Thursday, 19 April 2012


The Raising of Lazarus. © Giotto 1306

This is Typewriter Heaven, but we'd rather be raising the dead than super-gluing wings to typewriters, especially post-Easter:

Having recently teetered on the brink of getting a much-coveted Hermes 3000, I decided to neither pay tons of cash nor take a risk on a broken "Buy It Now" example from a commercial business clearance depot. Sincere thanks for fellow collectors' advice. As consolation, and in the true spirit of these austere times, I took a chance on a £10 Olympia SM2. This, too, was listed by the seller on eBay as "carriage return not working" but it was for sale nearby and Olympias are fixable, especially if you have working models to compare with.

Image "borrowed" from teeritz
At first, I couldn't even open the case. The familiar catch was a bit rusty, never a good sign. Then, inside I found that the typewriter wasn't fixed to its mounts inside the case. Aaaargh! But it didn't seem to have suffered. What was immediately obvious was that the carriage return was indeed not working. It just ran freely and with lots of for and aft play (let's call it yaw) up and down along its tracks - unimpeded by the escapement except when a key was pressed. With the help of an SM3 for comparison, I managed to track down the problem to a delicately sprung ratchet pawl - easily reached from below. A couple of drops of WD40, an hour or two to for it penetrate, and the legendary silent ratchet action of the Olympia's carriage was restored. Big smile.

Next-up, the "yaw" in the carriage meant that the characters were coming out faint along their bottom edges. The two screws holding down the carriage rail are in different spots to later SMs, but still recognisable and easy to reach. One of the screws wasn't very tight at all. Slackening-off both screws to the "just tight enough to hold fast" torque setting and pulling the front rail forward evenly was enough to take all the excessive play out of the rails. Screws tightened and all the characters are now even.

Some people give their typewriters names. I don't. Still, welcome to Typewriter Heaven, Lazarus.

This corner of the firmament is currently without internet. To augment the power of prayer, an engineer will call, apparently. So, photos coming soon with a "how to..." guide on locating the parts addressed above.

Apologies to teeritz for the unauthorised photo borrow. Apologies if references to Christian history offend. Most of all, apologies to you, Giotto - you couldn't have foreseen this misappropriation while you were mixing the egg tempera.


  1. Lucky Lazarus! (And that makes you .... the Typewriter Savior.)

  2. Good example of a typewriter resurrection. Hi, Lazarus!

  3. Looking forward to seeing your SM-2

    1. "Studio" is temp out of bounds but there are some SOHO pics coming soon - like now.