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04-10-2018 20:35:43  #1


A few questions from a new typewriter ally!

Hello all, thanks for this forum-- I've learned a lot about this new interest of mine.

A few questions:

1)  I've been "gathering" typewriters, more than I can rehabilitate/use for now.  What is the best way to store these machines, to prevent further degradation?  I currently have them stored with paper rollers disengaged, in their cases, in a dry basement.  Is that enough?

2)  I've acquired, and had professionally cleaned, a 1940s Speedline SC Silent.  Awesome!  However, I would say that I need to type considerably slower, and with much more focus on regular rhythm, than a newer machine-- else the letters "stack up" due to missed carriage advances.  Is this "sluggishness" a feature of older machines, or is mine simply not performing as well as it ought to?   Either way, "Miles Davis playing the trumpet," is an apt description of typing with this!

3)  I've now seen twelve platens, and although generally "hard," some are quite able to take an indent by fingernail.  How "squishy" is a new (general use) platen?  Thoughts on turboplaten vs. JJ?

Cheers,
Robin
 

 

05-10-2018 07:12:35  #2


Re: A few questions from a new typewriter ally!

Fragpie wrote:

  Either way, "Miles Davis playing the trumpet," is an apt description of typing with this!


 

Beautiful description...

Sorry I can't answer any of your questions... newbie collector myself, but with similar issues... my collection os growing and hardly any time to clean them up... It's going to have to be a winter project.

 

07-10-2018 12:25:39  #3


Re: A few questions from a new typewriter ally!

I've now seen twelve platens, and although generally "hard," some are quite able to take an indent by fingernail.  How "squishy" is a new (general use) platen?  Thoughts on turboplaten vs. JJ


- Generally, if it the rubber gives to a fingernail, it still has some life left (there might even be some pitting as well). I personally enlist the service of JJ Short for my machines. Wonderful quality and excellent customer service. I think they also provide discounts for multiple platens of the same core type.


The Tinkering Typist, Master Tinkerteer.
https://thetinkeringtypist.blogspot.com/

My Typewriters at The Typewriter Database
 

07-10-2018 15:54:22  #4


Re: A few questions from a new typewriter ally!

1. Your storage regimen sounds fine. High humidity is definitely a killer, so as long as your basement is dry that shouldn't be an issue.

2. Your description of the Smith-Corona Silent leads me to believe it needs service. Those new to typing on a typewriter often need to adapt their technique. Touch typing on a mechanical machine is very different than using a plastic computer keyboard, but unless you type extremely fast, your machine should not be bunching its type bars. There could be several reasons for this - all better discussed in the Maintenance sub-forum here. A search will also pull up many existing topics discussing this subject.

3. The safe approach is to assume your platens are hard. A fingernail is not a reliable test, I use a durometer to test my platens. Always use a backing sheet - or two - and search the forum using "platen hardness" for more information. 


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

08-10-2018 02:54:09  #5


Re: A few questions from a new typewriter ally!

I would be very interested to know if anyone here has tried a 'Turboplaten', and what they think of it.  I wasn't aware of this until recently, but from what I have seen on the internet, I wonder if it grips the paper as well as a rubber one would.  I don't doubt that the impressions work fine, as long as the material has a similar reilience to rubber of course.

 

08-10-2018 07:32:45  #6


Re: A few questions from a new typewriter ally!

Turboplaten...hmmm. I learned something new. Now I'm curious about it as well.

 

08-10-2018 12:10:07  #7


Re: A few questions from a new typewriter ally!

Why would anyone buy a so-called Turboplaten?

According to its inventor, the product is a result of home experimentation, which led him to use PVC tubing as a replacement for rubber. PVC can be nasty stuff, and I’m not buying this shade tree mechanic’s answer to the replacement of worn platens.

Reading over his claims only supports my hesitation.

First, he boasts about the platen’s durability based on a ten-year-old test subject that was only subjected to “general and sporadic usage”. I have rubber platens three times that old, and have seen three times the action, and are still performing as they should - not to mention they're still soft enough for safe use.

He also claims that the Turboplaten "is more resilient than rubber, hence more responsive to the strike of the typeslug [sic], increasing the speed of typebar [sic] retraction”. In other words he’s trying to convince us that PVC is better at absorbing impact than rubber, and as a result it kicks back the type bar faster, which in turn presumably makes your typewriter faster.

Nonsense.

Has he actually performed objective, scientifically accurate testing to substantiate that claim? If so, let’s see it. Based on what he’s saying I’m not convinced that he even understands how a type bar actually works.

He goes on to state that PVC “doesn't decompose like rubber, [and] outlasts by a significant -- and still increasing -- margin.”

He’s right. PVC doesn’t decompose like rubber, it decomposes like polyvinyl chloride, which is a synthetic plastic – and it’s not a pretty thing. If you’re not already familiar with the subject, I strongly recommend that you read up on the realities of PVC degradation, microplastics, and how we ingest them, and then try to convince me that it’s a wonder replacement for rubber.

Finally, he claims that he’s sold around six hundred Turboplatens. That could very well be true; however, whether it’s because I don’t pay enough attention to typewriter bloggers, or don’t know that many collectors who are willing to replace a platen, I’ve yet to come across anyone’s first-hand experience with one. This forum has over 2,000 members, presumably all of them here because of their interest in typewriters, and yet I can't recall anyone having ever gushed about – let alone mention – the Turboplaten.

A Turboplaten will apparently run you USD$100. Yipes, that’s quite an investment considering that the vast majority of my typewriters cost me less than half that price. I’ll admit that it’s been a while since I priced a traditional rubber replacement, but aren’t they cheaper? And even if they were comparably priced, I know that a rubber replacement, given that I’m middle-aged, will last me the rest of my life. And for the sake of preserving the appearance of my machines, rubber (or cork) is a period-accurate material.


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

08-10-2018 12:21:13  #8


Re: A few questions from a new typewriter ally!

Hi Gnu York

Dean Jones of Writertypes on eBay has been working extensively with all makes and models of typewriters for many years and has developed his own solution to the natural degradation of natural rubber by developing a soft PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) platen covering which he calls the Turbo-Platen.

By using clear PVC, the core of the platen can either be polished or painted and the colour of the core comes through the platen covering. Dean's work even gets mention on pages 286-287 of The Typewriter Revolution by Richard Polt, Hope this gives you some starter information on the Turbo-Platen. All the best,

Sky

 

08-10-2018 13:23:15  #9


Re: A few questions from a new typewriter ally!

Uwe wrote:

A Turboplaten will apparently run you USD$100. Yipes, that’s quite an investment considering that the vast majority of my typewriters cost me less than half that price. I’ll admit that it’s been a while since I priced a traditional rubber replacement, but aren’t they cheaper?

JJ Short generally costs between $65-$80 plus shipping both ways. It can vary depending on the size of the platen, whether it has a stepped core, and whether the platen rubber requires special alterations to accommodate the hardware. I think Debarth still does platens as well, and costs more than JJ Short.

I don't know why anyone would choose a Turboplaten when there is JJ Short. I have no experience with Turboplatens, but JJ Short is an established rubber company with extensive experience, materials, tools, and capabilities. Turboplatens are one guy's DIY solution. I am not saying he is without talent, but why would one choose a DIY job over having a platen recovered with the correct materials using the correct methods? I have had many platens recovered by JJ Short. They are the real deal and do excellent work.

 

08-10-2018 20:18:30  #10


Re: A few questions from a new typewriter ally!

Uwe, you make a very good point regarding PVC (offgassing, etc)... that's enough for me to stick with JJ short. Thanks

 

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