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.


  1. After the magic Robert worked on some of his restorations I'm sure you can find many tips on his blog.

    The typewriter looks like a perfect candidate for Evapo-Rust. A good soaking in kerosene will loosen thigs up too. Kerosene generally will not harm plastic, but it may remove the lettering on the keys. Richard Polt has several penetrating oils and such on his restoration page.

    1. Yes, he is amazing. I followed his Remington and SC restorations with this project in mind.

  2. Yep, Evapo-Rust. You can either invest in 5 gallons of the stuff, or spray it on repeatedly (labor-intensive but cheaper) and later flush it out.

    The mechanism looks familiar -- its pedigree goes back decades, I think.

  3. PS: I love books, but I've got to say that your new background is giving me vertigo!

    1. Sorry about that! I'll look around for some alternatives. No one sells Evapo-rust local. I'll shop online.