Showing posts with label typewriter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label typewriter. Show all posts

Monday, January 18, 2016

IBM Electromatic Sighting

I had to share this beast seen in the wilds of an antique mall. Other than a stuck "z", it appears to work fine and badly needs a new power cord. It wheezes and chugs and smells vaguely of ozone with its open armature motor design. Unfortunately, I could not find a serial number to accurately date it.





The typeface is a simplified sans in all caps. It didn't appear to be a Ham mill. Such an interesting machine, but I have no space for it.




I keep seeing silly descriptions for old machines. They are all steampunk. I would be interested in seeing this with all of the sheet metal removed. Below is the closest thing I could find to a serial number. The motor was serviced in the 1950s. Again, such an interesting critter. Must resist...


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Radio Mill with Finger Flight Champion Style

Greetings from an Underwood that should have been introduced a year ago. Busy is no excuse for zombie blogs, but I'll claim it anyway.


The color scheme on this machine is understated with bits of flair. The green and gray combination have an army look to them, but the burgundy highlights are pretty daring for something military. Either way, it has no service markings.


The keyboard is classic mill, but some of the type slugs look like refugees from other machines. There is even a curly 'C' that one would find on an Underwood script typewriter.


And for posterity, here is a proper type sample.


 I'm not having any luck finding the serial number - any tips on where to look?

As an aside, I've noticed that Blogger is meshing better with my cache of backed up images. Perhaps I will get around to blogging more often!

Thanks for stopping by!

Please stand by for the usual copyright notice. As in, everything on this blog is copyright Dwayne Fuhlhage. Please share the social love by linking and sharing freely, but refrain from stealing digital content. We have an enforcer and are not afraid to use him. Much.






Saturday, January 3, 2015

Remington #8,000,000: The Inception

Remington #8,000,000 with Sholes and Glidden prototype circa March 23, 1933 via Peter Weil

Typewriter nerds, rejoice! The Typosphere is just an awesome place and this practically knocked me over when I read my email this afternoon.

A typewriter collector, Peter Weil, contacted me the long way around through uber collector and advocate Richard Polt. He came across the above image of the eight-millionth Remington, a Noiseless 8, being used alongside a Sholes and Glidden prototype that would lead to the first Remington. The plate on front is a dead giveaway. It is indeed the machine in my possession by way of a New York City ebay seller several years ago.

http://vintagetechobsessions.blogspot.com/2012/02/last-stand-at-remington-starring.html

We know from the plate on this machine that it was just a few weeks old at the time. This fills in some historical gaps. Here is more than you would probably want to read about this machine:

http://vintagetechobsessions.blogspot.com/2013/03/remington-8-number-8000000-80th-birthday.html
http://vintagetechobsessions.blogspot.com/2012/02/itam-special-report-eight-millionth.html
http://vintagetechobsessions.blogspot.com/2012/02/last-stand-at-remington-starring.html

Here is the history of this photo as told by Peter Weil. Substitute 'Remington 8' for 'Portable 1'.

"On March 23, 1933, the YWCA held an event to commemorate the 60th anniversary of there invention of the typewriter. More specifically, The focus of the celebration was “…the entrance of women into the modern business world.” I find it dumbfounding that Smithsonian would have loaned the Sholes to them, but my guess is that the YWCA had a lot of clout in Congress to succeed in bowing so important an artifact. I suspect that this specific version is a bit earlier than the one made famous by the image of Sholes’ daughter typing on iyt. Note that these keys are ceramic ones, as on the earlier prototypes, whereas the keys on the example used by the daughter are similar to the latter metrakl-ringed flat ones covered with glass that were used on the first fully marketed Sholes and Gliddens in 1874. I think it also interesting that the YWCA selected a Remington Portable, admittedly, the largest they made at the time, a Model 1, to contrast with and to indicate progress since, the Sholes machine. The # Model 1  was a borderline office machine, but it was a not a full one. Perhaps because it had just been introduced into a tighter office market created by the Depression, Remington, who probably loaned it for the event, wanted it used.

The Acme Co., a news service, printed and distributed multiple copies of the photograph, headlining it as “”How Types Have Speeded Up.” In their caption, they also draw primary attention to the contrasts in the clothing of the two women typists. Clearly, faster types, faster typists (literally and figuratively), and real progress for typewriters and women! (yes, I am being facetious)"

For context, check out Richard Polt's typewriter history highlights: http://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-history.html

Thanks Peter and Richard for helping tell the history of this machine!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Funky Script of the Day

A new typewriter arrived yesterday and is currently on the bench for cleaning and adjustment. Would anyone care to guess the make and model? Anyone? Anyone?

Captured with a Fuji X-T1 + Pentax Macro Takumar 50mm f4 + Baveyes focal booster. Out of camera JPG



Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Reveal: Rheinmetall Portable Ergonomic

One of the Holy Grails of typewriter design just fell into my lap by sheer, dumb luck. I happened to visit Etsy late on Labor Day evening and found a listing for this amazing bit of German engineering. The Rheinmetall ergonomic typewriter is rare enough that hardly any photos turn up in a Google search. I'm about to remedy that situation with typewriter porn overkill!




The seller listed a number of his father's possessions in a brand new Etsy store. Reportedly, it was used frequently. The general wear on the keys and drifts of eraser shavings inside bear that out. How it came to America is a mystery; however, most of the items for sale were from Germany in the early 1900s.




While well loved, it could have done with a tuneup at some point in its nearly 80 years of existence. The degraded feet had been semi-repaired with washers, but the machine still sat low which contributed to the ribbon feed not advancing. The reversing buttons on the sides were held in a neutral position by some tenacious, ancient tape. A loose spring kept the ribbon vibrator from working correctly and also contributed to the delinquency of the ribbon advance mechanism. It is amazing what difference one tiny spring can make!




And yes, the keyboard is as strange to work as you might imagine. It is also awesome with the thumbs doing the heavy lifting on the center button to lift the carriage. That is when I remember to use a thumb instead of hitting the "Y" with my pinky finger. As is typical with German machines, the "Y" and "Z" are reversed. It is a tricky beast, but worth the effort for the novelty factor and the neutral wrist position. That is, of course, the whole point of an ergonomic layout.

As for typing, it is light and snappy in that German way. It isn't as manic as an Olympia SM-3 or a Torpedo, but it is very pleasant now that the segment and mechanical systems are cleaned and lubed. I need to check under the hood again to see if the spring tensions vary to balance out the key lever arm lengths. Onwards to a type sample...



There are bits and pieces of information about Rheinmetall typewriters floating around the Internet. Robert Messenger recently posted one of the few photos I could find of the ergonomic at http://oztypewriter.blogspot.com/2013/09/typewriter-update-august-2013.html As with the Olivetti ICO, this machine looks particularly stunning in red. Be sure to check out the brief description of the machine and keyboard. Unfortunately I, despite my last name and pre- Ellis Island heritage, cannot read German.






Robert also blessed the Typosphere with his signature approach to journalistic treatment of all things typewriter. Read everything you ever wanted to know about Rheinmetall-Borsig at
http://oztypewriter.blogspot.com/2013/05/rheinmetall-portable-typewriters.html This wonderful ad comes from that post. The typewriter, an elegant and civilized device.



Here is a good general history of the Rheinmetall portable typewriter courtesy of Mr. Sommeregger.
http://typewriters.ch/collection/Rheinmetall_portable_typewriter.html 

Unfortunately, the Rheinmetall page on the Machines of Loving Grace Portable Typewriter site delivered the dread 404 error message just now.

The machine uses many stock parts with the front end greatly customized. The shift and lock button are in the middle. The space bar is split with pads on either side. Mine has odd damage to the right pad. I can't imagine that it is wear. It appears intentional. The mask at the top and around the ribbon spools is plastic. The apron housing the Tab key is painted steel.

Another view of the keyboard:


The machine bears two serial numbers in multiple locations. The larger number appears to place manufacturing around 1935. I assume the smaller number, repeated on the chassis and carriage, is specific to the model.



The machine was loaded with eraser shavings and coated with the stubborn film so common with black typewriters of a certain age. Goop was highly effective in cleaning the paint. A quick pass over the decals did no harm.


Again, little information is available on this specific machine. As a limited production item, it must have been an expensive experiment. Market research in 1935 would not have been on par with today's big data driven approach. On the other hand, we've seen plenty of experiments come and go in modern capitalism as well. I picked up a fire sale Microsoft Surface RT and it is so far the most disappointing bit of tech I've owned since Windows Vista.

Of course, we at the House Full of Nerds are prone to our own tin-foil hat conspiracy theories. We've also been watching a lot of modern Doctor Who. I personally think our Toy Transformer went back in time and forcibly modified innocent portables to reflect its mutant image.


Well, that is one theory, anyway. Maybe it was the early heavy water experiments that tainted the factories. Or maybe, just maybe, it wasn't made in Germany after all. It was found on the Moon by the crew of Apollo 17. No wonder we've never gone back.

Thanks for reading and putting up with my flights of fancy! Stick around long enough and interesting things come out.

Blah, blah, blah... not another Copyright notice! Oh, yeah. Here we go again: the content on this blog is Copyright DwayneF of Vintage Technology Obsessions unless otherwise specified. Please use the nice Google+ like and share features at the top of the page or contribute to the sharing economy of the web on the platform of your choice. Commercial use is strictly prohibited. You see that guy in black and silver up there? After traveling through time to 1935 and back, finding the other end of the Internet from here is a trivial exercise. Please, don't tempt him.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Typewriter Teasers: Reveal Coming Soon!

I've already posted a few teasers on my Google+ feed, but thought this might be of broader interest to the Typosphere. This machine is now almost ready for a proper photo session. It has been cleaned, lubed, adjusted and has a new ribbon in place and pads ready to install where the rotted, rubber feet once were.

It is a genuine rarity. How rare is it? Richard Polt doesn't own one. Until the reveal, here are a few teasers to whet your appetite.

This is a portable with a carriage that comes off in less than a minute. This a dead giveaway for the brand.

Every surface that matters is machined and the chrome is thick and beautiful. Very well made.
And now for the truly puzzling evidence: the serial numbers on various part of the machine don't match. Hmmm....  By the way, it is much cleaner than when these photos were taken. It was well loved and loaded with eraser shavings.






This is one of those situations where it paid off to be an insomniac. I checked Etsy as I was finally winding down late on Labor Day and hit the random jackpot.

Let the frenzied guessing begin! The answer, however, will not be revealed until the reveal. I'm cruel that way.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Typewriter Day Pronouncement: A Recent Convert!



Oops. That would be "altar". That's what I get for typing late at night.
Happy Typewriter Day to all of you! May you attract many new converts to the cause and may the typewriter of your dreams show up at a thrift store for five dollars. Miracles do happen!

Before I sign off, I have to share two images from our day at the Art of the Car Concours in Kansas City. It was, after all, our distraction from the awesome that is Typewriter Day.

Image the First: My other daughter has taken to photography like a duck to water. She has excellent situational awareness and likes being on the other end of the lens about as much as I do.


Image the Second: Because she was enjoying the cars and taking loving photos, some owners struck up conversations. One couple invited her to sit in their drivable show car (the best kind in my opinion).


Yes, the cars were a distraction, but I hope they made you happy, anyway. As always, thanks for visiting my little corner of the Internet.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Curiously Awesome Early Olivetti Lettera 22

Greetings members of the Typosphere and denizens of the Cult of Olivetti! I'm pleased to introduce our newest traveling companion. It is a Lettera 22 of a slightly different stripe.




You like the ribbon? This is one of many festive colors offered by FJA Products on their ebay store. I bought a pack of seven colors and love them all! The bright pink is on a script Olympia SM-9. My wife suggested putting on the machine most likely to be used by the Tooth Fairy.



So much spiffier looking than the inset logo.




Ted Munk, proprietor of The Typewriter Database, has commented that Olivetti serial numbers remain a mystery. This machine is S621119. What year? Anyone? Anyone?


The typeslugs were beyond filthy! This is after three cycles with mineral spirits and a toothbrush.



The color of this machine is...interesting. It is classic Olivetti. The strange thing is that it looks different under different light sources. Getting the photo color balance right is tricky. This machine is close to the original color of my Lexikon 80, the difference being that it wasn't totally covered in nicotine and cleaning scratches. Ton: Not to worry. I'm not touching the color on this delightful rarity.




I've said it before and I will say it again: I am absolute sucker for embossed paper tables. They are a totally superfluous and would have added to the cost of a machine. That is precisely what makes them desirable design details. To an extent, the embossed table is an element of industrial design from a long gone era. Its like the logo embedded in the back an iPad. I am not an iDevice fanboy, but I do appreciate design.

I've contemplated getting a L22 for a year or so. This one popped up on ebay and I knew it was just what I wanted. There was even a typing sample that verified function and typeface awesomeness.


Here is the Lettera 22 with its office sized cousin, the Lexikon 80. Now that I have each model, I can see the design integration so often discussed by Ton at I dream lo-tech. The body styles resonate, but the similarities go deeper with a shrink ray being applied to carriage controls and the carriage bearing and margin stop system.



 

It is a happy coincidence that I happen to own machines made at almost the same time, in the same factory and with the same typeface. The Lettera 22 is a common machine having been made for decades. I'm glad I waited for just the right one come along. It will be a wonderful companion for our family summer vacation.

Experimental hashtags: I'm curious to see if these get picked up directly by Google+. Have any of you tried integrating Blogger with G+? Comment and search integration could be awesome, but I want to see how it is working for others before committing. For those of you already on Blogger, I recommend trying out G+. The hashtag functionality is helping make it less of a digital ghost town and the Communities are awesome. Having exposure increased through Google search is a plus. G+ is now number 2 in social traffic behind Facebook.

#typewriter #Olivetti #typecast #vintagetechnlogy #Lettera22

Me, on Google+  https://plus.google.com/u/0/114811329730901691376/posts/p/pub Add me to a Circle! I place fellow Typospherians in my Acquaintance category in return.

Obligatory and Probably Ignored Copyright Notice: The words and photographs on Vintage Technology Obsessions are Copyright DwayneF. They may not be used for commercial purposes without explicit, written permission of the copyright holder. Please spread the blogging and typewriter love by commenting, sharing, linking and tracking back to this blog or my G+ presence. In the vague-an-unspecified-threat department, I have a small army of giant robots and monsters at my command and I am not afraid to use them. Just saying.
My Enforcers

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Corona Typewriter Bargain Alert! 50% Off!

Someone had better snag this gem off ebay in a hurry! It won't last long at 50% off. As in it is now $75 plus shipping. But it works!



Sure, it may need a little elbow grease.

Or a sandblaster.


Someone in the Typosphere needs to save this machine! The keys will be irresistible to the key choppers with wedding season right around the corner.

Or not.
Last chance, peoples! Look for it on ebay as item number 190820286562. This diamond in the rough can be yours for a mere Benjamin. Did I mention that it works? Here is all the proof you need:
One tough hombre.


Okay, I have to confess that I'm having a little blog writer's block. I have a draft post with photos I like and the narrative just isn't coming together. <sigh>  At least I can count on never having a sarcasm block.

Friday, April 19, 2013

How green is the Olivetti Lexikon 80?

Just how green is our Olivetti Lexikon 80? Let's ask the experts!

Most Green Experts Agree: "So pretty!"

 A few weeks ago I received a functional Lexikon 80 purchased through ebay. The fact that it worked is a testament to sound engineering and design. It was covered in the all-too-familiar sludge patina of old nicotine, dried lube and fine dust. Over the years, the dull, gray body shell had been cleaned aggressively. The color was none too attractive to begin with and was only made worse for wear by embedded dirt and fine scratches.

The machine as shown on ebay. You'll have to imagine the sticky nicotine and oil film. The end of the carriage draw band came undone during shipping.
Why did I buy this ugly machine? I've been watching Lexikon 80s for close to a year and have only seen five listed on ebay. Of the two others confirmed as functional, one was pickup only and another had an extra wide carriage. One entertaining listing showed a Lexikon with a two+ foot or so carriage covered in rust with no hood. I saw one come and go on etsy priced at several hundred dollars. This beast was $49 plus shipping.

 Obviously, this machine needed a makeover. I looked at the rattle-can paint available at several local auto supply stores and was unimpressed. Ultimately, I picked a color available at a local hardware store. It is vaguely reminiscent of an Olivetti color. We think it looks nice enough to live indoors. As for the shade of green, we asked the experts to weigh in on our redecorated machine.

Little Godzilla approves of the keyboard feel. "Light and snappy!", he says.

Shogun Godzilla and the Attacking Martian find this shade to be appealing.
Getting color balance right can be tricky when shooting green objects. One of the images I posted on Google+ was trippy acid green. In some light it looks darker. If I were less lazy I would break out camera manuals and figure out how to balance against a gray card. Maybe someday.

The infamous Google+ introduction. I took this with an early iPhone in my garage under fluorescent lighting. The extreme does make an impression.


We could compare the Lexikon with another green typewriter. How about Keylime, our Duotone Royal?

I just spent a week running off an iPad and iPhone. Forgive the typos, etc.



Other Lexikon 80 posts from the Typosphere:
http://idreamlo-tech.blogspot.com/2012/07/holy-grail-reveal-olivetti-lexikon-80.html
http://writingball.blogspot.com/2011/11/olivetti-team-installment-1.html
http://writingball.blogspot.com/2010/08/olivetti-lexikon-80.html

And two Graphika machines:
http://writingball.blogspot.com/2010/12/olivetti-graphika.html
http://writingball.blogspot.com/2013/03/going-public-part-4.html
http://www.retrotechgeneva.com/2012/05/big-reveal-olivetti-graphika.html