Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sold My First Story!!!

About an hour before I got off work, I checked me email. Lo and behold was a notification from Bards and Sages. They have selected my story "The Nimrod Lexicon" to appear in their Great Tomes anthology next March!

This is a dream I've been working towards for nearly ten years. I've collected who knows how many rejection slips for short stories and novels alike. I thought that I'd never break into any market. More people are trying to get published than ever before. I'm still in the middle of a huge novel and often second-guessed myself for taking breaks to write shorter pieces.

But this piece really stuck out as a good idea, and I liked the characters. With plenty of encouragement from my loving wife, I put the novel on hold until the story had been polished and sent off.

Needless to say, I didn't expect them to get back to me before the contest was over, and I really didn't expect to be included! It was as if time stood still.

And the typewriter responsible for this?

A typewriter with a good memory is now a typewriter that helped my dream come true.

Power to the pen!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lady Brett

I doubt I'll be using this to write lengthy documents any time soon. Even writing the blog post was challenge, but I'd rather save that discussion for the next Front Stroke ;)

On a side note, does anyone happen to have a case that would fit my Corona 3 or my Royal Arrow? I'm very interested in buying one.

 Power to the pen!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Special Gift

I walked into the office and saw this on my desk:

A friend of mine works for the newspaper here in town. We had chatted about typewriters in the past, but I didn't bring it up every time we met. Since he's a big Smith Corona fan, I didn't even know he had this Royal.

No note, no message. I just came to work and got a free typewriter.

Upon closer inspection, it looks like the glass is dirty, not scratched as I had previously feared. Shouldn't take much.

A few spots on the exterior of the body will need work, but I've never done that before. Would water do the job? Other things, like the ruler, are beyond my skill.

A few rusty spots are on the bottom that will disappear once I get my PB Blaster on it. The feet, sadly, are beyond saving and will have to be replaced.

The font is a bit larger than my Royal Deluxe, but still the same crisp Pica I love so much.

You just can't beat a 1940s Royal. I don't even care about the lack of tabulator, right Magic Margin, paper guide, and chrome trim. The fact that it's an economy model makes it all the more interesting.

I've never been given a machine of any kind (except from the folks on my birthday). This one's a keeper, no matter how banged up it is. I'll be sure to upload post-cleaning pics.

Power to the pen!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Top Five "Best" Typewriters

The internet is a dangerous place...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How to Assemble a Typewriter Cleaning Kit

It's midnight. Your phone goes off and your heart stops. It's a friend who told you there might be an old typewriter in their basement, some holdover from grandpa's estate sale. He says, "I found the typewriter, but it's filthy! It probably doesn't work anymore." You ask for pictures and your heart stops again. Mildew. White-Out. Dust. Rust. Cobwebs with a "vacancy" sign lit up!

What's a guy to do???

Fear not! I'm about to show you how to assemble your very own typewriter cleaning kit! With this little box of goodies, you'll be prepared for any crisis that confronts your collection.

There's a new store in downtown Ste. Genevieve called Zeilinski's. It's not a thrift joint, but it's not an antique store either. Anyway, I took three of my typewriters down there to sell and they were happy to have the business. One item that caught my eye was a tiny attache case that Courtney picked up for the sum total of $3.

I've seen cases of similar size and width, but never with the folder on the inside. The mini calendar says 1923. Not sure if that's accurate, but I like to think it is. In theory, this case might also serve as a transport for my Corona 3, but I've already got plans on how to make that happen. A box like this is a good choice, since it clamps shut.

The cleaning supplies were part of a combined wedding present from Vern at Jones' Typewriter and my lovely wife. The basket makes for good presentation, but not so good for storage. I've had things spill out more than once, and those tiny white brushes can get lost in the paper confetti.

So, think I can get all of that into such a little box?

Step 1: Padding

The box is vintage. Protect is as much as possible. Thankfully, I had some foam padding left over from when my Royal Deluxe was shipped.

Step 2: Layering

After cutting one big strip in half, the first piece cushions the bottom of the case. The second piece will separate the rest of the tools from the canned oils and solvents.

Don't panic. The WD-40 is only for ribbon restoration.

Step 3: Tweaking

Of course, it wasn't practical to get all of the stuff inside the box, but I got enough! After a rubber band or two, just slide in some sheets of testing paper, extra ribbons, and you're all set!

That's all there is to it! A good basic kit in a nice package. 

Power to the pen!

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Martha (myoldtypewriter) was the only one who successfully guessed the mystery repair project!

Brett is, indeed, a Corona 3.

EDIT: it's Mary, not Martha. Sorry!

She cost me $25 and doesn't have a carry case. I was amazed to find that her stencils and decals were untouched. The machine is filthy, but there is no rust on any of the major components. The draw band is broken and there is a missing screw that connects the folding levers. 

Other than that, she is in very good condition for her age. Vern has already agreed to let me have another "training day" at his shop. It'll be a lot of fun and I can't wait to see how she types! Probably won't be able to see Vern for another two weeks or so, but I'll keep you guys posted.

Power to the pen!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Another Riddle

I've acquired a restoration project. The last riddle I posted was so much fun that I decided to do it again.


My name is Brett. I am a dainty old lady. My favorite country is Spain.

We'll see how many of you get close on this one ;)

Now, a question for my readers. You might recall all of the plans I mentioned when I was posting about my Royal Deluxe. I called a state representative to ask her if she would get the machine and bring it back to me. I've driven an hour and a half one way to get my SM3 and Lettera 32. I've looked under every table in an antique store just in case someone hid a portable machine there (that's how I got my first QDL).

So, what is the absolute craziest thing you've ever done to get a typewriter? Maybe it was a deal you couldn't refuse. Maybe it was a rare model you'd been hunting for forever. Maybe it was a piece about to meet its doom in the trash or at the hands of a key chopper.

Post them here, or send a link to your own blog.

Power to the pen!