Typewriter Talk

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30-10-2016 12:52:16  #1


Empire Aristocrat, 1949

This typewriter was my late Dad's and one of my sisters brought it over this afternoon. Its an Empire Aristocrat serial no. H73940 which dates it to 1949. The dealer is a Cambridge (UK) one and Dad would have been at Cambridge University then. Quite keen to fix it or at least stop further deterioration. It smells of creosote for some reason as if it had been stored in a garage which is possible. It was certainly stored in my sisters loft
http://i1305.photobucket.com/albums/s546/OldGreyBeard59/P1330855_zpstagbohow.jpg


http://i1305.photobucket.com/albums/s546/OldGreyBeard59/P1330856_zpsmkblczig.jpg


http://i1305.photobucket.com/albums/s546/OldGreyBeard59/P1330857_zpskv5qhsn0.jpg


http://i1305.photobucket.com/albums/s546/OldGreyBeard59/P1330858_zpsi60tdogm.jpg


http://i1305.photobucket.com/albums/s546/OldGreyBeard59/P1330859_zpsgykh1vxa.jpg


The felt seems to have been eaten by moths! The felt is used for sound deadening and as the rest for the typebars. Not sure what to use to replace it. Something moth proof I suppose!

Two of the screws that hold the covers on won't undo so have been given the penetrating oil treatment which will hopefully do the trick. Basically it seems OK, a little stiff, a little rusty in places but basically OK. One of the spools a plastic & the other metal.

The plan is to clean it up as best I can although I think the platen will probably have to be replaced if I think its worth it.

The thing is, is it too far gone?






 

 

30-10-2016 13:22:23  #2


Re: Empire Aristocrat, 1949

OldGreyBeard wrote:

The thing is, is it too far gone? 

I don't think so. I've bought Aristocrat and Baby models in much worse condition and brought them back to fully functional condition. One had been found in a snowdrift at the side of a barn; it was a rusted lump, but today it can produced typed pages as it should. Open her up, give her a thorough cleaning, and assess what problems it has before assuming the worst. Given its history it would be worth some effort to bring it back to life. 


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

30-10-2016 14:01:18  #3


Re: Empire Aristocrat, 1949

I got the front cover off fine. Two stuck screws on the rear cover have been treated with penetrating oil to look at again tomorrow. The mechanism seems basically OK. All the keys move. Its just the felt is a mess plus some rust on the case. For the felt I was thinking of replacing it with modern but would prefer a wool based felt if I can find it. As for the rust, I'm thinking of sanding it down and then coating with renaissance wax to stop it rusting. I'm reluctant to repaint.

The screws are rather well made. Not like modern screws as they have a point.

     Thread Starter
 

30-10-2016 16:19:09  #4


Re: Empire Aristocrat, 1949

There are any number of things you could use besides felt, but most likely, since you'll have that machine indoors and in better surroundings instead of non-climate controlled storage, the chances are that you won't have to worry too much about moths, since the machine will have some fresh oil in it, as opposed to being thoroughly dry.  And as for repainting it, one's own discretion is to be relied on for that.  If it were me, I'd put a nice hammertone silver on it--it would look Fabulous.


Underwood--Speeds the World's Bidness
 

30-10-2016 17:26:50  #5


Re: Empire Aristocrat, 1949

I've been doing a bit of online research & I've found that there is a whole world of wool felt of which I was previously unaware. Different thicknesses & colours. Some of the best stuff comes from Germany as with so many things. They even have a standard for it (DIN EN71) but then the British (I'm English) have a standard for tea (BS6008). Each to their own I suppose.

The felt is attached using a black paste like material which I think must be a bitumen based glue which leads to the creosote https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creosote like smell. I think I'll replace the old moth eaten felt with new using the old stuff to make paper templates and using a rubber solution glue such as Copydex. Who knows what's dormant in the old felt....

I'm reluctant to paint the case as it has decals etc. A clean and a wax or a clear varnish on the previously rusty bits I think. In the end the typewriter is over 60 years old and its reasonable that it looks its age. Its actually only ten years older than me!

     Thread Starter
 

30-10-2016 19:48:23  #6


Re: Empire Aristocrat, 1949

Aw, I think it's going to clean up nice! I have one of these from a year later, 1950. I was going to say just replace the felt with felt, but looks like you've discovered that. ;) 

 

30-10-2016 21:45:15  #7


Re: Empire Aristocrat, 1949

Let's see -- Empire machines were made in West Brom; Imperials were made in Leicester, is that right?

Where were the British-made Remingtons produced? I really get confused about the different factories.

Definitely worth the work to restore it, given its family history. Have fun with this project -- your research on the felt tells me you're a "fellow traveler."

 

31-10-2016 03:08:27  #8


Re: Empire Aristocrat, 1949

The Empire Aristrocrats were made by British typewriter in West Brom which is in the West Midlands. Imperials were made in Leicester which is in the East Midlands and Remingtons in London.

My Aristocrat has responded to a degree to cleaning with a toothbrush and warm water with some washing up liquid in it. It seems to have a layer of dirt/crud. I reckon its all that nicotine (Dad smoked a pipe until the 1970s) and coal smoke.

Hopefully the remaining screws will have responded to the penetrating oil when I have another go tonight. If not, then it'll be the WD40.

     Thread Starter
 

31-10-2016 10:58:10  #9


Re: Empire Aristocrat, 1949

Thanks for the information. Good luck with those screws -- just remember to keep the WD40 away from moving parts! 

 

31-10-2016 12:26:31  #10


Re: Empire Aristocrat, 1949

OldGreyBeard wrote:

I'm reluctant to paint the case as it has decals etc.

Decals aside, I definitely would not paint it given your family history with the typewriter. This was your father's machine, and despite its wear it is fully resplendent with its decades of hard-earned patina. To cover that up with an impersonal layer of rattle can paint would be a travesty.


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

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