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Monday 26 May 2014

Replacing the carriage lever on a Royalite portable typewriter

This Royalite has the serial number RL 3238581, which means it was one of the earliest Royalites made (in Holland), possibly as early as 1956, but certainly by early 1957.
Replacing its lever was a task I had put off attempting three or four years ago. Initially, I thought it would be impossible, as it seemed the lever which had snapped off it had been a one-part piece and I couldn't work out how it was attached.
Last week's success with the carriage lever-line spacing mechanism reassembly ("IT WORKED!!" declared an excited Nick Bodemer in a comment on that post - as if there'd ever been any doubt about it!) gave me renewed courage to tackle this "mission impossible". I got there in the end, but I had been quite right to think it would be difficult in the extreme:
I should have included some of these images in the last post on this subject ("Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite") - especially the carriage lever and line-spacing pieces. Anyway, here are the main components involved in this operation. The "spares" are the nut and ('burst', or flattened) spring from the screw which attaches the lever to its casing, and which popped out of this typewriter when I began to work on it. I imagine that when the previous owner broke the lever, the bits holding it to the machine just hopped or fell (or were dumped) into the machine. What was left, at least visibly, no doubt led me to think the lever couldn't be replaced.
The first task, of attaching the spring to the lever screw and the lever, is the least of the problems, certainly when compared with the taut spring which surrounds the pin attaching the lever casing to the body of the machine. However, I should point out that if it had been possible for me (especially if I had had four hands) to attach this screw and its spring to the casing WITHOUT removing the casing from the machine, the whole operation would have been far, far simpler and quicker. But given the need to grip the nut and attach the screw while holding the spring, I figured I had to take the casing off. The tight angles and room to manoeuvre make it almost impossible for one person to handle this operation otherwise. By removing the pin which holds the casing to the machine, I of course released the spring inside it, creating a major problem. If anyone attempting this lever replacement job can attach the screw and its spring which holds the lever to the casing, without taking the casing off, I would most certainly recommend doing that. 
Here is how the spring attaches at one of its ends to the lever, and below the hole on the screw through which the other end of the spring is placed.
With the casing still attached to the machine, getting at the nut while reattaching the lever screw and holding the spring in place is almost impossible with just two hands. Below is how it all goes together, with the casing taken off the machine, leaving the onerous task of getting the casing, with its inner spring, back on.
This is the pin which holds the lever casing to the machine. It goes through a taut spring, inside the casing, which attaches over on the back end and under on the front side of these two lips from the main body of the typewriter. The spring quickly returns the lever to its normal position after it has been used to turn the platen and return the carriage to the left.
I turned the machine upside down to get the casing's taut spring in position inside it and with the pin running through it. 
The lever is reattached. This leaves me the task of reattaching the platen turning piece, squeezing it in between the line-spacing piece and the left edge of the body of the machine, so that the lever casing lip (circled) hooks inside it.
Below are a couple of small but handy hints when dealing with this model. I should point out that some of this may have been unnecessary on the gray Royalite, as on that machine the knobs could be removed and the centre rod left in place. However, on the green machine I had to take the centre rod out and I also had to remove both carriage end covers. 
One little surprise left in store for me was to discover the carriages on the green and gray machines were different lengths. To the naked eye, looking at the two machines when (almost) fully assembled, there was no discernible difference between them. It was only when I went to reattach the margin-setting bar that I realised the lengths were significantly different. The green machine has the shorter of the two carriages, for some reason.


Ted said...

Fantastic howto! Very well explained (:

Piotr Trumpiel said...

A superb manual indeed!