Category Archives: Thrift shop finds

Super-Duper

fake Superman, with genuine Super-Riter

You may have seen this before – but if not, it’s “Superman” (the fictional one, not the real one), typing on his typewriter – A Remington SUPER-RITER. I bet he had a sore back, because of his arm position. He should have had one of my typewriter shelves, but alas they weren’t around in his time. Here is my Super-Riter:

genuine 1961 Remington Super-Riter

side view, viewers left/stage right

After using this new acquisition, I have to agree that it is SUPER! I’m not keen on big heavy desk models, since they are a pain to move around, and I have nowhere to permanently place one. But I grabbed this big boy from a thrift shop last week, because it called to me. I bent down and typed a few letters on it in the store, and the smooth action was remarkable. I had previously seen one at a church bazaar, and recalled that it was very quiet, smooth and precise. So this time I jumped in and brought it home. It needed a minimal amount of cleaning, but was otherwise in fine shape. There was one niggling problem however: the ribbon selector was erratic. After several sessions on the net, I discovered a very interesting feature of this machine – it folds open! Yes, they called this “fold-a-matic”. Munk, praise be to him, had the instructions for opening the back of the machine up. Polt, too, ever helpful in time of need, provided the service manual. With this combination of precise instructions I  proceeded to open the machine. This is analogous to open heart surgery for typewriters, but typewriters feel no pain and cannot be killed, as far as we know, except by Superman.

open Super-Riter

There are numerous blogs with information on the Super-Riter, but this is the first one to feature an actual open heart operation. Be sure you’re seated and have someone with first aid experience nearby while watching this, unless you’re a doctor. It is shocking! The back opens up with the removal of a few screws. First one removes the platen, however, achieved by flipping two levers and lifting it off. Dead simple. Oops, I didn’t mean to say dead, excuse me.

flip the L shaped lever and lift out the platen (2 of)

Once you remove the screws, the back almost opens by itself. I tilted the back open, exposing the ribbon selector-vibrator parts and performed a minimally invasive procedure known as a selector-ectomy, involving a small screwdriver and some simple but precise adjustments. Then it was time to close, which was as simple as opening, except in reverse order. The biggest risk is losing a screw, which I often do, but this time I got lucky and there were no missing or leftover pieces after reassembly was complete.

hole for screw (centre) to remove for opening. Note the solid steel rails!

view of the main spring and tab mechanism (to the right of the motor)

ribbon selector-vibrator linkage

Super-Riter is back in one piece now and recovering well. It’s a marvelous bit of engineering, and it types with near perfection. The sole downside is the weight, 32 lbs. It’s so heavy that when you get typing, the machine will begin to sway even a solid table due to resonance and its mass. Placed on a heavy table, I imagine it would be heavenly. On a TV tray, extremely risky! Not for card tables this sucker.

with platen out, it’s simple to remove all the rollers too.

 

last but very important – the bottom

Indeed, what more could you want?

in case you need help to change the ribbon – there are still typewriter repairmen – in Montreal!

one last look

In summary – the Remington Super-Riter can best be described as a luxury typewriter, engineered and built to the very best standards, during the glory years of Western Civilization, c. 80-30 BC (Before China). During the early years of that era, men dictated and women typed on these things, that is until Superman came along and lead the way for men to use them without embarrassment. Now, men all over the world covet them and wouldn’t dream of allowing women near their precious machines. Women have moved on, however, so the joke is on men!

P.S.  to find plans for my typewriter shelf click this link:

https://nathanguitars.com/2016/02/26/the-oliver-courier/

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Filed under History, Repairs, Technology, Thrift shop finds, Typewriter accessories, Typewriters, Uncategorized

Auction Madness

Smith Corona Clipper Item #156

Last week I saw this Clipper was to be auctioned at Salvation Army. The auction closed at 6 pm. I left at 5.20 in pouring rain, thinking I was mad to go out in this weather. When I arrived, the parking lot was full and there was a crowd waiting for the end of the auction. It was a silent auction, so they claimed, but in reality it wasn’t. If anyone there was interested in anything at all, they held a live auction after closing of the silent auction. I checked the Clipper – still the same price after a week. One bid. I hung out and found something I needed, a ruler for an old drafting machine I picked up last week, to use for laying out large paintings. A bargain at $2.

More waiting around, then I checked the price of the typewriter – same as before. OK, I was now convinced nobody was interested in the typewriter but me. I got a bid form and filled in my bid for $2 more. So generous. The silent auction closed at 6 pm and 10 minutes later they threw open the auction to induce more bidding, of course. The real bidding was about to begin. The first thing up was some gold jewelry. There were half a dozen people keen to have that. The silent auction “winning bid” was $40, but it went for $200. After that there was more of the same. Jewelry, more jewelry and then something called Donald and Mickey. I presume that was Duck and Mouse, but certain humorous images popped into my head just the same.

A guy who told me he’d driven in from way out of town in the darkness and driving rain bought that. After a half hour passed I decided to inquire about the typewriter. Big mistake! Now it would go live and open for bids by anyone present. I should have left my bid and gone home. But, as luck would have it, I was the sole interested party. I paid and went to get my prize. A fellow saw me putting the typewriter in its case.

“If I’d known it had a case, I would have bid on that”, he said, then added, “Tom Hanks uses a typewriter”.

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Remington Repair for Dunces* tm reg’d!

1929 Remington Portable #3

platen advance lever

missing stud replaced with a nail

I recently acquired a 1929 Remington portable 3. I now have a 1, 2  & 3 of these, and it’s interesting to see the slight differences as the design was changed. The model 3 I found was missing a small stud from the carriage advance lever. I knocked out the embedded bit and hammered in a small nail in its place. That fixed the problem, and the typewriter is now working well – amazing for a 90 year old machine! The model 3 has a slightly wider platen than the #2, which was slightly wider than #1. The #1 had a simple advance mechanism that was much improved with the addition of the lever on model 2, which carried over to model 3. Model 2 had the original lifting typebars, which are gone in model 3, in favour of a low panel on the top front that conceal the slightly raised typebars. I assume this saved money in manufacturing, by eliminating the lifting mechanism. Something was lost however, in the way of a very interesting and unique feature. Model 3 also introduced a margin release key and fixed tabs, marked with a red keytop, as Olivetti became well known for later on with the Lettera 22. But Remington was first!

1922 Remington Portable #1

1926 Remington Portable #2 (note German keyboard)

model 1 side view with lifting typebars

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Filed under History, Repairs, Technology, Thrift shop finds, Typecasting, Typewriters

Can’t Help Lovin’ That Sterling

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Filed under Poetry, Thrift shop finds, Typecasting, Typewriters, Uncategorized, writing

Be The Toast You Wish to Eat

Grandpa’s toaster

Sunbeam – classic 2 slice automatic

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OBE Typewriter

You may have heard of the USB typewriter, but what about the OBE? The OBE is in this case an honour bestowed by Elizabeth Regina, aka HM the Queen. It wasn’t bestowed on a typewriter, but on its owner. I discovered this today, due to a label that was affixed to the typewriter in question. How it ended up in Victoria, I’ll never know, but there it was. It’s a 1965 Olivetti Lettera 32, made in Ivrea, Italy. It has an unusually tiny typeface, too, about 12.5 characters/inch, like the Hermes elite. In any case, the label and address gave me all the information I required for a search, and it turned up the address, and some interesting things about the owner. I won’t divulge the name, as I think this would be inappropriate, but I will reveal the view from his one time residence, and the extract from the Belfast Gazette where it was noted he received honours from the Queen. The typewriter has French characters, as well as the German double S, and a QWERTZ keyboard. It is in perfect condition, and came with a thick typing pad. All it needed was a good wipe, as the ribbon is still in fine shape.

The owner once looked out at this scene. Liverpool is over there somewhere…..

 

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Slip Stick Analog Converter

Discovered in a thrift shop last week. It’s not exactly a slide rule, although it resembles one. It’s a metric converter, and if the USA ever joins the metric world, these will be in high demand. Get one now while they’re cheap; only 8 Euros on Ebay! This handy tool does a great job and is accurate enough for most applications, unless you are in need of scientific accuracy. To underscore the historical significance of this gadget, the Smithsonian considers it worthy of a webpage. With one moving part, it should last several lifetimes. The sliding cursor is unnecessary, so I don’t count that.

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