Saturday, May 28, 2016


While throwing out lots of forgotten paperwork, I found a few doodles that I thought might bring a smile. Who says bureaucratic meetings are unproductive?

By the way, I wanted to include some of my typewriter doodles in The Typewriter Revolution, along with these wonderful drawings by Lisa Buckley.

However, the desiger nixed all of these in favor of advertising cuts of typewriters from the first half of the 20th century. I still disagree.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Caligraph progress

I've been getting back to my Caligraph (which I can now confirm is a model 2).

The carriage had to be disassembled almost completely for cleaning, but I think I've got it back together. (This photo shows it before most cleaning.) Note the faceted platen on this machine, due to the fact that the type faces are flat, not curved to accommodate a cylindrical platen.

After washing the keys in Scrubbing Bubbles and a detergent solution, I reattached them in the proper (silly) order.

The front plate is looking better after cleaning and waxing.

The dirty paint is getting cleaned with Soft Scrub.

The typebars got individually cleaned.

Getting there!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


I'm stepping down as department chair after nine years of service. It was time. The main problem this creates is that I now must move out of the spacious chair's office into one half as big! As a result, some typewriters are coming home. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the passengers who've been hitching rides with me recently.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The latest typewriter safari

My latest trip to the big antique mall yielded lots of photographic trophies and one metal-and-rubber one. Let's take a look, shall we?

This Remington "need work on Advanced Lever." The carriage return lever seems to be missing a spring. $130? I don't think so.

Another Remington portable is much cheaper at $38, but it's been used within an inch of its life:

This is much more attractive: a clean Smith-Corona Sterling for $42.

Some other machines for sale in the $40-$50 range were not nearly as clean as that Sterling. This Royal KMM is filthy.

There was lots of rust on this KMG:

This Underwood is pricey at $189 ...

... but it comes with some interesting literature:

Here's a wonderful wartime pamphlet on caring for your Underwood standard, which "helps speed the nation's victory" (remember that typewriter production was severely curtailed during World War II, and civilians couldn't buy new machines). Click to enlarge.

An Underwood Universal at $89.95 is in good shape:

... as is this cute Tower (Smith-Corona Skyriter). I think it was $85 or so.

There were two very-wide-carriage typewriters. The L.C. Smith is $59.99:

And the Woodstock is $175. The shift on this machine was pretty easy despite the size of the carriage; it must have some very beefy assisting springs.

And finally, here's the typewriter that was such a good combination of condition and price that it necessarily ended up in my trunk.

A perfectly functional Royal FP for $22? Yes, please!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Two Remingtons

Two Remingtons from 1949—one with the old carriage-shift mechanism, still close to the original 1920 Remington portable, and one with the all-new basket-shifted design.

What do you think of the concept of making the numerical row of keys a different color? Remington didn't use the idea for more than a few months on either model.

For the next ETCetera, Robert Messenger is writing about the design of the new model.

Friday, May 6, 2016


Just one word was legible on the old ribbon in the Erika I'm restoring: "Always."

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Here's the Erika M I admired in Boston:

And the one I just got (the paper support is missing):

Nick's Calanda:

And the one I bought:

Olivetti endures.