Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Halda Hobbles But the Lexikon 90 Keeps Going

Most of you know I bought this Halda after losing out on the chance to get one for dirt cheap. Little did I realize that this was a very particular portable.

Aside from their rarity, Halda Portables are notorious for their use of proprietary ribbon spools, which are just as difficult to find as the machine itself. That slot you see by the spool post? There's a piece of metal underneath the spool that's supposed to slide down and trip the reverse and the advance mechanism, which my finger is pointing to.

I thought it'd be easy to cut a paperclip to the right height and ghetto-rig the spools that way until I found the real deal. Unfortunately, it didn't work. The paperclips kept getting jammed and twisted (good thing I had a magnetic screwdriver near by), and the tape wouldn't hold up under the strain. 

So we're back to square one. Part of me wonders if this is why Hemingway preferred the QDL. 

Aside from the spool problem, I think the escapement needs a good cleaning, and something tells me the ribbon advance doesn't work properly anyway. Each time I tried to get the right spool to start winding, it would reverse after two spaces and resume winding on the left side. I've had this problem with my Lettera 32 and Woodstock 5. 

Next, I'm going to try trimming some plastic Royal standard spools down to the right diameter and see if the metal tabs on those will work...or buy some from a generous and kind collector somewhere out there.

Meanwhile, my Lexikon 90 keeps on trucking with some new typefaces. 

PS Kent and Tempo look SO much alike it's hard to see the difference.
They put serious money towards making these elements!

Too bad I don't write stuff using footnotes anymore.

....and that's really all I've done worth mentioning today.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Little Deville Came to My Door

My landlord has done pest control and vent replacements to know I collect typewriters, yet he never said anything. Guess being a landlord you get used to tenants and their stuff, no matter what it is. Courtney and I just got back from a fun but tiring trip to Texas to visit her folks over Christmas and I wasn't thinking about much else besides the frigid cold and getting back to writing. I picked her up outside and after some grocery shopping, you can imagine my surprise when I came up the stairs and found this waiting for me by the front door.

I've never owned or typed on one of these cartridge electrics (unless you count the Lexikon 90) but I see them everywhere. Like the others of their class, you can get carbon film or nylon fabric. Fortunately, mine came with fabric ribbons and everything on the machine works! Not only is the case included, but the last service receipt (1997; I was a wee lad), owner's booklet, packing brackets, and two extra ribbons.

According to Courtney (who talked to him after accepting the gift and then kept it a secret all day long) the machine used to belong to our neighbor next door. Sadly, this sweet old lady's health declined rapidly about a month ago and she no longer lives here. We were always on friendly terms, yet didn't see much of each other on account of radically different schedules. This extra bit of holiday cheer comes with a sobering reminder, and I'm glad I knew her for however brief a time.

Not sure what distinguished the Deville model from the countless Coronomatic machines. Maybe it's the single interchangeable slug?

"So it goes..."

- Kurt Vonnegut, who used a 2200