Monday, November 26, 2012
This 1939 typewriter was the sole '30s machine in my lineup -- I love the looks of typewriters from the '30s but tend to favor later ones for heavy use. This one is precise, effective, but not a great pleasure to write on. With a little help from stick-on bits of felt, the spacing is extremely quiet. The Teflon lubricant also had a great effect on this machine. There was some gummy stuff in the segment that I could not seem to eliminate, not even after removing and individually cleaning all the typebars. Some Du Pont Teflon dry lubricant did the trick. (See here for Scott's experience with a similar product.)
It's chunky, it's kinda clunky, it's not the fastest horse in the stable, but I'm still very fond of this machine. It has lots of features, is robust, and feels satisfying to me. These must have been popular in Cincinnati in the ’50s, since for a while I was finding one every couple of weeks in the thrift store. Sadly the supply has now dried up.
Torpedo 18 (purple)
This is the legendary (?) Purple Prose Producer. It's a fun rat-a-tat-tat typer that grades in purple, of course.
Torpedo 18 (black)
Here's the Purple Prose Producer's sober and rational brother. This one has a professionally recovered platen and is very smooth. I could use it for a long time. My only complaint is the return lever, which I don't find totally ergonomic.
This typewriter (the wide-carriage version of the Royal Diana) is a good, snappy writer. It's kind of noisy, though, as the Magic Margin springs musically sing along with every step you take.
Voss DeLuxe Silver Surfer
I just love Vosses. The carriage return has the perfect feel. It is a carriage-shifted typewriter so it's a little harder to handle than most of the other machines in the lineup, and while the typeface is beautiful on this one, the alignment isn't perfect.
Smith-Corona at its best. The parallel key action (which keeps the keys horizontal as you type) makes the feeling very nice. The return sounds kind of rattly, and I think this typewriter deserves a Polt Silencer.
This big baby types along with a satisfying pocketa-pocketa. But even with Teflon, it is not the smooth and snappy Adler that I dream about.
Olympia SM3/9 (Twolympia)
This is my most elaborate typewriter-modification project ever, an SM9 squeezed into an SM3 body. With a carbon ribbon and its fancy Congressional typeface, it produces beautiful work.
Hermes 3000 Silver Surfer
Damn, this looks good! Once you remove the dull gray-green Hermes paint, this model is really a stunner, I must say. The Teflon helped to improve the typing experience on this machine and it was fun to use, although it is not particularly fast compared to an Olympia or Torpedo.
Hispano Olivetti Studio 46
I was most surprised by the performance of this machine: it has a very light, very quick touch. Made in 1940 (approximately), it has some retrograde features compared to later machines, including carriage shift and a rumbly carriage return, but it is a very practical writing machine -- except for the fact that it doesn't have an apostrophe. I had to use the acute accent ´ and remember to space after it, since it's a dead key.
This 1947 gray workhorse isn't flashy, but nothing beats it for speed and snap.
I have other favorite typers, but these are the ones I used for my grading extravaganza. I enjoyed them all. Which was best? I'd say the black Torpedo, the Twolympia, or the KMM. Which was perfect? None. I am glad to say that I'm still looking for the Platonic form of a typewriter. The search keeps this hobby interesting!
Typed by Richard P at 3:07 PM