Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Rex redux

When I last showed you my Rex (G&O), it was in pretty decrepit condition.

 

Guess what? It still is! But I've removed a lot of rust and gotten it into a condition where it can actually type ... with a little help.

First I removed the shell and platen (easy).


Then I removed the paper tray and attached hardware (not so easy). There is a horizontal rod that runs through the tray and both margin stops.


Margin stops:


Now I could get a good look at details such as the platen advance mechanism ...




... the segment, type guide, and ribbon vibrator ...


... and the ribbon advance mechanism.


Some parts were easy to pull off and drop into a little Evapo-Rust.


But what about all the rusty springs and levers that I couldn't remove from the typewriter? I had to soak the whole machine. I could only get part of it into my limited supply of Evapo-Rust, though ...


... which left the typewriter in a condition that very dramatically shows before and after:



I realized that just turning the typewriter over and letting different parts soak in the solution at different times was not going to be sufficient. The entire thing had to be immersed at once.

Being cheap and impatient, I did not order more Evapo-Rust, but just diluted what I had (the company gives its blessing to this, although of course the diluted solution will work more slowly). In order not to dilute it unnecessarily, I filled some plastic bags with water and put them into the unused spaces of the cooler.


After about a day and a half of immersion, the Rex came out looking far better. But a few springs must have been held together by just a few rusty molecules, because they broke. That includes the long mainspring. Fortunately, the break was just a couple of inches on the end, so I didn't have to replace the whole spring—just stretch it out a little.


Reassembling the typewriter took some attention and care.


When I received the machine, it was missing its bell. Note the empty screw hole right in the middle of the rear of the typewriter, on the protruding piece.


I was not optimistic about finding a replacement; the clapper is not on a flexible stem like most typewriter bell clappers, but is a solid piece of metal and thus requires a bell of exactly the right size. But when I tried a bell from an Olympia SM3 parts machine, the bell and its screw were a perfect fit!


As you can see and hear in this video, the bell works perfectly now.


Here is the still battle-scarred, but refurbished Rex, complete with some DIN 2103 ribbon spools that also show their age.





Based on my experience with this typewriter, I say that the G&O is a surprisingly good little machine. It's light, but most essential parts are strong and sturdy. The design seems well thought out. It's lacking some features (no bicolor ribbon, no tabulator, no automatic ribbon reverse; paper release will not stay open, but is open only as long as you hold the lever). But for a basic portable, it does the job well. I think a G&O in good condition (not this one) could give a Skyriter a run for its money.



12 comments:

  1. Congratulations! Great work on the typewriter.
    I think McMaster-Carr sells different sizes of long springs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Typewriters with different alphabets are fun, but what does your typed sample say? Also, some time back you featured Fraktur, and that turned out to be really useful! I used it to translate citizen science project notations and some old postcards. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bulgarian Typewriter Rex; technically Bulgarian writing machine Rex :)

      Delete
  3. Изглежда красиво. Но бихте могли да спестите много време, като използвате WD-40.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WD-40 също е лек за коронавирус?

      Delete
  4. Nicely revived! I sort of recall you once saying that the G&O would be a good design base for a brand-new simple-to-produce typewriter. At least I recall it being you, anyway. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't recall saying that. Since I'd never inspected one until now, it probably wasn't me.

      Delete
  5. that is a thing to wrok on with paper

    ReplyDelete
  6. Excellent work, and the bags are an obvious but genius idea!!!

    ReplyDelete