Sunday, 27 October 2013

Repairs and new additions

My girlfriend went to Melbourne last weekend with a friend of hers, leaving me with a positively delightful amount of time to dedicate to pottering around in the laundry with typewriters, while neglecting more important matters. I detail some of the events and very minor repairs carried out over the weekend below.

Underwood Noiseless 77
My gorgeous shiny and expensive Underwood Noiseless 77 which I've spoken about in a previous post here had been in need of new feed-rollers for months. Not having found anything suitable in the meantime and after a good boiling didn't do the trick with the existing rollers, I decided to try simply shaving the edges of the squared rollers off with a pocket knife, leaving them slightly rounder.

Believe it or not this actually did the job. I was expecting to need to roll a bit of duct-tape around one or two to fatten them up to size, but no. I now have a fully functional sparkly new looking Underwood Noiseless. If I happen to find suitable replacement rear feed-rollers at a later date I can always fit them in. Accessing and removing the rear feed-rollers on these machines (Remington Noiseless 7 / Underwood Noiseless 77) is a relatively simple matter of adjusting the margin stops to their outer-most limit, activating the paper release to move the rollers away from the platen and lifting the whole assembly (4 rollers attached to a single rod) out of their holder. Moving the carriage to one extremity helps ease of access.

Remington Portable 5
Another satisfying repair was finishing off my shiny Remington Portable 5, for which I had previously borrowed John's tool to straighten the keytops on (mentioned here). After the keytops and the feed rollers had been done, the only thing left was the carriage return lever. I had assumed I would be able to use the carriage return lever off the parts-machine Remington 4 that John had loaned me, however this was not to be the case.

Remington Portable 4 parts machine

 Remington Portable 4 carriage return lever

 Remington Portable 5 carriage return lever (terrible photo, but you can see it's got an almost 90 degree curve in it, as opposed to the Rem Portable 4 one which is almost straight). While the line-spacing mechanism is almost identical on the Portable 4 and 5 models, the difference is the Portable 4 doesn't have platen knobs on both sides, thus the carriage lever doesn't need to bend around anything and thus is designed to sit straight up. So I borrowed this Portable 5 curved carriage return lever off (yet) another Remington Portable 5 that I had bought off eBay a while back.


A very minor issue remains when typing, with the bottom of the letters being fainter than the tops, but it's still very legible and I'll get around to that addressing that another day.

Remington Standard 10
A week or two before, I had found what looked to be a Remington Standard 10 on Gumtree going for a half-reasonable amount. A drive over to a leafy outer-south eastern suburb secured me this old beast and it was only on this typewriter-filled weekend that got around to even inspecting it. The seller informed me his father had collected a few old typewriters from businesses around Western Queensland years before. Coming from hot, dry Western Queensland accounts for the layer of dust around most parts and the relative lack of rust considering it's age. All in all it's in passable nick and although the mainspring is slipping when tensioned, I'm sure I'll be able to fix this. The carriage is a little crunchy and it does like to remind you that it's older than the hills, but I wouldn't be surprised that in time I might have myself a working machine. The Standard 10's are rather skeletal looking things, little covering and prone to dust. On the flip-side however, the lack of side-plating (if that's the word) provides you with near-effortless access to much of its innards. My aim for this one is to get it fully functional in time for it's 100th birthday. It's serial number (351496) dates it to early 1914 and so I have around 3 or 4 or so months to get it dressed up and ready to party. Me being famously impatient, I forgot to take a "before" shot when it was covered in dust which I'm rather annoyed about, as it looks much better than it used to. All I've done is give it a once over with a damp, then dry cloth and there's plenty more to do yet......

An unexpected visit
Finally, to top off a rather typewriters kind of weekend, Scott K of The Filthy Platen, rocked up and dumped 12 typewriters on my lawn. These were acquired with a little bit of once-in-a-blue-moon eBay magic that only a deceased estate and truly awful presentation skills can create. Scott tells the full story on his blog here, but to cut a long story short, I scored two of these dusty beauties, one of which was gleaming and typing away like new the very same afternoon. More on this another day.


  1. AH! I knew those two typewriters wouldn't take long to come back to life. Olivetti's really are something, hey!

    And that Remington 10 shows so much promise. I'm looking forward to seeing that working.

  2. I like that Remington No. 10; it has the interestingly large paper table and wide carriage that you don't see too often on this model. You'll find that it hits like a sledgehammer when you get it cleaned and adjusted! A good find indeed, since it appears to be the earliest style with no stencil cutout position on the ribbon selector.

    1. Yes, agreed Will. It was the size and good condition of the paper table that drew me to it in the first place. The keys do hit the platen already and sledgehammer is spot on! I knew mine was on the early side of the Standard 10 lineage, but didn't know that the stencil cutout setting was introduced later on, so many thanks for the information.

  3. Congratulations on all your successful repairs. I have some Noiseless #7 feed rollers to do myself. Unfortunately 1/2 of all the rollers are gone, as in they all look like the letter D.

    I remember Scott's multi-typewriter find. It's wonderful.

  4. Good work!

    Be sure to add this entry to this list:

    1. Thanks Richard! Have posted the link to Nick's entry. Pleased to see there's been a bunch more repair links posted since I last looked.

  5. A productive weekend! :D
    And man, you guys scored big on that ebay find of Scotts! (:

  6. That Noiseless looks awesome shiny. How does she type?

  7. Thanks all.

    Ted- it was essentially Christmas in October!

    Rino- To be honest I've got about 8 working machines with ribbons on them at the moment, three at best that I use much and I can't justify putting a fresh ribbon on the Underwood. Put it this way, all the functions work, she types well and from what I can gather from the faded type that comes out with the current dry ribbon, she types a charm. The Noiseless ones have a slightly clunky action to them and it wouldn't be a regular typer I don't think, but still very nice.

  8. For all typospherieanz with roller woes, czech out :

    Peter J. Short
    J.J. Short Associates, Inc.
    315-986-2827 (fax)
    All of our parts, components and tooling are proudly made by American
    workers in the USA!

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