Simple. My wife reminded me of the basic "Jaws" principle: you don't bring out the shark until the third reel. Buckle up. This post is on a special machine and is going to be longer than the norm.
In all honesty, I started writing this post in January. But here we are in February just in time to celebrate the International Typewriter Appreciation Month (ITAM). And while Remington didn't invent typewriting, they successfully took it to the mass market. Celebrating a Remington milestone seems a good way to mark ITAM. I have been enjoying the Typosphere ITAM posts including the latest school typing project. Good work, everyone!
So, here sits Remington typewriter number 8,000,000. How do I know it is the eight millionth Remington typewriter? Hmm, I have to push that answer off until the third reel. In the meantime, I'll share some information about the Remington Noiseless 8.
To start with, I know much more about this machine than I otherwise could have thanks to the efforts of The Classic Typewriter Page and Machines of Loving Grace.
For instance, without copies of manuals and overview diagrams, I could not have figured out how to unlock the carriage. On top of that, I would not have known of the existence of this machine had it not been for these websites. Thanks for empowering junkies!
The Remington Noiseless 8 is a variation on a theme. Its companion model, the Noiseless 7, features the same mechanical system in a low slung form factor better suited to portability. This machine is more about the experience of a larger desktop form and a thorough infusion of Art Deco design.
|Courtesy of Richard Polt|
Functionally, the Noiseless machines were optimized to deliver a glancing blow to the paper and platen minus the characteristic "clack" that normally accompanies this action. I've been on the lookout for the right Noiseless 7 or 8 for months in an effort to cope with a schedule variance with my family unit. I am an insomniac night owl who stays up far later than they. This generally means no typecasting late at night.
That is until now. Bwa, ha, ha!
Let's look at some design details. The typebar mechanism is articulated and includes swinging counterweights which control the final acceleration to the platen. The end result is freakishly quiet. I can hear the weights swinging around inside, but can barely hear ink being put down for posterity.
Pulling the hood is a different experience. One interesting detail is that the Noiseless 8 incorporates cast aluminum in this part of the machine. That is good both for the complex shape and the sound deadening qualities of the material. There isn't much to see, as much of the typebar assembly is hidden from view.
|This is one of the sound suppressor bars on the inside of a sheet metal panel.|
The primary steel shell and back cover feature robust sound deadening inside that would not look out of place in the door panels of a luxury car. Instead of more typical felt, each large panel has bars glued into place that reduce resonance sound attenuation. The sheet metal stops acting like a speaker as sound is tamped out and dies.
|Aluminum is common enough today that we would be unlikely to see supplier information. In 1933, aluminum was a big deal. The underside of the cast top cover features this ALCOA aluminum logo.|
|This is the underbelly of the typebar pivot assembly.|
As for the plastic keys, I went to an expert for advice. Richard Polt states that the Noiseless 7 was known to have utilized plastic keys starting in 1931. In all likelihood, this 1933 machine came equipped with the keys as shown. Especially given its history, the plastic keys shall remain unmolested no matter how sexy the chrome and glass keys are!
|I'm a sucker for raised paper table logos.|
|The Art Deco theme carries through to the smallest detail. This is a knob for a ribbon cover. It is totally functional as well as decorative and makes winding new ribbon a fairly painless process.|
|Others have commented on the precision alignment of the type slugs. Much engineering and quality control went into this mechanism.|
|Parenting is much easier when you can ship the little ones off to camp! From the April, 1939 Good Housekeeping.|
|Decal on the inside of the case.|
|This plaque is a remnant of an era when things were made by hand. Very satisfying.|
|Seeing double because I like the color balance of the first photo better. It's my blog and I'll do what I want to ;)|
Insert drum roll...
And now for the serial number...
|This is the only serial number on the chassis. Can you believe the whole typewriter shell had been lovingly hand washed and waxed not 12 hours before this photo was taken? This is my Deco Dust Magnet.|
A Brief Word on Manufacturing History
I happened across a record of the Remington-Noiseless manufacturing facility in Middletown, Connecticut where the Noiseless machines were built. This has more information than you would possibly want to know. http://www.middletownplanning.com/documents/RemingtonRand_Middletown.pdf
|Remington Noiseless Typewriter Company, ca. 1924-1928 Source linked above.|
This latter detail is interesting in the context of labor issues involved in the production of modern communications technology. Recently, Apple has received criticism for outsourcing production overseas and utilizing a manufacturing partner with a mixed record of employment practices. There have been fatalities and employees are known to work double shifts to get our wonderful devices out the door.
Labor unrest and management reactions took a different form in the early 1900s. This Remington factory reportedly used inexpensive immigrant labor. In 1936, 1,200 workers went on strike. Much like the famed Ford factory labor dispute, this action triggered a wave of violence that ultimately resulted in the National Guard being called in to restore order. James Rand was indicted under the Byrnes Act and was acquitted in 1937.
This is one of those deals where I was not particularly pleased to learn about history. Does my machine have blood on its keys? The truth is, most of us would be surprised about the labor and materials that go into the tools of our industrial culture. After thinking this through, I came to the following conclusion: Regardless of the human sweat and toil that went into making this Noiseless typewriter, the fact that it has been preserved and will be well used is a manifestation of respect for the people who made it.
The Hong Kong Action Movie Ending
I feel very fortunate to have this typewriter in my possession. It is both functional and unique. I recently blogged on a unique chrome and faux wood Royal Portable. I have some interesting and hard to find typefaces in my stable as well. So, what are the chances of topping this find? Slim to none. And that is OK. The acquisition phase inevitably winds down.
I can now focus on getting the rhythm of this machine down as it will be my night typing companion for years to come. Tips and tricks on lubing and tuning this beast are, as always, appreciated.
Thanks for reading, and a Happy ITAM to all!