Sunday, April 26, 2015

Another Fixer-Upper and Some Old Books

How does all of this crap get under the machine?

The only thing I couldn't figure out was the serial number: AE3 630,527. 

Yes, you read that right. The Typewriter Database doesn't have anything for the QDL with that prefix. What I do know is that it's a post-war machine (which is pretty obvious). Again, I'd appreciate your help with pinning down the exact year, if it's possible.

Not entirely sure if this QDL will be a keeper, but I did enjoying getting it back to working order. One more machine salvaged! 

Meanwhile, the library continues to grow at a steady pace. 

All of these books are first editions except Herzog.

September, September is a great novel, one that I'll write a full review for later this week.

That's all for now. Power to the pen!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Underwood No. 4: Wedding Present/Project

The Royal Litton 470 isn't my only repair project, just the one that needs the most work. Before I came back to Missouri with my new bride, a friend surprised me with a belated wedding present.

One more state to add to my sticker collection!

This serial number means it's a 1926 machine, the oldest typer of the bunch!

As you can see, it's not in horrible shape. I've seen worse. Much much worse. The keys move freely. The backspace key advances the carriage. The ribbon spools and vibrator seem to work. Some rubber parts will have to be replaced and there's plenty of rust to remove (as always). Draw band snapped. Bell not always ringing.

You know, the usual stuff that goes wrong. Still, it's great that most of the labels survived, especially on the paper tray.

It'll be making a trip to Vern's shop sometime in the near future. I'll try to swing it on one of my off days so I can see how the team works. Maybe they'll even let me help. Best way to learn is under the supervision of someone who knows what the heck they're doing.

Sorry for the late post. Just got over a bout of seasonal allergies and a nasty virus.

Power to the pen.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Name Change In Effect

Here it comes!

Those of who who search for won't find it anymore.

It's now

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Royal Litton 470: A Major Challenge

A few quick updates:

- The Touchmaster Five now works perfectly. Vern at Jones' Typewriter had to re-soder the type slug back onto the type bar at the correct angle. 
- The Remington Fleetwing is working perfectly. A bearing in the right platen knob was the cause of the problem.
- My Lettera 32 is cleaned up and the ribbon now reverses perfectly.

So, let's talk about something far from perfect.

The honeymoon post is forthcoming, but for now, we're going out of order. There's a great antique place in Paducah called "Anything Goes." I got my Royal FP there for $5. While visiting the folks on our way to the new home in Missouri, I stopped by and noticed a familiar sight.

This $5 Royal-Litton 470 had been sitting outside for who knows how long.
I'd seen it on most of my trips there, but never paid much attention.
You'll see why...


Just about every vital metal component is frozen (and I do mean frozen) with rust. Platen's in good shape thought. Can't explain it. For $5, it seemed like a good repair project. Unfortunately, I may have underestimated the nature of decay. Not sure if there are any broken springs or other parts that would render it non-functional.

I haven't done anything major to it yet (except clean the bail bar with penetrating oil; took the rust right off; yay me). If anyone has any recommendations, I'd love to hear them.

The Royal 470 is a typewriter you don't see or hear much of. Even with the Typosphere, I've yet to see anyone write about them. There's only one for sale on eBay that I'm aware of. The Royal 440 is a much better-known machine. For a detailed history of the company and how it merged several well known brands together, read this piece by Oz.

The way it stands straight up (compared to the earlier FP and HH models) reminds me of the M3 Stuart Tank, with its goose-neck turret.

I'd like to get this into working order, but have no clue where to even begin. This is going to be a long-term effort.

Don't forget about the name change this Saturday.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Name Change Coming

This blog will be known as "Guts of Imagination" as of Saturday, April 18. You will probably have to find me again on Google, since the "Oblivion Sphere" address will no longer redirect. Please update your RSS feeds and reading lists accordingly when it happens.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Little Lettera, Let Her Mind Wander

First order of business. Crispy M&Ms are back!!! That's worthy of national headlines.

Second order. Blogger be crazy. Every time I navigate away from my own page, it logs me out. This means I cannot comment on anything, whether it be other blogs or comments left here. So, if you leave a comment, please enable your email so I can reply! Having a devil of a time figuring out what the problem is.

Ok, CRISPY M&Ms!!!

The platen is in remarkably good shape!

It even came with the owner's manual!

But I dare not remove that tape. It's libel to rip the text off the page.

I had planned to snag one of these beauties from So many interesting things appear on that website! Alas, no Lettera 32s have appeared for quite some time.

But, a few days ago, I saw this one for sale on Craigslist and just had to snatch it up! As stated above, the machine has been idle for decades. Nothing is broken or malfunctioning (though I replaced the left-hand plastic spool with my Olivetti 21's defunct metal one; couldn't figure out how to thread the plastic thing).

The problem is that, as stated above, there's oil residue everywhere. It's on the keyboard. The frame. The guts of the machine. I know it needs some alcohol, but I'm not sure how to access the inside, and I don't want to ruin the color. The ribbon vibrator is slow to move when I use the red color option. The backspace key is still a bit sluggish, but it's getting better with use.

Right now, the most annoying thing is the ribbon reverse. There's so much gunk that it won't engage when the eyelet passes through. I can use an ink pen to help it along and then resume typing, but I'd like to clean out whatever is in there. Tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.

And if you're interested in bidding on my Royal Signet, you can see the auction here.

I've zeroed in on a name for the blog, but I'd like to get your thoughts. How does "Guts of Imagination" sound?

Power to the pen.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Now I'm Playing With Power!

If anyone knows where I can find an owner's manual, I'd appreciate it.

The only visible damage is the chipped plastic line marker.

Can't tell if all of that white stuff is paint or White-Out. Works fine, regardless.

The "touch selector" doesn't seem to have much effect.

In all my collecting days, I've seen very few cases with the specific model printed on the exterior.

In the coming days, I'll throw up some posts about our trip to Charleston (including a shout out to a local author and a very special book store; I'll also include some great typing locations for you fortunate enough to live nearby!) and the new projects that I've got going. Hope this satisfies for now.

When I was testing the Electra, it acted strange. The carriage wouldn't lock, so it kept sliding to the right, even after being returned. It was as if the teeth had been ground down. I was worried I had found yet another broken machine (the shop where I reserved the 250 Mk II was closed, hence my excitement for finding this 210 for $22).

However, for some reason, it magically fixed itself after I played around with it for a few minutes. It hasn't misbehaved since, but I will be keeping a close eye on it. One reason I chose this over the 250 was the paper supports! I always like having paper supports on my typewriters. Just cuz.

As far as manual typewriters go, I'm thinking of swapping out or two of my machines for an Olivetti Lettera 22 or 32. I'd like a high-class ultra portable that I could take anywhere with minimal storage space needed. Plus, the weather is turning nice, so I'll be eager to venture outside every now and then.

One final note, I'm considering alternate names for this blog. "Oblivion Sphere" was originally intended as a multi-media blog about video games, TV, comics, and a bunch of other things. However, now I've narrowed my focus to vintage books, typewriters, and the craft of writing itself. The name doesn't seem appropriate. I'm going to browse the interwebz for ideas, looking for that one phrase that stands out above all. I'm also open to all suggestions from you guys.

Power to the pen!

Eh? Eh???