Typewriter Talk

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01-2-2017 05:55:27  #21

Re: Typewriter Tune Ups & Modifications

I agree with you, echan, that the action is an important part of the kinesthetic  typing experience and what characterizes the "action" is fascinating. You did something analogous to adjusting spark plug timing and I'm interested what effect this had on the feel, but my hunch is that most of action is inherent in the design of the linkage and cannot be modified.  Throw length is one variable and a second is the way the linkage handles kinetic energy. A satisfying action stores energy on the down stroke the way a baseball bat stores energy as you swing it, so when the bat meets the ball (you hope) most of the work is done by the bat and not your hands. The reaction of the bat on your hand as you swing it gives the satisfying feeling of swinging the thing!  Type actions are more complicated than bats and more like piano actions (that is, by the way, both the term of art for the physical linkages that transmit finger stroke to string and for the feel of the thing to the finger).

I have now exceeded the maximum allowable length of connected though for a Twitter age post and the gods are rumbling in displeasure! 

One of my favorite actions is the LC Smith Secretarial - it has a long stroke and when you get up to speed the thing seems to fairly bounce under your fingers - and one of my least is Royal Futura, which does not give me the feeling of accumulating energy at all but feels like I am slamming the type into the paper with a rigid finger extension. At least on the particular examples that I tried.

"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton".

01-2-2017 21:36:18  #22

Re: Typewriter Tune Ups & Modifications

I notice that the stroke action in an Underwood keyboard, beginning with the SX-150, is about 1/8" shallower than most other typewriters, including the older-style Underwoods.  Oh, it's a very good touch, and surprisingly light.  I just remember there was something very different about the feel about a newer style Underwood versus the older style and other brand.  That's when I decided to measure the stroke of the keys on several typewriters, and what I've found was that Underwood was about 1/8" shorter of stroke overall.

Underwood--Speeds the World's Bidness

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