Friday, November 7, 2014

The Skyriter's the Limit...and I Ain't Off the Ground Yet

Saturday post! I'm going to be traveling Sunday, so I'm putting this up a day early for your enjoyment.

First, a cool video.

I don't know who these guys are, but they touched upon so many things in a short film without a word of dialogue. The comparison between typewriter and piano is beautifully done. I also appreciated how they hint at women's role in the office post-World War II. The typewriter gave them a skill by which they could claim a little independence, but they were dreaming of bigger things.

New business.

The only thing that I plan to replace.

This sealed the deal. I love dealership stickers!

It's because I didn't use a color photograph...

After visiting the doctor on Friday, Mother and I went to The Shed to spend some quality time. Saw a few pieces.

Studio 45 in perfect working order. $10

Remington Quiet Riter. Carriage is stuck for some reason. $9

Post-war QDL with a dealership sticker from Paducah! But no way was I gonna drop $100...

Against my intentions (and maybe my better judgement too) I came home with a 1961 Skyriter made in England.

For $7.95, I couldn't resist. I was thinking, "Hmm, fix it and flip it!" The only problems that I could see was a latch-less zipper on the case and a disconnected margin bar. Because of this, the bell didn't work properly.

So, with an online guide, I set to work.

Here's a list of what's wrong with it now:

- Space bar won't advance carriage
- Keys don't advance carriage
- Backspace kaput
- Shift kaput
- Type slugs do not make contact with platen because carriage is not properly seated
- Everything...

Ok, I did get the margin bar installed and the bell works. I was so proud of myself.

What I did not realize was how many things came undone while I was taking the frame off and removing the carriage.

Margin release bar screw.

Backspace screw. It is now stuck in place; won't screw in or out.
Not sure how I'm gonna fix this...

Left pivot screw, which you have to remove to remove carriage from the frame.

Right pivot screw.

Carriage after I "repaired" it.
In retrospect, I think I could have simply screwed the margin bar back onto the carriage without removing anything else. Since there are no specialized guides online, I just followed the first one I found.

So, after three hours and $7.95, I am now the proud owner of a 1961 Skyriter in pieces under my bed.

What I thought would be an easy first-time repair job turned into a disaster. The only silver lining at this  point is that nothing is truly broken, so I won't have to order parts. I'll just have to take the whole thing apart and try again.

A British typewriter that's in dire straights? I know the perfect name.


Help me...


The screw in question finally came out after much prying. The threads are stripped, so it'll have to be replaced. Hopefully, that's the only part I'll have to get.


  1. Worth the effort for that price I say!

    1. I think so too, but I'll be dipped if I can figure out how to get that one screw removed. I've been unable to find any thorough information to reassembling this thing online.

  2. You have got some smokin' deals in your shops. That Studio 44 and Remington QR would have gone home with me at those prices. The Skyriter was a no-brainer too, I hope you can get it together again. (:

    1. The Studio 45 was there the last time I visited many months ago. I considered the QR as a repair project, but the Skyriter was smaller and I've never seen one in person until now.

      I really hope I can get it back together too...

  3. Typewriters are falling from heaven in Paducah!

    Even if you can't fix that Skyriter, it's a great source of parts, well worth $7.95.

    1. I've been to The Shed on days when you can't find a single one. It's such a huge outlet that your chances of finding a machine are better than at the small shops downtown.

      I won't give up on Skyfall!

  4. (Not sure if Blogger is being friendly with my WordPress account, but this is Bae here from "Of Type and Ink".)

    Okay... I'm not sure if this will help, but this is what I could come up with with the pictures posted on this post.

    The reconnections that were undone should be redone in that order (meaning if you undid 1 5 4 2 3 you would redo as 3 2 4 5 1). The carriage has auxiliary connections and primary connections, the latter of which are to be /undone/ last. Thus, these should be redone first as they stabilize the entire mechanism. The primary connections are the pivot screws, the tucked away screw under the carriage and the screw that was through that little hole.

    /Before/ you do anything with those screws, try to get the backspace hook at least generally close to alignment and hooked back in. Springs should be reattached as you go as well. The springs add tension so only reattach when you think you do not need to work in that area again.

    Do the pivot screws first /after/ making sure that the little bits attached to the carriage are in the right spots. (I lost count how many times I had to undo the pivot screws due to this.) These pivot screws can be adjusted later so do not worry about accuracy at this point: just get it close to where it was before. Once the pivot screws are in, then go for the screw under the carriage /or/ the screw through the hole on the side. (I believe I did the screw under the carriage first then the screw on the side.)

    Once the primary (stabilizing) connections are made, the auxiliary connections should fall right into place. Do that annoying backspace key first. Since it is under spring tension, this can be a bit of a chore, but once it is done, it's done. Make sure it works before moving on.

    With the backspace key done, do the margin release next with just rehooking it back in the slot at the back of the carriage then screwing it into place onto the frame -- don't forget its pillar. That should complete the reconstruction. Any fine tuning can be done at this point. :-)

    Hopefully this helped at least a little. If not, take more pictures of what is attached to the frame and to the carriage then post them up and I'll see what I can figure out. :-)

    1. Thank you very much for these detailed instructions! I'll be sure to post the results, whenever I get it done. Any idea what I can do about the screw I stripped?

    2. Absolutely! :-)

      As for the screw, my partner recommends checking out Lowe's or Home Depot, but knowing the nature of that screw, the chances of finding it there aren't very likely. (I would try it anyway...) You could possibly find one then shorten it if you've got the equipment -- snippers won't work because it'll leave a nasty point and possibly destroy the threads.

      Other routes include special ordering or going to, ugh, a key chopper. The special ordering will probably have a minimum order of a dozen or so, maybe half a dozen -- I've yet to find one that will ship just 1 screw. Key choppers are of abundance on eBay and its ilk. However, with them, again they aren't going to just do one screw, but a bulk of miscellany ranging from rods to screws to springs.

      Heck, even buying another one (if you can get it cheap like this one) would be a good route since you can grab that one screw then sell out the rest of the parts on eBay. Or, keep those parts and fix up others for flipping. :-)

      Hope that helps and can't wait to see the results. If you've got more questions, feel free to contact me again. :-)

    3. I'll see if I can find a place that sells them...but where could I go to place a special order? I don't mind buying a dozen at a time.

      I'll keep my eyes peeled for another Skyriter, but this is the first time I've seen one in person.

    4. In regards to specialist typewriter screws, I haven't a clue. You can search for typewriter repair shops and maybe they can sell you a few directly...

      Alright... so I just took mine out and here are the dimensions for future reference. All measurements are Imperial (inches).

      Head (Diam.): 0.2510
      Threads (Diam.): 0.1250 (size 5-40 or 5-44 depending on pitch diameter and minor diameter)
      - Total: 0.2000
      - Threads: ~0.0855
      - Unthreaded: ~0.0605

      That total length can be rounded, effectively, either up or down... the choice is yours. If you go down, the nearest practical is 3/16". If you go up, you'll be at 1/4". The former gives a difference of 0.0125" while the latter gives a difference of 0.05". Obviously the 3/16" is closer to what you need, but it is also /shorter/. I'll leave that choice up to you, haha!

      The site Fastenal does has #5-40 screws at 3/16" in length. The ones with a "Binding Head" are probably closest to what the screw in question are...

      That's the result I found. It doesn't have a smooth section like the actual screw, but it /might/ work.

      Hope that helps or leads you in the right direction! :-)

  5. If you decide to throw the towel in on your skyriter, please let me know. I got my 9yo daughter one for Christmas & need to replace the carriage return lever (it's missing). I'm having a hell of a time finding another one.