Monday, June 5, 2023

A typewriter heads to the opera

Once in a while, I get asked to provide a typewriter for a local dramatic production. This time, it's the Cincinnati Opera that wants a typewriter as a percussion instrument for their production of the new opera The Knock, about military wives waiting to hear the fates of their husbands. This 1936 Royal KHM fits the bill, in my opinion, with its good looks and its nice, sharp tap.


Saturday, June 3, 2023

A Remington Noiseless 6 “springs” into action

This machine, brought in for service by a customer of Urban Legend Typewriters, is the first Remington Noiseless 6 that I've had the opportunity to work on.

This typewriter was made in 1929, four years after Remington bought the Noiseless Typewriter Co. and turned its three-bank models into four-bankers. (Remaining stock of the three-bank Noiseless standard was sold as the Remington Noiseless 5—a scarce model today. The no. 6 was succeeded by the no. 10, which was made, in different body styles, up to 1960. Meanwhile, the Noiseless Portable was reborn as the Remington Noiseless portable models, made from the early ’30s into the 1950s. Models 7-9 are portables.) 
Aside from the missing left ribbon cover, this typewriter is complete.

An attractive detail is the nickeled end plate of the tabulator rack/paper bail structure.

But what's that weird spring??

I admit that I added it. It helps the ribbon vibrator return promptly to its resting position. The vibrator was lingering too long in the elevated position. I couldn't find any friction point or dirt, so there was nothing to do but resort to this. (The screw holding the spring to the side of the machine connects to a little eccentric nut on the inside of the typewriter which controls how far the carriage can move towards the typist—the carriage can be moved back and forth on Noiselesses. Try not to unscrew the screw all the way from the nut, as I did! It was hard to get them back together.)

And there is another jerryrigged spring I've installed on this machine. It pushes the margin stop toward the front of the typewriter. Without this spring, the stop had a tendency to stay in back, letting the carriage move all the way to the left and right. Again, I couldn't find any way to fix this through cleaning or adjustments, so I resorted to a spring.

I would rather do things the official way when I can, but sometimes you just have to say, "Whatever works!" After all, most 94-year-olds need a little assistance. And there is a satisfaction in installing a spring that's just long enough and tight enough to do a job.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Het Makers Manifest

Auke Vanderhoek in the Netherlands has composed a "Maker's Manifesto," closely inspired by the Typewriter Manifesto. You can find the Dutch text here, and here are some delightful photos of Auke's daughter.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Enjoying writing machines at the Type & Print Museum

The previously announced Typewriter Day at the delightful Cincinnati Type and Print Museum was a very pleasant reunion for typewriter lovers from the local area and beyond.

The attendees included an art student who used to be part of the multi-kid "typing pool" in the early days of WordPlay Cincy and a couple who drove all the way from the Washington, DC area, bringing a selection of colorful Remington and Royal portables of the 1920s and '30s. All told, 22 people of all ages took part in this day's event—not too many, not too few, just right. 

Curator Jacob Simpson prints a bookmark. I want a business card like his!

The bookmark features a 1940s Woodstock just like mine.

I brought my 1956 Gossen Tippa Pilot.

The museum keeps this Royal HH around for young visitors to use.

A Marx Dial toy and an Oliver no. 5 are on display.

Mitch Hamm of Trinity Typewriter gives the Tippa a try.

Cameron Knight, Cincinnati Enquirer reporter and author of the recent story about me, brought a rare battery-powered Smith-Corona Poweriter. Not only is it easy to use a modern battery with this device, but Cameron demonstrated how you can hook up a small solar panel and make it run—providing easy, smooth, free electric typewriting in the wild!

A guest tries out a cursive Facit TP1:

Here's a Hungarian Hermes Baby S:

There were many occasions for thoughtfulness.

We hope this will become a yearly event!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Andina Especial Modelo 90 typewriter

I last used this machine about a decade ago to invoke a certain entity known as purgebot kortny. It's time to release it from my basement. I plan to send it to a fellow typospherian and gonzo Zen master who will make good use of it. But before shipping it, I wanted to fine-tune it and share its details with my readers.

The history of Talleres Alonso can be found in ETCetera no. 86 (pages 10-12) and no. 88 (pages 3-7). As I wrote in the first story, the company's "sturdy products are an example of quality industrial production on a small scale." The Andina Especial was the culmination of about 25 years of portable typewriter design and production. These machines were, to my knowledge, sold exclusively within Spain. They aren't too hard to find there, but they are virtually unknown outside the country.

To my eye, the Especial is attractive from any angle.

Dials on left and right control key tension and ribbon color.

Does the Andina logo look familiar?

It's a shameless ripoff of the logo for another "mountainous" typewriter, the Alpina:
At least the lettering for the model number seems original:

The carriage easily comes off when you remove two screws, and then the shell comes off the main body with another four screws.

Here's a good view of the big, robust starwheel, the strong frame with parts made of a copper-colored metal, and the perspex plastic paper holders (which are hinged and can be pulled forward).

The Andina works with Olivetti ribbon spools. The ribbon shaft and base are plastic, an uncharacteristic weak point on this generally well-built typewriter.

Hasta la vista, Andina. Write bold words!