A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying

A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying
A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying the latest digital.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A True Newspaper Man’s Typewriter

Pursuing Craig’s List here locally I came across a simple listing with a somewhat out of focus image.  The listing said simply Royal Typewriter.  Works.  $10.  The image was clear enough to see that that the typewriter in question was not a complete disaster so I called the number.  I spoke with the owner who said he was going out of town for one day and would call me upon his return.

After two days I had not received a call from the seller and I figured that he had sold the machine to someone else.  As it was still listed I again called the owner.  He said that he had not gotten around to returning my call but had been contacted by another individual who stated he would give $20 for the typewriter.  He further said that individual was also waiting on a return call.  Being only a few blocks away I asked if I could come over to see that machine, and if it was in good shape I would be willing to pay the same $20.

Upon arrival at the sellers house I was greeted by a man that appeared to be in his 80’s.  He showed me the Royal Quiet Deluxe and I gave him $20.  He seemed very perplexed that anyone would be interested in such old devices and was just glad to have someone take it off his hands.

We got to talking and the seller had purchased the typewriter new and used it until computers took over.  He had been a reporter at our local newspaper, the Kansas City Star.  He said the machine has served him well all those years until his retirement almost twenty-five years ago.

The inside looked like he had just closed it up on his last day and never opened it again until now.  Inside the case, besides the dirty but well taken care of machine, was several pieces of carbon paper (Some used and maybe one day I will try to see what was copied using them.).  Also inside the case was a Royal brush and a well-used eraser with a brush attached on the other end.  And a ribbon from Sears.  He also still had the manual, what looks like a Royal brochure, and booklet called “The Modern Secretary”.

The serial number revealed the Royal had been manufactured in 1953.  If the owner bought it new that year it would have seen the inside of a newsroom for over 35 years.  A small piece of history.

More to come...................
Kansas City Star: This newspaper has served the city since 1880.  Founded by William 
Rockhill Nelson. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kansas_City_Star)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

IBM Selectric is a Tough Typewriter

I had a scare last night.  Been a long day.  I was doing some non-typewriter tasks in my office.  While carrying a box of files I backed into the typewriter stand on which set my Selectric I.  Well, over went the stand and typewriter face first with a crash onto the metal leg on my desk chair.  I just knew the typewriter would be a loss.  When it hit I saw a piece go flying.

Upon inspection the right side platen knob was broken off and the platen itself freely turned.  I regained my composure and studied the again upright typewriter and stand.  No obvious nicks in the paint.  I figured out that the paper lever had been pushed forward allowing the platen to freely rotate.   A simple flip and that was corrected.  I then tentatively flipped the switch and hoped for the best.  The old Selectric came right on, sounded fine, and performed flawlessly through a couple of lines of typing.

Luckily the right hand platen knob had broken freely off the machine in one piece.  Super Glue on three points, and the after sitting overnight was as good as new (There is a very small chip in the plastic).  So, big heavy Selectric typewriters are apparently really made to take abuse.

By-the-way, I have been unable to locate a good source for Selectric serial numbers.  If anyone knows a reference please let me know.  I did see another one with a slightly lower serial number and it was stated to have been manufactured in 1964, so I am assuming mine is about 1965.  The serial number is 5239981.

More to come...................