Sunday, July 27, 2014

My First Repair Project and Lucky 7's

Greetings from Dallas!

I'm here spending a full week with my beautiful fiance and her parents. Never been to the Lone Star State before. Got burned on my first day out, despite using sun screen, twice. Lesson learned. Of course I've been antiquing whilst down here, but first, I want to talk about fixing a typewriter I bought in Jefferson City.

My Japanese-imported Signet is a great little machine, but the feet had decayed years ago and so had the rubber which held the ribbon spool cover on the frame.

Last week when I got home, I noticed that a few more keys on my Sears Tower were sticking again. I've used a lot of alcohol on this thing since I bought it four months ago, and I was beginning to think I should try some lubricant instead.

The tools: one bottle of oil, one long cue tip.

I took some Miltec, which is marketed as a dry penetrating lubricant. When this is applied to a firearm, it bonds with the metal and doesn't need reapplying until several thousand rounds later. I used an extra long cue-tip (courtesy of my parents, who have lots of nursing supplies around the house). I applied a tiny amount in the segment, on top, bottom and the sides of each type bar.

So far, it seems to have solved the problem. We'll see how long it lasts.

Meanwhile, I still had the Signet to contend with. It's a great laptop typer, but...

The problem: no feet.
People usually don't care what kind of epic story you're
writing if it scratches their furniture in the process.

First thing's first. Completely stripped and cleaned.
Found a bobby pin at the bottom...

Some of this. 
Four of these rubber grommets.

Glue grommet to washer. The screw will pinch the washer against the frame,
preventing it from falling out even if the grommet breaks off.


Another grommet with a tiny insert glued inside.

Fits perfectly onto the frame.

It works. The machine has new feet and the ribbon spool cover isn't going anywhere.

I'm quite proud of myself for fixing this little typer (and grateful to Dad for helping me). It was a weekend well-spent, and after that it was off to Dallas!

My beautiful and insightful fiance and I have waited so long to visit with one another. We hadn't been together since before my internship. I've never been to Texas before, but I figured I'd never have a better reason to go!

I flew in on Tuesday and we went on our first antiquing trip on Thursday. The High Street antique mall was interesting; it has its own tea room/cafe! The following pictures are a combination from our trips to High Street and Curiosities.

The Croque Monsieur sandwich, courtesy of The Chocolate Angel inside the store.
Toasted sourdough, bacon, ham, cheese, apple butter. 

I guess the kid wasn't such a prodigy after all...

A lineman's test phone. Never seen one before.

That's not a radio...

First wild sighting. A Royal Heritage. $65
In great working order, just seemed a little plain.

Interesting white tail mount. Tag said it was rare, hence $300.
Not sure what's so special about it.

Dallas has a population of over a million people. Hence, there are more shops than we could possibly visit in detail. Each place had at least one booth with an African safari theme, and multiple copies of James A. Michener's Texas. No surprise. They had things for the high-end collector or the regular enthusiast. Every place had more than one typewriter, but sadly, few that worked.

"Burroughs" typewriter with long carriage. A mystery machine.

Wicked! Vile! Filthy! Liar!
A typewriter case with no typewriter! $15

Royal KMM. $120.
Broken draw string. None of the keys move the carriage.

Royal Royalite. "C" key broken in an odd way; depressed but still moves the
type bar if you press all the way. Would be a great piece if it functioned correctly. $30


Corona 3. $195. Same problems as the KMM.

Interesting children's book series. They just don't publish titles like they used to.
Seriously, "Stories of Wonder and Magic" is a great way to interest kids in reading.
I may have been more inclined to read if I was given these instead of The Scarlet Letter.

Underwood Champion with built-in table and carry case. $200.
First time I've ever seen a wild typewriter with test phrases printed on paper.
Needs lots of alcohol and probably lube, but seems ok otherwise.

Unknown typer, probably another Underwood. $50.

A 1920s Royal portable in GREEN. One of the rarest I've ever seen in person.
If money was no object, I would have plopped down $300 bucks for it.
Somebody, anybody, PLEASE save this one!

Nothing had really caught my fancy that was affordable, but then, hiding under a table...

Wait, what's this?


Isn't it just beautiful? I found this gem in the same booth as the empty typewriter case. I noticed it at the last second; a glimpse of the corner and the carry handle. Courtney said she wished she had videotaped my reaction, because I was like a kid on Christmas.

I've been collecting for a year next Wednesday. I've been to a lot of antique stores, seen a lot of typers. I have never ever seen one that was this good. Jones Typewriter Company has two DeLuxe's for sale and they're both priced at $125 (they've been professionally serviced, of course).

This one cost me $75, including tax.

The paper was bent, hence the weird flow of text.
Should have put it down on a flat surface before scanning with my phone.

Perfect glass tombstone keys.
Even the label on the back is pristine!

Insert dumb Wizard of Oz joke.

Pardon me while I clean up this drool.

The love of my life using a manual typewriter for the first time.
I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed sharing this passion with her.
She writes the most beautiful hand-written notes, but it'll be just as neat to get a typed letter from her!

Is the color original or restored? The anodized matte finish is characteristic of post WWII production. The user's manual from 1948 seems to be the same machine. Perhaps it came from the factory like that? In either case, it doesn't really matter, because it looks good and feel great under my fingers. There might be a few escapement issues, and the platen makes a squeak whenever you turn it clockwise. Very minor issues that don't detract from its use. If it becomes worse, I'm sure Texas of all places has a few repairmen left.

I haven't found appropriate names for my other machines. But me and my sweetie are thinking of calling this one "Vincent," since it reminded us of dark things, like the painting "Starry Starry Night."

We went antiquing again on Friday, though nothing matched our previous luck. Even so, we found some interesting pieces.

K-Mart electric. Price unknown. Buried under lots of stuff. It was hard to take this photo.

Remington standard, unknown model. Broken draw string.

Old Underwood. Lots o rust.

Portugease-made Royal Safari. In good working order. $62

Remington Standard No. 10. Also lots o rust. Missing a foot. $70-ish

What I think is a Remington KMC (has a KMC button).
Needs cleaning, but nothing seems broken. $70

Royal KHM with a grey paint job and blue plastic replacement keys.
Good working order, if you don't care about its looks. $70

Really nice Olympia standard. $100

Nice Olympia DeLuxe in a wooden case that fell open and mashed my finger.
Only problem is that the bell didn't work. $70

My trip to the Lone Star State isn't over yet, but we probably won't be doing any more antiquing. We've already got a bag full of memories. While at a local book store, I managed to snag a copy of Stephen King's On Writing, which I'd been after for some time. So, I gave Courtney my copy of Misery. We'll see if she turns into a fan.

Been getting good reviews for my flash pieces on Zoetrope. Hopefully an editor somewhere will agree with the forum and publish one, or all.

Power to the pen, and punch the key's for Pete's sake!


  1. Thanks for sharing the safari. The "unknown typer" is a Remington 17, I think -- or the remnants of one.