Friday, January 13, 2017

James Baldwin speaks from a public typewriter

The public typewriter that I set up in my office building some time ago doesn't get a lot of use, but once in a while it proves its value, as when I found a wonderful quote from James Baldwin on it the other day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Service call for a Conover

There are some models I see again and again coming in for service at The Urban Legend Institute: Royal Quiet De Luxe, Royal KMM, Smith-Corona Galaxie, Underwood no. 5, and so on. Many typewriters are from the late ’40s, reflecting the upsurge in typewriter manufacturing after the war. But I got a surprise the other day when a customer recently brought in a Woodstock, an Oliver 9, and a Conover. With his permission, I'm sharing some pictures of thc Conover here.

This is a rarely-found name variant of the Chicago sold by Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co., a big Chicago hardware store which originated the still-famous name True Value Hardware.

Some cleaning is in order:

When you remove the name plate you see the wonderfully ingenious mechanism (which was left exposed on the predecessor to the Chicago, the Munson).

An exchangeable type cylinder rotates and slides into the correct position.

This ribbon is long, purple, and one inch wide.

A view with the ribbon and type cylinder removed:

The centers of the ribbon spools are covered in inky wax.

This machine is nearly complete, but is missing the bell clapper. (Thanks to Greg Fudacz of Antikey Chop for sending me one!)

Note the serial number stamped into the shaft on which the type cylinder turns; it matches the machine's serial number (5383). The type cylinder is also stamped with little numbers, which may be a serial or may designate the type style.

This machine should look very pretty once I'm done with it. I'll post followup pics when it's ready.