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Thursday, 10 November 2011

1919 Imperial Model D Portable Typewriter

This is the other end of the scale from the 1969 Imperial Messenger which I posted on earlier in the week.
Fifty years earlier, Imperial in Leicester, England, made this beauty, its Model D downstroke portable.
This one arrived on my doorstep an hour ago.
The images below include the one that appeared on eBay, what it looked like when it arrived, and what it looks now like, after less than half an hour of cleaning (there is still some lubricant lying on the base, sorry).
Everything seems to be working perfectly - except for one big problem: I can't get it to type yet. The drawband and mainspring are fine. The typeslugs hit the platen, yet the carriage doesn't move (any thoughts?).


Adwoa said...

That's a lovely machine; with a very distinctive aesthetic. My only gripe with these downstroke machines is that you have to be perched pretty high to see what you're typing!

The non-typing problem is a head-scratcher; if the type slugs hit the platen, I suppose there is no lock engaged. And you have already checked the drawband and mainspring, of course... I'll wait for the experts to chime in on this one!

rn said...

That's a machine's machine. Imperial indeed! Love it!

Do the carriage release levers and the backspacer work? If they do, at least we know the carriage isn't locked or frozen in place.

It may be that the mechanism that links the keys and spacebar to the escapement has loosened over the years, and so is not triggering the the carriage advance.


Richard P said...

This is a great typewriter, congrats. Hope you can get it running.

Rob Bowker said...

That's the craziest ribbon path ever! Love it - steel spools like a Bar-Let as well. There will be a follower (not a clue what the proper term is) which nudges the escapement as a key is pressed or the space bar. It is unlikely to bent if the machine is screwed to a solid base. Could be it just needs further cleaning. It will be weakly sprung so as not to offer too much resistance to the stroke. If it is anything like my folding S&N Bijou, the engineering will be robust, but the connection between the type bars and the follower (in this case a simple steel bar it pushed backwards) is 'reluctant'. I found some leaf springs I could adjust, which helped. I can actuate the bar without depressing the keys, so I traced its pivots and linkages and cleaned and lubed (one drop of WD40) as I went. It is still a pig to type on but it was progress. Try this after entering a transcendental state for best results. The answer is there, you are just asking the wrong questions at the moment. Oh, and be sure to video-blog it when it is running!