Wednesday, 30 April 2014

British Steel





14 comments:

  1. Except for the ribbon vibrator mechanism the Empire looks like it could be a Montana Luxe. My Luxe has the same as on your Hermes.

    Both of those machines look great.

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  2. Some of the earlier Hermes baby machines had the paper rest in front of the paper table. Yet the later Empire machines had it behind. There's a fair amount of variation in both machines.

    The empire - or at least the ones with the round keys, tend have another difference. The carriage is set up oddly along with the ribbon vibrator, and due to the very subtle difference you may notice that the empire tends to conceal text behind the ribbon after it is typed.

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  3. I have a very late blue Empire that's co-branded Smith-Corona, that needs a mainspring replaced, that I think I'm going to compare my new Empire to when I get back. It looks like it is quite similar to your Baby.

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  4. Very observant -- it is fun to discover these differences.

    I think those cam-like bits in the left platen knobs are meant to hold the carriage return lever. You press it into the platen knob, then rotate the tip so that it doesn't stick up anymore; it catches on the cammy bits and the lever remains stuck against the knob.

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    1. Actually, I think it serves as a sort of locknut for that side of the carriage. I vaguely remember having to align it a certain way and unscrew it to remove the platen on my '56 Empire.

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    2. The manual for the Baby refers to twisting the left platen knob is the way to release the platen (to rotate independently of the linespace ratchet) which must involve an 'unscrewing' motion. I'd just assumed that the plastic pip on the inner surface was to limit the amount of unscrewing to just sufficient to release the clutch. Anyone with a 100% working Baby?

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  5. That is an interesting comparison. I particularly like the photography.

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  6. Thanks for the informative comparison, it's good resource for the typosphere.

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  7. My 1956 Empire has the ribbon vibrator pivoting from the right, like your Hermes, and also lacks the middle pivot. It also has the paper rest hidden behind the table like your Hermes:
    http://typewriterdatabase.com/1956-empire-aristocrat.1083.typewriter

    I believe I've seen Hermes with the vibrator connected to the left side (notagain's?). Maybe these differences are due to year of manufacture?

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    1. That must be it. The machine you reference has none of those differences to the Hermes - except probably the weight.

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  8. Interesting. I wonder which is better to type on - is solid steel better than a fatter roller?

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    1. That would have been an unfair contest.I spent ages sorting out and cleaning the pivots of the Baby but only a few seconds dropping lighter fluid onto aristocratic stiff joints. So obviously this particular Baby runs a lot more smoothly than the Aristocrat - but the latter has some great detail and promises to equal if not surpass the Baby.

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  9. Excellent review and research, and good photos (as always). The Hermes you chose for comparison is an HD II model, introduced by Paillard in 1954. The most visible innovation was the thicker platen. In order to have a 1:1 comparison, we would need to compare the Aristocrat with an HD I Hermes Baby, running from 1940 to 1954. I think your entry very well highlights the differences between the two generations of HD I (here: Aristocrat) and HD II (Baby).

    When is the London type-in scheduled?

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