I've been sorting through typewriters, looking for some that I can sell in the coming weeks. I had shipped this green Corona in from the US a while back, knowing full well it had a problem, but thinking it was possibly something I could fix. But when it arrived I was mystified: the carriage moved as it should, and the space bar moved the carriage as it should, but none of the keys moved the carriage. The fact the paper didn't feed on to the platen properly seemed a minor issue by comparison. The Corona was packed back in its case, and for the time being put in the "too hard basket".
These cotton buds given an indication of some of the muck that came off the carriage
Today I decided to tackle it. I went for the carriage first, as the pristine outward appearance disguised an awful truth: under the carriage, and under the machine itself, was a filthy mess. There were signs of surface corrosion on the rails and masses of thick lint everywhere. But a word of warning - unless it is absolutely necessary, don't take the platen out of one of these models. It is one hell of a job to get it back in properly.
After having cleaned up the carriage and giving that a blow-through with the air compressor, I looked for what was causing the paper feeding problem. Pretty obvious, really: John Lavery told me earlier this year that it is a good idea to leave the carriage release lever forward when storing typewriters. On this one, the smaller, front feed roller had actually turned square from being pressed up against the platen over many years. It had hard, straight edges on it. I was able to smooth these off using steel wool. Also, the top, larger feed roller had been pushed out of position by corrosion in one of its grips.
While I was at it, a smoothed off the pock marks on the platen, again using steel wool, fine sanding paper and Shellite to clean the surface.
Next I went poking and prodding to see what was stopping the Corona from typing. I had a burgundy version of the same model, so I was able to compare the mechanism on a working model with the green machine. With both typewriters sitting up on their backs, I worked my way down from the keyboard, triggering each device as I went.
I first tested levers on either side of the keyboard. On one of them, a slight movement with the finger and the spring jumped out. As I moved on, the thought that this spring had become unattached so easily played on my mind. Had it stretched and become loose? So I thought I'd fix that first before going any further. I picked a replacement spring from my box of typewriter springs, felt that it had the same tension, and put that in place.
The good spring
My substitute spring on the other side. It worked a treat!
Hey presto, the Corona started to work perfectly I'd like to be able to claim my (non-existent) mechanical genius found the fault and corrected it - but I have to admit, it was a sheer, out-and-out fluke!
With the platen back in place, I now had a fully functioning typewriter - paper feeding on exactly as it should and keys moving the carriage as they must. Can't say I'm makin' it - more like I'm fakin' it.