Monday, January 21, 2019

Smith-Corona Coronamatic 2200

I suppose I should have taken a "before" picture of this machine that came in for service at Urban Legend Typewriters. It was simply covered in grime and hair. Nauseating! Plus, I am not immediately attracted to '70s design, so my initial reaction was negative.

Happily, the grime melted off with some judicious application of precious Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner. (It has been discontinued, but Dave Brechbiel very kindly found some cans and sent them to me.) And when it's sparkling clean, this is not a bad-looking machine at all. It exemplifies the "turret" design that was tried by several manufacturers in the '70s (such as Brother with this KMart 300). What I mean is that there is a raised area of the shell just above the typebasket. I imagine some little person riding there at the command post and operating the typewriter like some futuristic rocket fighter.

The colors of this 2200 are also classic '70s: two tones of brown, with some woody patterns on the name panel. (The back panel is missing on this machine. The dealer's label was attached by Peter Paul Office Equipment, which has been in business in Cincinnati since 1932.)

After cleaning this machine and fixing a few problems, I find that I admire it. Here are some of its good features:

The top shell (sturdy metal) is attached to the base (plastic) by a couple of hooks that are easily opened. Smart idea.

The carriage release system on both ends of the carriage works very well, and doesn't have any of the flimsiness of the typical release levers on '60s and '70s Smith-Coronas, which often have broken.

There's a paper injector that's effective and that cleverly moves the paper bail out of the way when it's being activated.

The cartridge ribbon system is incredibly easy. You can remove a ribbon and pop in a new one in a matter of seconds. And yes, these cartridges are still made (at least the fabric version)!

Below you see a fabric cartridge, whose ribbon is an endless loop (top), and a one-time-use film cartridge (left). Both kinds of cartridges have a gear hidden in the "barrel of the gun" which advances the ribbon. The film cartridge also has a gear in the bottom center. The typewriter mechanism (bottom right) has two gears, which will engage both kinds of cartridges as needed.

The drive system on this typewriter is refined. There are governors on both the small drive wheel and the large wheel that you see in this picture. (As the wheel spins faster, the centrifugal force spreads a couple of weights outwards, thus preventing any further increase in speed.) The belt is guided in a pretty complex path; I'm not sure of the purpose of all of it, but I'm confident that it was carefully researched.

All told, this is an impressive typewriter that I'm glad I had a chance to work on.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Meet the Dresbold (Consul 1518)

*The Niente affair begins here.

Consul 224's on TWDB

I take it back, there is a Consul 1518 on the Database. It was sold in (East?) Germany.

Click this picture to see a PDF of the owner's manual:

The Typewriter Database includes this soft-focus pic of a mini-Dresbold—a Consul 232 ultraportable.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

“Free thought lives on"

Last month I reported on an open house at Urban Legend Typewriters. I included this poem by one of our customers, Shaggy, which he's affixed to the case of his beautiful Remington no. 3 portable.

My readers loved the poem, so with Shaggy's permission, I'm posting the followup. I got a new platen for his Remington, replaced the feed rollers, fixed the five-space tabulator, and generally spiffed the machine up. In return, he composed this delightful thank-you.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Type to Video Conversion Projector


Friday, January 4, 2019

Cold Hard Type: deadline is February 1

COLD HARD TYPE is off to a great start, with lots of interest and some excellent submissions. There's still time for you to get involved ...

(or just follow this link)