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Wednesday 21 May 2014

Facit T2 Standard Typewriter

With a covering plate taken off to show the carriage rod.
What an exciting typewriter day it turned out to be. It started out with a friend tipping me off about some interesting information in typewriter history. Then it only got a lot better.
I rarely go to the Canberra Recycling Centre on Mugga Lane any longer, even though it is the site of some of my fondest memories of typewriter scores. But I was looking for another cheap typewriter display cabinet and the Salvos and Vinnies didn't have what I was after. So I ventured a little further afield.
I saw the Facit as I walked into "Tiny's Green Shed". Grimy, but obviously it was mostly just surface grime. I recalled telling a woman that the way to test a typewriter in a flea market, to see if it is really working, is to touch the space bar, not the keys. The Facit was working OK ... ah, but I didn't think to look to see whether the ribbon vibrator was rising to the printing point, did I?
I lugged the Facit home and soon had it cleaned up. Everything seemed to be going fine. But at the first test type, no imprint. It was just the old ribbon, I figured. I still hadn't noticed the vibrator. So I tried another ribbon. Still no imprint. Then it dawned on me that the vibrator wasn't lifting as I wound the ribbon on. It wouldn't budge.
For the life of me I couldn't see what was stopping it working. So I went on with the cleaning. That's when I found the clips underneath the machine. This is a demountable, it turned out to my utter delight.
Once I took the carriage section off,  I was able to get at the mechanism under the vibrator. I quickly spotted that the lever which should have been activated by the star wheel was riding over a pivot stud instead of locking on to it. Problem solved. That just left me the easy task of reassembling the machine so I could type merrily away, the ribbon vibrator bouncing up and down as it should.
Simple, yes. But did I feel great about myself for fixing it? You betcha! For one glorious if fleeting moment I felt I really was a typewriter mechanic.
The demountable clips, one on each side, are activated by flicking a switch under the machine.
Resetting the clips before putting the carriage section back on.
Hey presto! The vibrator also rises ... now.
The Facit T2 is the big brother of the Facit TP1 portable, and like the smaller machine is beautifully designed and engineered and is a truly magnificent typer. 
Both were designed by Count Sigvard Oscar Fredrik Bernadotte of Wisborg, seen here launching the T2 and TP1 at Block and Anderson, Kensington Church Street, London, in 1959.
A nice feature of the T2 is the thick rubber base pad, which fits snugly on to the boots:
This is the T2's predecessor, the T1, along with a normal width carriage T2:
Interesting, the Paris branch of Lagomarsino also rebranded Consul portables.


Rob Bowker said...

Fixing a dud is a simple pleasure that never seems to fade. You put in a good bit of sleuthing to out right as well. I can feel the buzz from here.

Miguel Chávez said...

This machine reminds me a bit of the newer Olympia SG-3. It also had detachable carriages, a compact chassis and a very accessible mechanism (the whole front of the machine is removable, which makes changing ribbons and servicing the mechanisms a snap).

Congratulations, Rob! Enjoy that magnificent big machine!

Ryan Adney said...

A job well done on a very lovely typewriter.

Richard P said...

I thought I heard some joyful shouting from the antipodes! It is indeed very satisfying to understand a problem and get it fixed.

Now THAT is a typewriter -- very imposing, yet with some subtle styling details worthy of Facit and Bernadotte. I have never encountered one.

Bill M said...

That is one huge typewriter! Very nice. Congratulations on your successful repair.

Anonymous said...

Well done sir!

Monica Corwin said...

I would just like to say a loud and boisterous thank you sir for this post. If it hadn't existed I would have never been able to figure out how to fix my machine. I just purchased this same model and it had the exact same problem. Thank you so much!

KlikWink said...

That's a fine machine, I still have one in my home. Started early eighties, youngster with reporter aspirations I wanted to start off good at my study journalism. So I bought an electronic typewriter, which was basically a 9 dot matrix printer with chiclet board. I hated the output, so I traded it in for a Brother electric typewriter -basically a traditional typewriter with type-arms that were propelled to paper by an electric motor. During writing, I could not properly think on account of the ever whining motor. So when it came to writing my thesis, I loaded the Brother on the back of my bycicle and traded it in for this 15 kg behemoth. Due to the height, typing was easy, lever action was good and the typeface meant business. So I graduated, got my diploma. Thanks to this FACIT Blikman & Sartorius typewriter and my wit.
For an in between job, I had to take a typing test - typed 180+ characters per minute on a IBM Selectric II with just 4 finger, the reporter way - but was into wordprocessors from then on.

Just last week, my son asked for an electric typewriter, so I found an Olivetti ET55 Electronic typewriter. Nice design but could not hold a candle to this Facit beast.

Buford Sides said...

I acquired my FACOIT T-2 just like yours (no tabulator bar) in August of 2018. Its serial number is: T2- 254745 dating it to 1962. My machine was an eBay Auction acquisition (I was the lone bidder on it) from a somewhat nearby Pawn Shop that was close enough for me to be able to take a car trip and pick up the machine in person. The machine weighs in at 33.51 lbs. The only issue that I have with it is that its T-2 12 CPI PITCH ”STANDARD ELITE“ font seems a bit small for such a large standard typewriter, but then again, I prefer a 10-pitch over a 12-pitch whenever possible.

Robert Messenger said...

Richard Polt commented:

A Facit T2 has just arrived in "far-off Cincinnati." Thanks to rereading this post, I now know that the carriage is easily removable. That will be very helpful in cleaning. It has a lovely typeface. I'm sending the platen off for recovering and can't wait to enjoy the full Facit experience.

I apologise to Richard. Somehow this comment by deleted by mistake after being published.

Paulo said...

I have an Olympia SG3, which also has a detacheable carrier. It's from the 1970's, I guess, but works flawlessly. I was wondering if anyone here has compared Facits and Olympias...

Anonymous said...

Are there any videos on how to completely clean the T2 please. Just acquired one