Saturday, April 21, 2012

Facit's facets




A ready tool:




The complexity of the end of the carriage is impressive. Note how instead of riding on a conventional carriage rail, the back end of the carriage is housed in a tube.

The lever at the bottom that is marked "1" is used for setting individual tab stops. Push it back to set a tab, pull it forward to clear.





A peek inside the tube, where the carriage rod is surrounded by ball bearings.




The rack of tab stops is inside the body of the machine, instead of on the carriage as is typical. The whole rack moves back when you set a stop, and forward when you clear it.




Now let's take a look at the right end ...




The lever marked "B" (does it stand for a Swedish word?) does something very remarkable. It controls what the user's manual calls the "mechanical memory" -- several pre-set tab stops. When you push the lever, seven tab stops are activated (at positions 0, 20, 42, 64, 74, 84, and 94). Pull the tab forward, and all tabs are cleared.

I know of some typewriters that have fixed tab stops, but no others that let you alternate between pre-set tab stops and stops of your own choosing.




Now let's raise the paper rest. The two prongs are connected by a bar that makes them move in parallel.




Under the hood, we find a touch control at the left front corner. This control and the typebasket are very reminiscent of this machine's predecessor, the Halda portable.




The keys are pleasantly concave.




The edge of the keyboard shows careful styling.




The carriage lock is at the left top corner of the keyboard; it's engaged when it's up, and you push it down to release the carriage.




Like the Halda portable, the TP1 has one big rectangular "foot" that makes it very stable.






Handsome typewriter, eh?



Now, of course, I'm curious about the TP2. Did they manage to improve on this machine?


Read more about the TP1 and its designer, Sigvard Bernadotte, on Robert Messenger's blog.
Halda/Facit history by Will Davis
Bill M's techno typeface TP1
A TP1 finished in wrinkle paint on Fossils Without Fear

26 comments:

  1. Brilliant photos, fantastic looking typewriter, great post all round ... well done, Richard.

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  2. I never gave this machine a look of interest until your post, thanks. I find the clean, understated aesthetics very attractive. And going by your description of its performance, I'd really want to try typing on it.

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  3. I agree that it has a very special feel. It's much unlike the other typewriters I have. They are subtle and understated and give you a real sense of security and stability (probably form that giant foot). Believe-it-or-not, I like the typeface on yours more than I like the script on mine.

    Great post!

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  4. One can tell a lot about a typewriter by simply looking at how the type slugs meet paper. On this Facit, all the letters are clear and evenly spaced, with an even impression.

    The machine itself lends an air of solidity and respectability; it could probably clack out a novel with no problem.

    The only downside of reading typewriter blogs -- if it could be called that -- is that my wish list keeps growing!

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  5. Nice review!
    It seems to be very well built and I also love the design, very clean and elegant.
    I've also bought a TP1, but I'm still waiting for the parcel to arrive!

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  6. A "serious tool" with idiosyncratic innards. Form follows function. I like it.

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  7. Thanks for the very detailed post on the TP1.

    I have not cleaned mine yet and thought of doing something quite similar. These are superb typers. The key action is very nice and non-fatiguing after quite a bit of typing. My TP1 is the smoothest typing of all of my machines, but I am certain the carriage needs a cleaning since the J4 is much more frictionless than my TP1.

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  8. Very nice - particularly the tube full of ball bearings. I'd be interested in Bill Wahl's or Tom Furrier's take on fixing them.
    This hasn't appeared yet in the bins or on shopgoodwill nearby. Wish me luck.

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  9. The Facit screams quality to the touch. Everything about it is smooth and substantial. I also love the tube rail design. They don't seem to come up for sale that often. Like many machines, they tend to come in waves. Between Etsy and ebay, I saw three script Facits in two weeks and then no Facits for over a month.

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  10. Excellent! Thanks for the visual tour around this fine machine.

    Facit has maybe just been rocketed into the top place of my "to acquire" list, the spot occupied until this past weekend by Optima.

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  11. Darn nice! Another one I'll need to look out for.

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  12. Looks stunning! I especially like the namestyle along the rear - they almost look like little buttons that would do something if you press them hard enough.

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  13. Thanks for the Facit tour, Richard. I didn't even know of its existence until reading this post and now I can't help but want one... If for no other reason than to mess around with that ball bearing filled carriage rod tube. That giant rubber foot is fascinating too.

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  14. I am happy the typosphere is flurrying with Facit activity - when I found a TP2, I was extremely happy because I knew the Austrian writer Ingeborg Bachmann had used one (well, not the one I got, but it is in top condition and sold for 15 francs). The type feeling is majestic - no wonder, the Swedish prince Count Bernadotte designed it. I rate it amongst the top 5 of my collection, for design and functioning. I will try to feature it on occasion.

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  15. I like it! Hopefully there will be one in my future someday. =) Thanks for sharing!

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  16. Richard,
    I am wondering if you can see where the tabs are set when you rotate lever A on the left. I ran into a machine that is labled "Speedwriter", and the only marking I can find is "Made in Sweden" on the frame in the bottom. Other than having four feet and lacking the Facit name, it looks nearly identical.

    The only difference I can see is it has 4 individual feet, and that it lacks the ability to set single tabs. The preset tabs and lever B (mechanical memory) is there and works. Nothing appears to be broken or missing, so I am guessing it is a rebranded Facit, and that option was not avaialbe but due to the carriage complexity the lever and mechanism needed to remain.

    Thanks for your time.

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    1. Interesting! The name "Speedwriter" was used on more than one typewriter, such as this Cavalier (Consul). I had never heard of a Facit by that name.

      When the left lever moves on my TP1, the whole tab rack tilts back or forward. Presumably it hits something on the bottom of the carriage when it does this -- but no, I can't see in there well enough to make out the mechanism.

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    2. I also have a Consul 232, built under license by Commodore Office Equipment of Canada, for Simpson-Sears that was sold as a Speedwriter.

      I apologize, as I pulled mine out and took a closer look - the frame is different, and the levers A/B look to be a much cheaper style, but the carriage and tab system is definetly the same. I will send photos if you would like.

      Thank you for taking a look for the tab mechanism.

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    3. Yes, I'd be interested in seeing photos (polt@xavier.edu).

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  17. From my experience, and observation, these are some of the most deliberately designed typewriters out there. Everything part seems to exist perfectly with the other elements. They may not be the very best in looks or touch, but they are significant. I wish my TP2 was in better function!

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  18. How do I find the value of my Facit TP1-KB typewriter serial P293044?

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    1. Check completed auctions on eBay. It looks like Facits have been selling for $20-$130 -- a wide range. Value depends on the condition of the typewriter, whether it has any special features (such as script type), and sheer luck.

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  19. My daughter was given a Facit TP1 without a ribbon. Do you know if new compatible ribbons are available? Thanks.

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    1. Yes, a standard half-inch-wide ribbon with eyelets will work. I recommend Baco Ribbons, bacoribbon@sbcglobal.net.

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