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07-9-2018 17:29:35  #1


IBM Actionwriter / 6715

I'm finding it hard to tell what the original colour of the casing was for the Actionwriter. I sort of assumed at first that the case of my Actionwriter was much darker than the keys because the keys were made of a plastic which is less susceptible to ageing. But when I think about it, the case doesn't have that horrible yellowed aged look that happens to a lot of white plastic. It's more like a light brown, which contrasts nicely with the darker brown of the base. It's actually quite nice in a way.

But if it was originally white, then for psychological reasons I'm more inclined to do a paint job and make it a custom colour like dark green - I think that might work well with the green 'code' text on some of the keys.

Wheelwriter on left, Actionwriter on right. Note that just before taking this pic I'd taken all the keys off the Actionwriter to give them a thorough cleaning as they were filthy, so the difference in colour between keys and casing really shows up:

https://thumb.ibb.co/bGyWFU/actionwriter_colour.jpg


Does anyone have any thoughts, both on what the original original colour was and ideas for a custom colour?

 

 

07-9-2018 23:19:20  #2


Re: IBM Actionwriter / 6715

Hi Roginald

Do a search on Retro-Bright home brewed plastic whitener. There was quite the discussion about this formulation on the old Yahoo Portable Typewriter forum back in 2012 if I remember correctly. The bromide that is mixed in with the plastic as a fire retardant reacts with the environment causing the plastic to turn brownish yellow. The hydrogen peroxide and Oxy-clean in the formula somehow react with the bromide on the molecular level to reverse this discoloration. I forget all the ins and outs of the mix ratio and procedure, but I'm sure it's still out on the web somewhere. All the best,

Sky

 

08-9-2018 03:21:42  #3


Re: IBM Actionwriter / 6715

All the Actionwriters that I remember were white.  If you manage to find Sky's suggegestion on the net, and try it, I'm sure that everyone would like to know how it works ou.t  And if it doesn't work - you haven't lost a thing since you were considering painting the casing anyway !

 

08-9-2018 13:19:16  #4


Re: IBM Actionwriter / 6715

skywatcher wrote:

Hi Roginald

Do a search on Retro-Bright home brewed plastic whitener. There was quite the discussion about this formulation on the old Yahoo Portable Typewriter forum back in 2012 if I remember correctly. The bromide that is mixed in with the plastic as a fire retardant reacts with the environment causing the plastic to turn brownish yellow. The hydrogen peroxide and Oxy-clean in the formula somehow react with the bromide on the molecular level to reverse this discoloration. I forget all the ins and outs of the mix ratio and procedure, but I'm sure it's still out on the web somewhere. All the best,

Sky

Thanks for that! I had a look and there's even a good article on Wikipedia about it. Fascinating stuff. I am tempted, and may have a go but I'm finding it hard to decide. From looking around at some results people get with that method, it seems it often isn't perfectly uniform. I'm not a perfectionist by any means, but I am wondering if I should just count myself lucky that at least my Actionwriter does look very uniform at the moment. It really could be designed like that if I didn't know better.

thetypewriterman wrote:

All the Actionwriters that I remember were white.  If you manage to find Sky's suggegestion on the net, and try it, I'm sure that everyone would like to know how it works ou.t  And if it doesn't work - you haven't lost a thing since you were considering painting the casing anyway !

Whatever I decide to do I'd like to be able to get the case off neatly. There are two screws underneath near the front, when they are out the case lifts up easily at the front, and I think if I shove it hard enough backwards it may just lift off the back, but I don't want to damage anything. Do either of you remember how to take the case off neatly?

 

     Thread Starter
 

08-9-2018 17:11:11  #5


Re: IBM Actionwriter / 6715

I am so sorry, I cannot remember precisely how the top casing comes off.  It must be decades since I have fixed one.  Just before you pull and shove too much and break something, check carefully at the top behind the platen to see if there are a couple of recessed screws holding the casing down from the top.  Other makers often do this.

 

09-9-2018 16:44:06  #6


Re: IBM Actionwriter / 6715

thetypewriterman wrote:

I am so sorry, I cannot remember precisely how the top casing comes off.  It must be decades since I have fixed one.  Just before you pull and shove too much and break something, check carefully at the top behind the platen to see if there are a couple of recessed screws holding the casing down from the top.  Other makers often do this.

I'll have a look for those, thanks.

I realised that since Actionwriters are quite hard to come by, and I really like mine, that I should probably try my first custom paint job on a more readily available machine as a learning exercise.

I've taken apart a Nakajima AX160 which I managed to get "on the cheap"; it's lying in bits on the table and I'm waiting for the paint to arrive in the post. I'll probably create a separate thread with pics to show the innards and the results.

     Thread Starter
 

09-9-2018 17:37:25  #7


Re: IBM Actionwriter / 6715

Roginald wrote:

I realised that since Actionwriters are quite hard to come by...

I *think* the model was only around for three years, from May '85 to May '88, when it was replaced by the Personal Wheelwriter (6781). And when personal computers and printers began to replace electronic typewriters en masse, the perceived value for such typewriters wasn't the same as it was (still is) for mechanical typewriters and were more likely to be disposed of. 


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

10-9-2018 05:42:43  #8


Re: IBM Actionwriter / 6715

Uwe wrote:

I *think* the model was only around for three years, from May '85 to May '88, when it was replaced by the Personal Wheelwriter (6781).

Interesting history, thanks. I'd love to see a collection of old adverts for these machines to get a feel for their value in their day, not just financially but also how desirable their features were deemed to be.

I noticed some interesting differences between the Actionwriter and the Wheelwriter. I can't judge the difference in print quality yet, as there is only a continuous ink ribbon (fabric) in my Actionwriter. I consider that to be quite lucky as it means I can re-ink it easily (it separates without the plastic snapping and I've already re-inked it once) if carbon film cassettes become no longer available. But I have a cassette on the way so I can see it's output at its best.

Anyway going from the Actionwriter to the Wheelwriter, not everything is an improvement. The Wheelwriter is faster in both typing and carriage return, but the Actionwriter is quite pleasing in other ways. It doesn't hum, and I prefer the typing sound. Also, when you press backspace / correction, it will happily move back up a line and go to the end of it, unlike the Wheelwriter. A small thing but very neat and one wonders why on earth the Personal Wheelwriter didn't carry this functionality over.

     Thread Starter
 

10-9-2018 05:44:37  #9


Re: IBM Actionwriter / 6715

I should add that I am aware that IBM didn't make the Actionwriter, but I think it was thetypewriterman that said the circuit was made by IBM, hence me being curious why the capability to move up to a previous line when correcting didn't make it from the Actionwriter to the Wheelwriter.

     Thread Starter
 

10-9-2018 12:11:39  #10


Re: IBM Actionwriter / 6715

Roginald wrote:

… going from the Actionwriter to the Wheelwriter, not everything is an improvement. The Wheelwriter is faster in both typing and carriage return, but the Actionwriter is quite pleasing in other ways. It doesn't hum, and I prefer the typing sound...

As a general comment, it's worth pointing out that the age and condition of a typewriter should be factored in when making comparisons between various models. Too many (most) typewriter bloggers seem to overlook this important fact when critiquing the comparative performance of their typewriters, and they consequently work under the incorrect assumption that how a typewriter currently works is reflective of how it performed when it was new.

When comparing two machines you can't ignore the effect that worn parts - or components that require adjustment (service) - can have on their performance. Is it a fair comparison when one machine might have been infrequently used during its service life and received regular maintenance, while the other was a workhorse that produced thousands of additional typed pages, and its upkeep was neglected? 

With respect to your observation, I wonder if the Wheelwriter you have made that annoying humming sound when it was new, or could it be the result of worn or dried-out motor bearings (or some other component that requires attention)? 

According to IBM, the "Personal Wheelwriter (6781) provides a high-function, affordable typewriter for the classroom, home, or office environment. It offers the advanced technology of the Wheelwriter Typewriter family -keyboard, printwheel, and supplies, along with many advanced, easy to use features, and durable Wheelwriter Typewriter construction - at an attractive entry price. Available options include a Sound Hood, Spell Check, and Printer Option. The Personal Wheelwriter Typewriter has considerably more function than the Actionwriter I Typewriter, which it replaces. Because of its function, durability, and small size, the Personal Wheelwriter is an excellent machine for teaching basic keyboarding and typing skills in a classroom environment."

I haven't found (yet) a detailed features list in my notes for the Personal Wheelwriter, but did find one for the Actionwriter I. It would have been nice to compare the two. Supporting your comments on correction features, the Actionwriter I list includes:
o   Automatic correction (two lines)
o   Manual correction - anywhere on the page


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

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