Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

Poem #25

My neighbor on a flight, a poet, said that the landscape below looked like a classified document. I'm running with his idea. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Revolution in the mailbox: London bound & poem #20

Yes! I will be in London for the month of July and am looking forward to some typing with fellow revolutionaries. More information to follow.

Poem #20:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Poem #18

This is what happens when you remember at the last minute that you're supposed to type a poem every day this month. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Caligraph progress and poem #17

The restoration process continues for the Caligraph. (Anyone have a parts machine? I need a margin stop set screw and a lowercase letter o key, with composite keytop and stem.)

Parts usually look great after spending the night in Evapo-Rust:

I removed the keys in order to clean them and the wooden key levers (with their key stem holders, which point at me like little cannons in the photo below). The key stems are not always easy to pull out of the holders; I had to use two pliers and some muscle.

I was smart enough to make a note of the keyboard arrangement. (Try touch-typing on this thing.)

But I wasn't smart enough to note which of the horizontal key guides was which. After removing them, I realized that they had to differ, because the rows of keys are staggered (as on most typewriters) and the holes have to be in different places. I manage to figure it out and label the pieces.

Removing the Caligraph's carriage is very easy; you just unscrew five screws.

"More grease never hurt anything," thought somebody in the late 19th century. Today that grease is hard and gluey. But I can't complain — it has protected the metal underneath.

So this is what it's like to work as a dental hygienist.

The escapements on most typewriters have a single rack and two teeth (or "dogs") that take turns engaging the rack, creating a step-by-step motion. The Caligraph has two racks and just one dog. One of the racks can slide back and forth, and it's linked to the other rack by a little spring. When this is all working, I'll have to make a video.

The user's manual for the Caligraph no. 3 (I think mine is a similar no. 2) has an unusual amount of information about all the parts of the device. This may be very helpful if I forget how to reassemble the typewriter. (You can download the manual on my website.)

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Today's poem. Have you ever been in this situation?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Cracking the Caligraph & poem #14

I've started restoring my new Caligraph. Here are some "before" pics:

When you remove the front plate, which has the remnants of a Caligraph decal, you see the front half of the long, wooden key levers.

The plate is filthy. I've wiped it dozens of times with Pledge furniture polish and a cotton rag. I'm painting the chipped areas with auto touch-up paint.

Some of what looks like rust is just ancient, coagulated grease. That's good news, as the metal underneath is in relatively good shape.

The painted areas are also covered in old grease, which can be removed with Scrubbing Bubbles and Soft Scrub.

The same products also help to reveal the keys.

If you think QWERTY is irrational, try the Caligraph keyboard.

Here I've removed the front row of keys. Each key fits onto a stem that fits into an attachment on the wooden key lever.

This is one of the stems.

Some parts respond well to steel wool.

The platen is faceted to handle flat types. Periods have indented the rubber. Amazingly, the rubber still feels soft.

The platen can easily be removed, and hardware can be unscrewed from it. The platen itself, as on many typewriters, consists of a wooden core sheathed in rubber.

An Evapo-Rust bath:

The serial number, 37387,  is stamped on two places: the upper right front corner and the lower right front corner (visible only when you remove the name plate).

I'll post more updates as I proceed with cleaning and restoration.

Here's today's poem.