Thursday 19 January 2012

The Human Calendar®

NOTE: sorry, typewriter-free post

I found this over on Fresh Ribbon.

Click it to get your very own, or go here.

This one's set at GMT/UTC but you can pick any time zone.

Monday 9 January 2012


Maschinengeschrieben had a knack of turning up interesting videos which feature typewriters. Here's a couple which came my way via Google alerts. The first is from British Pathé.

...and a short film from Groton, the cradle of Corona. (Opens in new window)

Thursday 5 January 2012

RR1-carriage strapped

I received an enquiry from James (hi James) by e-mail. Here's the gist of it:

"In the middle of last year I bought a Remington Rand Model 1. It looked great but came with a few hitches, which I had managed to sort out, myself. One of which was a faulty bell mechanism. I found your blog and I fixed it with a safety pin. So thanks for that.

Anyway, I was using it today and it has broken in a new and exciting way. Underneath the typewriter there is a wheel (I don't know the proper lingo for the parts) and there is a chord that comes out from this wheel and goes off somewhere. I don't know where it goes because today it snapped off and bits of thread and dust went everywhere on the desk and beneath the machine and I can't tell where it originally belonged. short: The chord snapped beneath the typewriter. The end attached to the spring-loaded wheel is still attached. The other end is not. Do you know where it should be?"

The path of the carriage strap, the darker part being obscured from this (and any other) angle.
The fix:
  1. Get some fresh cord. Something around 2mm diameter as it will need to be fine enough and flexible enough to travel from the motor round the pulley. Old nylon guitar string/tennis racket gut/cobbler's thread - improvise.
  2. You'll also need a 12" length of stiff wire and a small screwdriver.
  3. Knot the end of the cord and slot it into the appropriate slot in the motor's rim. The remaining short end should point you in the right direction. Having the machine in your lap on a cushion works best for me but however you hold the typewriter, you'll run out of hands.
  4. From below, wind the cord around the motor once in a clockwise direction and, with the carriage moved out of the way to one side, drop the free end of the cord (which has now miraculously transformed into a carriage strap) over the pulley where it immediately doubles back on itself. A blob of BluTak may serve to keep the cord temporarily on the rim of the motor before step 5.
  5. Gently and gingerly, thread your length of wire along the path shown in the photo. If you hit an obstruction, stop and use something thinner or improve your aim. An unbent wire coat hanger may work, if that's too thick or you don't have one, try my favourite makeshift tool - a bicycle spoke.
  6. Tape the end of the cord to the wire and carefully pull it through and clamp it lightly at the far end of the carriage.
  7. With the carriage exerting the just a little tension on the motor, and positioned at the end of the carriages travel (as if you were typing), knot the cord and secure the clamp.
  8. The tension in the motor should be just enough to overcome the weight of the carriage and the friction it encounters as it travels along the rails. Just enough to get to the end of the line. Any greater tension could cause the escapement to skip spaces as you type. You can wind on more tension (or slacken it off) using the ratchet lever on top of the motor, visible when the carriage is all the way to the right.
I think that's it. Comments or improvements to this technique welcome!