Sunday, August 28, 2016

Typewriter weekend

Scott's podcast, Type O +VE

The contest copy, devised by Ian Brumfield. It's not every typing contest that includes the word Luftschiffbau.

My rather pathetic entry in the contest: 36.6 wpm after deductions for errors.

It was still enough for me to win this ashtray!

Ian amuses himself describing the explosion of a giant gasbag ...

... with his Speed King:

And this is me gaping at Ian's machine (photo via Amy Friskney on Facebook):

Here's Kim Brumfield's cursive Hermes 3000 with deluxe case (chrome trim and cloth interior):

More scenes from a happy afternoon:

In other news, I'm thrilled that this new film by Doug Nichol is finally coming out! I am included in it along with many other typewriter lovers, some famous. This is going to be a must-see for anyone interested in the death and life of the writing machine.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Chicago

You can't beat a Chicago for looks. I wish it were easier to type on. The action is kind of stiff and clunky, and my type cylinder doesn't always rotate to the right position. If it worked better, I'd be plugging away at it!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Monarch 101 typewriter

One of my little summer projects, in between travels, has been restoring my Monarch 101. This was an eBay find, circa 2003, which I was excited to recognize and which no one else saw, so I got it for just $20 or so. Here's the original eBay photo that thrilled me.

And here's what the machine looks like today.

This rare model is a bulbous, office-sized machine that uses the Remington noiseless portable mechanism. Remington records say it was "also referred to as Model 5 1/2." So you can get an idea of the dimensions of the typewriter, here it is next to a Remington Noiseless 8, another attempt to create a larger writing machine using the noiseless portable mechanism. 

The Monarch 101 may also be found finished in wrinkle paint, and (particularly for export) marked "Smith Premier." Serial numbers range from A10000 to A11077. It was manufactured Dec. 1937-Apr. 1942.

When I got this typewriter, it was in rough condition. It had been exposed to decades of neglect in Florida, and was shipped with inadequate packing. The frame was cracked, the drawband was tangled, it was musty and rusty and dusty. Nothing worked.

Here are a few views of the restoration in progress.

I managed to untangle and reattach the drawband, and to get the typing more or less functional. It still won't grip the paper right and doesn't space correctly, but you can type a line.

I fixed the cracks in the frame using J-B Weld, touched up the paint with black marker and auto paint, and went over everything with Pledge furniture polish and a soft cloth, again and again and again. Pledge leaves an especially shiny, though not super-durable finish if you let it dry for a couple of minutes before you wipe.

Someday I hope I'll get this typewriter working well enough that it can type letters. Meanwhile, it has finally become a good-looking, eye-catching object.