to blend in on the orange-table. Despite the camouflage, the typewriter was spotted and pictured :-)

Next typewriter spotted was a large, black Olympia 8 standard. This would date from the late 1930s and had plenty of rust and a broken drawband (and likely more things out of order). Probably very decorative in an 'industrial decor', but otherwise only suitable as a source of spare parts (if you're fixing up an old Olympia).

The next item spotted was something unusual; a Kodascope Model E complete with its case. This 16mm film-projector would date from the late 1930s to early 40s. Still had its spool too and the top-cover probably was at the bottom of the case. A very neat looking item, but left there - already have so many black carrying cases ;-)

Also just sitting there, was a clean-looking blue Brother.

Nothing purchased during this lunch-time walk, although that Kodascope was tempting!

Not tempting at all were the Antares and Brother on a shelf in the next-door thrift-store... ;-)

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Hammond - Clean keyboard and support from nr. 90210

Looking much better and again safe to touch - no longer 'icky' and brown - well worth the effort :)

Additional to cleaning, two defects of the keyboard were remedied - with support from Hammond nr. 90210.

The first issue was the broken FIG key-top. The keys have a paper insert under a glass cover, however on the FIG key the glass cover was missing. Judging from the state of the paper label, the glass must have been shattered and lost decades ago.

The keys are a snap-fit on the key-levers, and the FIG could be pried off easily. When it is off, a key can be taken apart. The paper insert was then scanned and used as guide for creating a new key-top graphic. This was then printed in a range of yellow/beige base-colours (and with small variations in diameter, just in case).

Starting with the best-matching version, the new label was brought still closer to the surrounding keys by shading it with orange, brown and grey colouring pencils. Using thick paperboard 12 mm disks as filler and a new cover cut from clear-plastic sheet, the key was assembled again (with glue against rotation) and snapped back on the lever.

The second issue was a missing caps-lock lever.

By coincidence, just last week a 'parts' Hammond was offered for sale on the local classified site - incomplete and 'worn', but with a caps-lock lever! It turned out this machine was being sold on by a Dutch collector (and ETCetera editor) after he used some of its parts to fix another, older Hammond. After a few mails back-n-forth, the machine was bought, shipped and received. Caps-lock lever! (...with several hundred other parts attached...)

It really does look like a barn-find (or attic-find, probably). It's a Hammond 12 (or rather, the remains of one) and pre-dates my Multiplex restoration project probably by a decade. The machine's serial number 90210 still just about readable on the turret-frame.

Despite its state - and it is in a state - it does have a 'presence' and an aesthetic all of its own. An artwork on and of 'decay'. Main thing however; a caps-lock lever! A bit mangled and the mounting-screw firmly rusted in-place, but salvageable.

With oil and some (targeted) brute-force, the screw was forced out. The lever is a stamping from mild steel, so could be bent back into shape fairly easily without too much risk of cracks or breaking. With steel-wool, aluminium-rubbing to mask rust and then a polishing of the knob, the part could be made to look good enough again to blend in with the newly clean keyboard of the Multiplex.

One unexpected snag was that although the parts look the same and the caps-lock construction on a 12 and a Multiplex is identical, the locking-notch is off by a few mm! With some filing of the notch and of the slot in the keys locking-bar the caps-lock could be made to work (a bit).

The keyboard is held in-place with a bar that captures all the levers in their slots. This key-lever-locking-bar of a Hammond originally had a buffer for the key-levers to rest against. From the remains of this buffer, it probably was made from a length of shoestring glued in a recess - so that is exactly what was now glued in the recess again. A new, round lace was clamped to stretch it straight as the glue sets, then cut to size with sharp scalpel/scissors to recreate the key-lever buffer.

One more small fix that was made possible by the donor Hammond was the anvil lock-nut. This was missing on the Multiplex, now remedied with parts from the 12. (The nut and washer cleaned up surprisingly well!)


With the extra support from a parts and reference Hammond, the Multiplex is making good progress - well on its way to being a fully working typewriter again. (Of course, that may still take some time...  ...slow project :-)

Friday, September 16, 2022

Resulta BS-7

The three main components laid out. Removing four screws allows the cover-plate to be taken off, undoing the two nuts under the machine allows the baseplate to be taken off.

The main frame of the little adding machine is riveted together, so cannot easily be taken apart. Nevertheless, with the baseplate and cover off, much of the dust and dirt it has accumulated since January 1939 can be brushed away. The mechanism internally is dominated by the large wheels and segments used to enter a number, adding the number of digits to the totals-register as they are being pulled down.

The view from the bottom into the mechanism shows the long springs that pull the segments back to zero (left) and the input-check register can be seen (right) with the row of detent-levers that hold the number after setting. Pressing down the 'space-bar' at the front tilts these levers, releasing the segments to zip back to their zero position.

Assembled again and cleaned-up - it does like a little like a miniature cash-register. It is a bit similar; it is a little adding machine. The Resulta adding-machines were manufactured in Berlin from 1927 into the 1960s at least. All machines have a number scratched into the base, showing the month and year of manufacture (plus the letter or initials of the person doing the quality-check). This specimen has the code 139g - so checked in January 1939 by employee 'G'.

This specimen is not quite original, as somebody in the past tried to polish-up the aluminium cover, removing the beige-grey finish and dulling the black outlines. Nevertheless, even in shiny aluminium with the now light-grey outlines it still looks ok and after a bit of practice works fine.

Just like typewriters, the rubber feet have decayed and the machine settled down on the rim of the metal base. The simple fix was to 'sole' the feet. Fitting rings were punched from felt-sheet (the felt sold for putting under furniture, it is very tight and can handle mechanical load). A few drops of latex-rubber (textile glue) and spraying with Plasti-Dip gives these new soles a good grip - glued into place on the old, hard rubber feet.

Another thing is the stylus - that is often missing with these calculators. Browsing the internet gave information on what the original stylus probably looked like. The post-war calculators seem to have had a green, shaped, double-ended stylus - the 1930s specimens probably had a simpler, black stylus. From an old pencil and a suitable nail a credible reproduction stylus was crafted.

Cleaned and now with a stylus, the Resulta BS-7 calculator works fine. It is a basic adding machine, with subtraction too. It does have a feature for quick-repeat adding to do multiplication, but I would not characterise this as a four-species calculator.

In the picture above, 12.75 was entered and the input cleared. Then 7.95 was added; the 7.95 showing in the lower input check-register. The sum is shown in the top totals-register. The crank at the top-right clears the totals register again. The lever at the left shifts the machine into subtraction-mode. 

There is a lot of information and a very clear video explaining the machine's workings on this collector's site.

A fun little (and surprisingly heavy) addition to the small set of vintage calculating tools :-)

Friday, September 9, 2022

Looking it up in the catalogue (E.O. Richter compass sets)

Another thing of the information age - researching an item picked up from a thrift-store. In this case two small boxes with drawing tools, marked "E.O. Richter".

In the picture above they've already been cleaned and given a light waxing (following Harlow Wilcox's advice on conserving surfaces)

Something that would've been difficult even 30 years ago; in this digital age it's possible to look things up in the original documentation. Simply searching the name finds information about Mr Richter, the company and the products. On The Archive then, is found a catalogue of the E.O. Richter company with a date of June 1897. 

The two sets are listed :)

This is indeed the contents of the 00. P. set, albeit with mirrored layout (or did somebody flip the image in printing?):

The screwdriver was chipped, so a new tip was ground using the 'Moto-tool'. One pencil-tip holder was missing, here replaced with a modern equivalent - that actually fits; industry standards! Unscrewing the pen-shaft, it actually still contains the promised spare needles and the screwdriver still held a length of pencil-lead.

To also be able to draw very small circles; understandably then also a drop-bow compass.

This is also in the catalogue, set 8:

Still complete, even with the little ampoule for spare pencil-leads.

These two sets of drawing tools were probably also bought together when new - and judging from ink-remains on the ruling-pens the tools were used too. The design of the instruments and the set contents are as shown in the 1897 catalogue, but these boxes may well be a bit later - anywhere between 1900 and 1920. All parts polished up nicely (nickel-silver) and the instruments are still good and usable.

Unfortunately, somebody broke open the boxes with brute-force - must've never seen how these bar-lock boxes work. Instead of wiggling the draw-bar at the front-right corner, they put a screwdriver between the halves and did their best to destroy the boxes. On the small box, luckily the top-eyelet gave way so this only has scars of the screwdriver in the velvet lining. On the larger box however, they thoroughly destroyed the bar-lock. Bad.

Once the remnants of the draw-bar had been 'uncurled' and removed, an attempt was made to make it servicable again. A length of filed-down nail was soldered to the remains of the original brass bar.

Amazingly, this worked out well enough and the bar could be re-fitted to the box. Using strips of veneer the channel was built-up again and a thin pin fixed through the (now very short) slot in the bar to hold it. From this rather crude repair-job only limited travel now remains - but it does work again and the box locks and unlocks.

Nice finds - both for finding out a bot more about them and for giving a chance to tinker and fix something new :-)