Sunday, March 13, 2016

Tools of the Trade

I've been rather busy. Hence, this'll just be a plain 'ol regular post instead of an actual typecast.

The rewrite of Lightwitch is going much better than planned. My intent was not to write a whole other book, just 10,000-15,000 words to introduce a new protagonist and pad the story. I've got almost 40 typed pages of material, so I think I'm getting close. Vincent, my 1949 QDL, has been doing the work. I didn't know how I'd like typing on it after using the SM3 for so long, but I was pleasantly surprised. Since I've been thoroughly seduced by the Olympia mystique, I have neglected my poor Royal, but no more! Vincent is working well, and he'll be due for a platen recovery/servicing once the first draft is finished.

Speaking of Olympia, my SM3 no longer seems to have the waving text problem it did a week ago. I put it in its case and typed a letter to a long-time pen pal, and could not reproduce the problems I discussed on the FB group. Did I imagine the whole thing? Is it because I was using the bottom half of the case? Or are there secret typewriter gnomes who heard my despairing cry? Either works for me.

Steve Dade called from California and said "Hadley" (my Corona 3 automatic) was so far gone that he could not offer to restore it for a reasonable price. So now, I have a functional case and a useless machine. Oh well. I sent him the platen and feed roller from "Brett" (my first Corona 3) and asked him to recover those instead. She should type well with new rubber and new feet.

Tomorrow I'm going to set a secretary's desk in St. Louis. It was a steal for $75, a few nicks and dings, but otherwise in good shape. I'll be sure to post pics once I have it in the apartment.

I've been watching discussions on the FB group about desired machines. Seems everyone has a thing for Vouge font. I guess the bug just hasn't bit me, or I'm not interested. Vern told me about an SG1 he has for sale that's been completely refurbished for $125 and I jumped at the chance. I've sold three machines thus far (my Rem-ette, Aztec, and SG3) to help pay for it, and I'll probably sell the H3k (once I have Vern put the platen and the knobs back in...don't ask). Some folks have commented that I seem more of a user than a collector, and I think that's right. For the time being, I cannot afford to be a true collector. Other than my 1935 Triumph Durabel, none of my machines are that remarkable. Since my first story sale in September 2015, I've been producing a lot of material. I've never felt as good as I do when typing on my SM3 that's been fully serviced.

And it got me to thinking, how much trouble could I have saved if I'd bought a new machine in the very beginning instead of a dozen half-working ones that all need repairs? Vincent isn't a junk machine, but he needs attention. Some of the characters are misaligned (crooked, in some cases). My 1937 Deluxe has a bad ribbon reverse. If I had bought a refurbished machine, I could have spent more time focusing on my work instead of using mechanical problems as an excuse to buy more typewriters. It felt good to offload three machines that I wasn't using. Right now, the only typewriters I really want for collector's value are a Remington #1/2 portable and the infamous SS Olympia. But the first one isn't easy to find in working condition and the latter costs big money.

So, for now, I'll be content with my workhorses: a reasonable herd that has it where it counts. As time goes on, I plan to spend money getting them tuned up and in peak condition.

Come back later this week for my review of a really good book I just finished.

Power to the pen!


  1. I assume that "Hadley" is the rather rusted machine from your Feb 22nd post? If so, and depending on a variety of circumstances such as distance, would you like to discuss a possible restoration? I'm not sure what an expert shop owner like Mr. Dade does for machines he restores, but I can certainly do a decent job at it. Especially when it comes to earlier machine designs such as the Corona 3.

    1. Sure, I'd love to discuss it! What the best way to get in touch?

    2. Probably by email, as I check it constantly. My address is