Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Gifted ROYAL Quiet De Luxe

I love typewriters!  And, like many aficionados of these fine machines, my tastes have become more refined.  Sometimes I enjoy aesthetics more than function, but the latter has become more important to me over time.  That and unique typefaces.

With that in mind, I posed a rhetorical question to my brother the recovering newspaper journalist turned teacher (paraphrased):
Me:  Would you be interested in a portable typewriter?
Answer:  Maybe.
Me:  That's as good as "yes" to me.  So, would you prefer something classic with glass keys, or something more modern that might be a tad easier and have a few more functions?
Answer:  You know, I would really like something that Hemingway might have used to write columns in the field.

Ding! Ding! Ding!  We have a winner!

As it turns out, I have two machines that Hemingway might have preferred.  The first, a Corona 3, is still a little glitchy and takes an uncommon ribbon (my brother is unlikely to transfer new ribbons on to existing spools).  The second is a 1947 Quiet De Luxe.  I love the typeface on this one and it is very easy to get along with.  But with multiple odd typefaces to choose from and the Torpedo 18 being my favorite overall machine, this poor QDL spent all of its time in a case.

So out came the QDL for a final cleaning and wrapping up with a bow for Christmas.  Thanks to MagicMargin for posting tips on cleaning wrinkle finish.
The technique worked great on the QDL.  It looked pretty good to start with, but the cleaning pulled off a lot of embedded skin oil and dust.  I cheated a bit with the case.  Even after washing it still looked pretty dull.  I wiped it down with just the slightest bit of penetrating lube and it looks fabulous!

Oh, credit where credit is due to the Classic Typewriter Page for resources on writers and their typewriters:

I was surprised at what a difference proper cleaning makes.  I had already lubed the mechanical bits earlier this year, but it really didn't need much more than that and a new ribbon to work like new.

Such pretty keys - and forever safe from key choppers!

I am helping my Dad resurrect a 50s square QDL.  It received lube service and 25% cotton paper for Christmas.  I am unhappy to report that my local Office Max no longer appears to carry standard large ribbon spool replacements.  There are tiny spools hiding inside the box on the peg where these normally were found.
The bow deserves its own photo.  It is vintage from a collection of ribbons and bows my step-mother had kept from her days of running a clothing store.  So sparkly!

How's this for subtle wrapping?  We hid it inside a bag until time for the official gift distribution.
I am happy this machine has a good home and will be used on a regular basis.   My brother plans to keep it in his office and have students do occasional laps with it just so they can see how old school journalists kept it real.

My girls liked the QDL and its typeface, but understood the need to have machines in use.  Besides, Claire got an Olympia Socialite for Christmas.  But that machine, and her sister's Olympia SF, are a topic for a later blog entry.

Note to the Typosphere:  After creating a more than adequate back story for the Christmas Squirrel, I realized that I have done zippo typewriter related since my travels to Florida earlier in the month.  For those of you that like more regular typewriter posts, thanks for the patience - especially with the weird Star Wars knockoff. 

One of my vacation projects was to get our computer setup more refined.  The scanner now lives next to the Dell Precision 4600 (new refurb) connected conveniently through a Tardis USB hub.  And to think my first exposure to computers was a cutting edge Apple II way back when.  At any rate, scanning typecasts should be an easier task.  Now I just need to clean off my old laptop for Claire and convert an old tower into a RAID Network Attached Server.  Etc.

Bonus factoid:  Claire and I are going to start attending an amateur radio class the first Saturday in January.  This is her idea and she really wants a broadcast license.  Guess that means we'll be shopping for radio gear in the next few months.  I'm guessing that NERDY1 is not a valid call sign.  Too bad.


  1. Very nice typewriter. Good luck on your radio class and test. Amateur Radio is tons of fun and the learning will never stop. Remember, the original digital mode of communication was the Morse Code.

  2. LOVE these photos! These old Royals are beautiful, and the photos make them look even better. Great to hear it's found a good home.
    Scanning: I recently stumbled across the LG LSM-100, a mouse with integrated scanner, and asked them for a "sponsored product testing", but haven't got any answer yet. :(
    Good luck for your amateur radio class! Air some typewriter sounds. :)

  3. Excellent gift, and excellent machine! Your brother is a lucky fellow (:

  4. Thanks, all! The machine was one of few typewriters that showed up at a regional antique show in 2010. It went all day without being sold at a very reasonable price. Now that I know the ways of key choppers, I am amazed it didn't end up going that route.

    I am taking the radio class with Claire. It is done over ten, 2-hour Saturday sessions. If she takes to actually using a radio once she has a license, we'll let her do the Morse class; also twenty hours worth of prime sleeping in time.

    And, of course, I will blog on the experience and encourage her to do the same.

    The instructor sent a link to an intro video. I had no idea there are 7,000 clubs in the U.S. It's part of the maker movement, so it is all good. Video here:

  5. Typewriters make the BEST gifts, especially at Christmas!

  6. My 1946 QdL is perhaps my favorite typewriter to use. A lot of the keytops are faded, but that's a project for another day sometime soon.
    I commend you, sir, on gifting such a great machine.

  7. Great typewriter story. My soft-spot is for the Remington Quietwriter, which saw me through grade school, junior high, high school and the first year of college.

  8. You typed my birthday message on the QDL, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I'm glad Michael can enjoy it now and that it will help educate his students!


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