Sunday, June 28, 2015

I Snagged a Little Italian Stallion! (And nearly killed it too)

So, how did I nearly kill this thing?

The pad that the type bars rest on had come off, so I decided to apply Gorilla glue. Some of it got away and seeped into the segment where the links move the bars. The W, Z, and S keys were rendered useless in a matter of minutes. It took a lot of alcohol, penetrating oil, and patience to get them working again.

I haven't quite finished cleaning the surface. To be honest, as happy as I was to find this machine, I'm not too sure if I'll keep it. The touch is very stiff and springy (spongy, as so many have described?) Furthermore, the keyboard is nearly identical to my Lettera 32, minus a slight bit of roundness to the keys. It's nice though, as the 32 keyboard seems a little cramp at times.

If nothing else, it'll make the next episode of Front Stroke easier. I can do both machines at once!

I'll see what I think after I get Vern to fix the carriage. Not only does it sit unevenly past a certain point, the carriage lock doesn't work. I only wish the font was different. I've grown to like the 10 cpi of my Underwood 21 and Lettera 32.

Power to the pen!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Royal-Litton Sahara

I've got several of my machines up for grabs. Meanwhile, I've been earnestly resisting the urge to buy more, but Sunday I found a neat piece I simply couldn't pass up.

Courtney and I went to our local thrift store, and I thought I had all of the typewriters mapped out. Most of them are either too expensive or in some kind of mechanical disrepair, so I thought I wouldn't be tempted. Should have know otherwise...

Under the keyboard, bottom of the case. Yuck!

The machine was quite filthy when I got it. It took a lot of compressed air, brushing, and scrubbing to get most of the dust and gunk out. 

The plastic pegs standing upright hold the bottom of the case to the frame of the machine. Three of them broke, so I had to apply Gorilla Glue. 

Stripped and ready for cleaning.

Quite hilarious. I got an instruction manual for a machine I don't own. If anyone reading this has a Ten Forty and wants a manual, I'll be happy to oblige. 

All done! The two holes in the top of the ribbon cover is where the name plate used to be.

I like the keys a lot. Good size, right amount of indention.

The machine is very interesting. You can see the paper support is inspired from the Olympia line, while the ribbon vibrator is a direct rip from the Olivetti Lettera series. If you position the rollers on the bail bar just right, you can feed the paper through without lifting the bar at all! No bent corners!

It looks good, but regrettably, it doesn't type as good. Paper doesn't feed straight after a few swipes of the carriage return lever (must be a bad roller or something). The D key has a weak return spring. The space bar must be fully depressed, or the carriage won't advance. The shift key must also be fully depressed or the capital letters will fly above the line. Perhaps it was damaged, or it's just a fluke. 

Either way, I won't be winning any speed contests with this piece. It doesn't have a tabulator or touch control. It's much lighter than my Lettera 32, but as far as quality goes, it's no contest.

The only thing I wish is that my Lettera had a blasted paper guide!

This one is for sale, if anyone wants it.

Power to the pen!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

International Typewriter Day

The world looms large over the writer, and he has to cram it onto a tiny blank page.

Whether it fell on a nameless battlefield...

Or was embraced by a drunken man of the people...

It's been too long since my friend had a chance to speak. Still as good as the day I brought it home.
Ironically, Raleigh, NC is the birthplace of Andrew Johnson, one of the worst president's in our history.
Glad this isn't one of the worst typewriters in my collection!

Power to the pen.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Royal Litton 560 Typewriter

The Typewriter Database is a wonderful website, but it doesn't have every machine ever made. This set me off on a little research project to discover some things about my new electric typewriter.

For a while, I didn't even know what this thing was called. It resembles my junked 470 manual typewriter. I didn't find the identifying marks straight away, so Google Images takes the credit on this one.

This ad comes from The Deseret News in 1971. It's a pretty bad image of the machine.

This article is from an issue of Fortune magazine in 1979. It describes the 560 as a "modern, efficient electric that will handle just about every kind of office job. It's rugged. Quiet. Handsomely designed." It's definitely quiet. The article goes on to describe the Royal 565, the "clean hands typewriter" that used a "new carbon ribbon dual cartridge" which snapped in and out of the machine. From the way it's worded, I assume the ink ribbon stayed in place. I can't find a single image of the 565 model or this carbon ribbon cartridge.

The large slab in the front of the machine reminds me of some of the Hermes office models. But this Royal has no means of holding paper for the typist to copy documents. At any rate, I discovered the identifying marks after finding these articles.

The serial number is partially blocked by the escapement. 
The full digits are: 560-13-9428254

Or, you could just look at the neat label someone printed on the side and save you a lot of time and effort. However, the typewriter does not print in 10 point. It's too big. More like 12.

I haven't figure out what's wrong with the tabulator yet. Setting tab stops messes up the escapement and the carriage freezes when you hit the stop using the space bar. Sometimes it advances to that point automatically when hitting the return button. For now, I'm not using the tab system at all. I fixed the broken ? and + keys by simply jiggling the connecting bars underneath. Lucky me.

The 560 is an obscure addition, but an interesting one. I like the keyboard a lot more than the SCM Electra.

Power to the pen.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Olivetti "Restoration"

Found this video last night. While interesting, it was not what I had hoped for.

Go watch:

Several things I noticed.

- He bids on a Studio 45 but then removes the ribbon spool cover on a Lettera 22 which then becomes a Lettera 12.

- He doesn't use a sheet of paper to guard the platen while testing the keys.

- He doesn't really restore much of anything.

Props for good cinematography.

Don't forget to check out the machines I have for sale!

Power to the pen.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Few For Sale

Here are some machines I'm going to let go of. I wanted to give some fellow collectors the chance to own these before I put them up on eBay.

Don't like the prices? Send me an email and make an offer. I like to think of myself as reasonable.

1. SCM Galaxie 12 (with Techno Elite font): $25

2. 1950s Royal Quiet De Luxe (with carriage tension adjustment): $20

A few blemishes with this one. The paper tray will not snap into place and the U type bar does not return fully. Other than that, it's fit to type.

3. Royal-Litton electric: $35

No idea when it was made. Every key works except the tabulator. Makes a nice, deep humming sound like a washing machine.

4. SCM Electra 210: $20

5. Underwood Touchmaster 5: $30

This one's already on eBay, but I'll throw it up here regardless.

6. Royal Advertisement (circa 1950s): $10

I'd like to clear these out as soon as possible. First come, first serve.