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Monday 15 October 2012

Bringing an 1899 Remington 7 Typewriter Back to Life - With a Piece of String!

I mentioned in my post about my "booty" from ScienceWorks in Melbourne that one of the three standard-sized typewriters I collected down there was a Remington 7, which, as I said at the time, had seen far, far better days. It was in a terrible state, screaming out for at least a little lubrication.
Apart from all the superficial signs of wear and tear, the steel drawband had disintegrated, which is very common on machines of this age (especially those which have been left to corrode).
But I predicted on Friday that, since the mainspring seemed to have plenty of life still left in it, I could get the 1899 Rem 7 (serial number 58600) working again. Where I was wrong was in anticipating the use of catgut, which simply slipped off the drum. So I tried a piece of string, and it worked a treat. The Rem 7 is back fully operational once more.
It took my son Danny and I about half an hour to bring the Rem 7 back to life (using the Rem 7's original purple ribbon), plus I cleaned up some the gunk that had formed over the years on the levers and guides. This poor old typewriter had been very seriously neglected for a very long time. It's now quite sparkling - in parts! A bit of improvisation was also required on one of the margin setters.
At the time I posted on my Melbourne trip, last Friday, Scott Kernaghan seemed to express some interest in taking on the Rem 7 project ("I like the sound of that machine," he commented). Well, Scott, the typewriter has proved it still has lots of life in it - so how about taking up the next steps in the clean-up? Interested in taking it off my hands?


L Casey said...

Well done! I have yet to get my Remington 6 up and running...but then again, it really grosses me out. Aside from the all the gunk, there are several old nests inside of it. Nests from what, I do not know, but it is disgusting.

Scott K said...

Whoa! I'd LOVE to keep working on this fellow! It looks like a great machine.

Excellent work too, with the string. I've used hanging wire in the past, but I can see that this solution would be way to heavy.

Robert Messenger said...

It's all yours, Scott.
Ken, I know what you mean, this one was a bit like that too: a disgrace, despite the fact it had been in a museum (storage). I have had 3-4 Rems of this vintage, and they all have been as you describe. The first couple I completely took apart to clean up and never got around to putting them back together again. I wasn't going down that track again with this one!

Bill M said...

Neat looking typewriter. Good job with the string. I thought of waxing a string and using for a draw string since I have some that look like that is just what was done from the factory.

Richard P said...

I'm always thrilled when reattaching a pull cord or strap brings a typewriter "back to life." Good job.

notagain said...

nice job! this is one of the most satisfying repairs to do, as it has such a dramatic impact when done. I have a spool of flax twine I use for thie purpose.

michaeliany said...

i like the aussie tag team repair action going on here!
neat old machine, alright.
ive a couple drawband repairs myself to get to. all in good time. This past weekend though i did some preliminary cleaning on a couple machines. In my Olivetti Lexikon, i blew out a ball of hair. and i knew whose it was. The lady i bought it from said that it was her mothers and she had passed awsay on the desk beside the machine.
Ive been meaning to reveal this gruesome fact in a new blog entry but i simply havent had the time.
SO who else owns a typewriter who had someome die right beside it?

Ryan Adney said...

Old Rmeingtons have been on my might quite a bit recently. The string was a bit of on-the-job brilliance. Your Seven is quite the old monster. I think that the keytops are mounted to wooden linkage bars, no? A very nice typewriter.