Saturday, January 31, 2015

A brand-new 48-year-old typewriter

The label on the bag for the carriage is marked with the typewriter's serial number.

The carriage return lever is tucked back, but it's easily put in the right position without any tools.

Wrapped around the platen was this form that asks the office machine dealer to report back to Grundig on the condition of the typewriter.

Here's a cover, an accessories kit, and the screws that attach the carriage to the body.

 The accessories kit holds two brushes, an eraser, an erasing shield, and a cleaning cloth.

An instruction manual in German, Danish, Italian, and Portuguese:

This supplement explains the special accommodations for the blind that are found on this machine.

Raised dots on some keys provide tactile guidance.

You can also find tactile help on the paper support ...

... and the scale is marked with Braille numerals. You can feel the exact location of the printing point thanks to the protrusion on the little structure above the type guide.

 The serial number dates the typewriter at 1967:

Type unblemished by any ink:

There were small amounts of rust on the typebars and segment, which I removed with a brass wire brush. A little old grease in the segment was making the typebars stiff, so I loosened them up with Lectra-Motive Electric Parts Cleaner, my favorite degreaser.

On the left side of the typewriter you see a socket where a Grundig Stenorette tape recorder can be plugged in. The key to the left of the space bar makes the tape play when you hit it, or rewind when you hold it down. A key to the right of the space bar stops the tape. Very useful for typing from dictation, and especially useful for the blind.

And there you have it: a brand-new 48-year-old typewriter! 
It feels great: precise, speedy, and durable.

Monday, January 26, 2015

à Paris

The Arcades:

Semi-mysterious typewriter-themed calendars:

Miniature dishes at a toy shop in the Arcades; each is about 1 inch across:

A lovely piece in the Picasso Museum:

Fondation Louis Vuitton—the house that bags built:

Installation by Olafur Eliasson:

This is Paris in the 21st century, avec moi.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cover design

This warm and simple image is the provisional cover design for The Typewriter Revolution. It may be revised after my editor gets feedback at a sales conference. A textured cover is a possibility.

I've also started a Facebook page for the book. Like it to receive updates on Fb.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mystery sound

I've never encountered a typewriter that sounds like this before ...

... and I don't think you'll guess what it is. But you guys might surprise me!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Underwood Electric: The keyboard's ready

For the extra five keys needed by the Underwood Electric, I took the keys from an old Underwood no. 5 that was shipped inadequately and had its carriage broken, becoming a parts machine. This kind of key pulls off the stem very easily ...


... but removing the metal rings from the keys was very hard. I used to have a great tool for doing this, but now I can't find it anywhere.

Finally I was ready to insert the key legends -- but I found that the ivory paper I used was too light to match the rest of the keyboard.

PB B'laster to the rescue! This yellowy degreaser/lubricant gives just the right antique look when dabbed on with a Q-Tip.


And now I'm ready to show you the whole keyboard.

The five new keys were glued onto the stems with JB Weld.

The base of the typewriter has now been reattached. I painted the distinctive "tube" that loops out to protect the keyboard; the rest is unpainted aluminum.

The black tab bar came from a '40s manual Underwood which will be getting this machine's gray tab bar—they're identical except for the color.

Am I heading in the right direction?

In case you don't remember, the typewriter originally looked like this.