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Sunday 30 June 2013

How Mr Lavery Put The 'M' Back in Monarch: Replacing a Typebar in an Old Remington Portable Typewriter

The Monarch Pioneer which has been fully repaired, thanks to advice from John Lavery. The 'M' typebar has been replaced, so that, thanks to Mr Lavery, the Monarch has been saved from a dethroning and the fate of being dumped on the scrapheap. Instead, it has been restored to all its regal splendour. Mmmm ...
I got this lovely little Monarch Pioneer portable typewriter from the US, knowing full well the 'M' typeslug had snapped off. At the price for which it was being offered, I thought it a worthwhile investment - and told the seller I believed I could replace the typebar. He expressed doubts.
Sure enough, when it arrived, it was pretty promptly put in the "I'll get back to that one day" department, along with a number of other typewriters. I didn't give much thought to it, but really didn't have any idea about how to put in a new typebar.
 Above, the Monarch typebar with the 'M' typeslug snapped off. Below, the 'M' typebar from a spare parts old Remington portable.
Then happily, a fortnight ago, John Lavery turned up from Beaudesert in Queensland.
'Kingmaker': The Monarch's savior, John Lavery
He showed me how to do it. I didn't take down notes at the time, but using his advice, I tackled the project this morning, going by memory from what John had told me. Result? A complete and most satisfying success!

I only made one mistake, but in relatively short time recovered from it. John had told me to take the connecting rod, as well as the replacement typebar, from a spare parts Remington. He told me to use the Remington's connecting rod to push the Monarch rod from right to left, thus keeping the Monarch typebars on the right side of the typebasket in place as I worked my way across to the 'M' typebar. I forgot to do that, and given the pronounced curve in the connecting rod, it might have been difficult anyway - without removing the carriage to give myself some leverage. On the other hand, John's way would undoubtedly have made the operation an awful lot quicker. 
 The rod which connects the typebars to the segment
Here is the Remington's connecting rod protruding from the left side of the segment. I have moved the carriage to the far right to give myself some leverage in sliding the rod out, to enable me to remove the 'M' typebar.
The big lesson: move the connecting rod VERY, VERY gently,  just a very small fraction of a centimetre at a time, to ensure you don't pull it too far to the left when heading for the typebar to be replaced, or too far back to the right when reconnecting the typebars. In other words, move the rod in either direction no more than needed. 
 'A' shows the left end of the connecting rod before removal. 'B' is the screw on a bar which holds the connecting rod in place. It is necessary to loosen this screw and move the holding bar out of the way in order to move the connecting rod out.
 Here is the right side of the Remington spare parts machine before the holding bar screw has been loosened and while the connecting rod is still in place. Below, the screw loosened and the bar moved.

Doing it the way I did, without pushing the Remington's connecting rod in from the right to hold the typebars in place as I pushed the Monarch rod to the left, can still make for a completely successful operation. HOWEVER, when reconnecting the Monarch rod from the left, it is necessary to hold down the keys while at the same time slotting in the typebars and connecting them by gently tapping in the Monarch rod from the left. When putting the typebars back in place, the rounded ends must slot on to the levers underneath them in exactly the right way. Otherwise the keys which have been disconnected will sit up higher than the rest on the keyboard and the typebars, when the keys are pressed, won't return back to their resting position in the typebasket.
A very steady hand on pillars at one end and very, very gentle tapping on the connecting rod at the other are recommended.
John was right that a lot of this is done by "feel". When moving the Monarch rod to the left, the typebars disconnected can be seen to fractionally "sink" as they slip off the levers below them. When reconnecting the typebars, hold the slug in your fingers and you can feel it being reconnected to the rod.

Saturday 29 June 2013

Continental Wanderer Portable Typewriter

This Continental Wanderer W35 portable typewriter is a development of a 1920s design by Alfred Richard Georg Vogt for Wanderer-Werke (formerly Winklhofer & Jaenicke) AG, Chemnitz-Schönau, Germany. It has the serial number R039484, which dates it to the start of this model's production run in early 1935.  The case, covered in genuine leather, is absolutely the perfect match for this fantastic little typewriter. The lockable top tier of the case contains a fold-up desk area with a handwriting surface.

Thursday 27 June 2013

Typewriter Elbow

As Wimbledon enters day four and Richard Polt packs for London - though to look at Turners, not tennis - we can reveal a previously unknown malady: Typewriter Elbow*. This is what it looks like:
Technically speaking, it's a "partial thickness intrasubstance tear of the origin of extensor carpi radialis longus [which is] approximately 7mm in length". 
To the typewriter-loving layman, what this means is, "What happens when you have an extremely beautiful if rather hefty Hammond Multiplex on your lap, it starts to slide off, and you shoot your right arm down to stop the fall."
And believe me, folks, it's bloody painful!
Typewriter Elbow affects the Extensor carpi radialis longus, one of the five main muscles that control movements at the wrist. This muscle is quite long, starting on the lateral side of the humerus and attaching to the base of the second metacarpal bone (metacarpal of the index finger).
This evening I had ultrasound scans done on my Typewriter Elbow by Canberra Imaging at John James Hospital. Contrary to what my doctor and physiotherapist thought, I have torn the muscle. I won't be having a cortisone injection, because while this would ease the pain it would hinder the recovery.  The tear isn't long enough to warrant surgery.
So I shall soldier on, using "typewriter therapy" in the hope of speeding the healing process and getting the pain off my mind.
The hospital doctor said, "We're quite intrigued by how you did this injury. An Olivetti?"
"Olivetti be buggered," I said. "It was something really classy, a Hammond Multiplex!"
One typewriter I used tonight to aid my recovery is this gorgeous little Corona 3, an early model with a "Standard Typewriter Company" (instead of "Corona Typewriter Company") decal across the front under the spacebar.

The answer is that I promised to give this "transitional" Corona 3 to Peter Weil in Delaware many months ago. I feel it will far more appreciated by Peter than it is by me. For convoluted reasons which I won't bore you with here, instead of going to Delaware as planned, it temporarily went to Double Bay in Sydney. An art design display firm wanted to replicate an overseas Glenmorangie single Highland malt whisky window display for Moët Hennessy Australia at World of Whisky. This was the original display:
This is the Double Bay window display with my (or should I say Peter's) Corona 3 in it:

I had promised to loan the firm a Corona 3 for up to three months. A situation arose in which Peter's Corona 3 went, against my better judgement. After three months, you guessed it: there was no sign of the Corona 3 being returned. I contacted the firm and insisted the typewriter be sent back forthwith. After what smelt to me like some stalling tactics, duly the Corona 3 arrived, along with two presentation packs of Glenmorangie (I gave one to John Lavery in the hope of easing his back pain).
So now this lovely little Corona 3 can finally make its way to its new home in Delaware.
I had Corona 3 typewriters on my mind yesterday after driving to Yass to look at a replacement "Typer-Wagen" (as Miguel Ángel Chávez Silva has dubbed it). 
My son Danny's friend Emily had alerted me to this Nissan Pulsar Q hatchback, advertised for sale on her employer's social club site. The first Typer-Wagen had been written off by assessors on Tuesday. They said the pizza delivery man had caused structural damage (he'd rammed the boot section in under the car) and repairs would exceed the market value of the 1998 Mitsubishi Magna stationwagon (about $2500). The new Typer-Wagen will cost $1300 on top of the insurance payout.
The difference got down to that after I had inspected the car and told the present owner that I needed something I could pack plenty of typewriters into.
"My partner has a couple of old typewriters," he said, "Would you like to see them?"
"I never say no to looking at old typewriters," I said.
So he took me inside his house. First, out came a dusty Remington 12. Then, from inside a glass cabinet, a pristine, shining Corona 3 Special, with the crinkle front and side panels.
"I bet I can tell you where that typewriter was originally sold," I said, as I gently folded forward the carriage. "Aldwych in London".
Sure enough, the decal under the carriage revealed "Aldwych, London".
This machine was an all-black brother to my blue- and green-crinkle-panelled Corona Specials, also sold in Aldwych.
My hosts were suitably impressed by my intimate knowledge of their typewriter.
The price of the new Typer-Wagen came down.
"Always buy a Typer-Wagen from a Corona 3 lover," I told myself as I happily drove back to Canberra.
(For one thing, Corona 3s don't cause Typewriter Elbow.)
*Lateral epicondylitis, or lateral epicondylalgia, known colloquially as tennis elbow, shooter's elbow, and archer's elbow or simply lateral elbow pain, is a condition in which the outer part of the elbow becomes sore and tender. Since the pathogenesis of this condition is still unknown, there is no single agreed name. While the common name "tennis elbow" suggests a strong link to racquet sports, this condition can also be caused by sports such as swimming and climbing, the work of manual workers and waiters, playing guitar and similar instruments, as well as activities of daily living. Tennis elbow is an overuse injury occurring in the lateral side of the elbow region, but more specifically it occurs at the common extensor tendon that originates from the lateral epicondyle. The acute pain that a person might feel occurs when they fully extend their arm.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Night of the Maroons: New (Old) Prime Minister, New (Old) Typewriter, New (Old) Car, Same Old Queensland Story

Oh, I almost forgot ...
4. I have a new (old car) too. The Typewriter-Mobile was written off by insurance claim assessors, so I've had to buy a new Typewriter-Mobile, a somewhat smaller one. And I must confess it's not maroon, but NSW Blue!(It was bought in Yass, NSW.)
Back in Power (behind the maroon curtain):
Kevin Rudd - that's him on the left. 
Queensland Maroons celebrate beating the Blues.
The new  (old) Typewriter-Mobile. The old one (crunched in the backside by a pizza delivery driver) carried up to 37 typewriters at a time - we'll just have to wait and see how many this one with hold.

To celebrate all this happening in one day, give me some of that good old' Queensland Dandy Shandy and Bundaberg Rum: