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Portable Typewriters » Groma Kolibri vs Olympia SM9 vs Olivetti Lettera 32 » 24-5-2019 07:26:47

teeritz
Replies: 26

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As thetypewriterman said, the SM9 is the clear standout.I have all three  of these machines.

1958 Groma Kolibri looks beautiful, but has a heavier touch than the other two. If the platen rubber has hardened over the years, as it most likely has, then this machine will sound loud.

1981 Lettera 32, I bought it brand new back then and it churned out a zillion school assignments. I thought it was a great typewriter (it really is), but somebody once described it as if it was 'filled with mud' when you type on it. After I read that, I couldn't shake that description. It has a slightly sluggish feel to it compared to other machines that I've used.

1966 SM9 is a standout. Very snappy action to the keys. Not sure if a '75 model has similar construction, but if it does, it's the best of the three that you mention.

Another worthy contender if you want snappy keys is a mid-'50s Smith-Corona Silent Super. Might sound a little louder than the SM9, but you could write for days on it.
You could probably pick one up (in the US, at least) for less than a hundred bucks, possibly even half that, but I would get it serviced by a typewriter repairer - they still exist - if I found one for under $100.

Good luck with your search!

Maintenance & Repairs » Olivetti ribbon eyelets » 03-10-2018 05:02:14

teeritz
Replies: 4

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The eyelets are a little brass or aluminium ring. The small ones are a little bit smaller than your fingernail of your little finger. They are usually available from haberdashers or stores that sell sewing/dressmaking equipment (threads, fabrics, etc) and you can buy a small kit that comes with a short steel rod. This rod is placed over the two-piece eyelet and then a few sharp taps with a hammer and you will have an eyelet.
You basically take the typewriter ribbon, cut a small hole in the centre of it, push one piece of the eyelet (usually, it's the longer section that looks like a top hat) through it and attache the other part, which looks like a ring, on top of it. Tap it with a hammer and the top-hat piece flattens and secures to the ring and bingo!, you have an eyelet on the end of the typewriter ribbon.
None of this makes any sense now that I read it, but once you get a packet of eyelets, it will be a lot clearer.

This video shows the basic principle behind what I just said. This is for tents. For typewriter ribbons, everything is much smaller, obviously. Forget the large hole cutter that's used in the video. For typewriter ribbons, you just have to make a cut that's large enough to fit the long eyelet piece through, rather than cutting a perfect circle through the ribbon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA2WvPEY7M4

Best of luck, but it's easy once you practice a few of them.


 

Portable Typewriters » Smith Corona portables » 11-7-2018 05:36:18

teeritz
Replies: 3

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A 1940s Sterling or Clipper in good condition is an absolute workhorse. Very rock-solid.
A mid-1950s Silent Super in good condition is a dream to write with. Very snappy key and typeslug action.
I have each of these and I can't fault them. For ultra-portables, I had a mid '50s Skyriter with the short return lever and ended up selling it and replacing it with a later 1950s Tower Chieftain III, which is a Skyriter branded for Sears-Roebuck back then. This one had the longer return lever and came in a leather case instead of the steel clip-on cover that the short return lever models used to have. Another great Smith-Corona model.
I also have a 1936 flat-top Sterling. It's a sluggish machine to write with, and the bell gives off a half-hearted 'ding!' at the end of each line, but this thing looks like a cross between a Steinway baby grand and Capone's coffin,
Worth keeping just for this reason alone.

In terms of mechanically sound, '40s and '50s machines, if found in good condition or serviced properly, will give you a wonderful typing experience with no hassles.
Best of luck!

Maintenance & Repairs » Royal QDL spacebar not always advancing carriage » 01-3-2018 22:02:15

teeritz
Replies: 8

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The QDLs are known for this issue. My '47 model also has this 'word-joiner' function, whereby the space bar doesn't seem to advance the carriage every time. Slowing down my typing speed seems to solve the problem. 

Portable Typewriters » Remington Portables » 28-2-2018 05:29:06

teeritz
Replies: 13

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tricnomistal wrote:

Quick question, just for clarity: In your blog posts for both machines you describe them as working like "old farm tractors." As a writer, I appreciate the interesting simile, but my knowledge of farm tractors is limited, so would you mind illuminating what you mean by that? 

Because both machines are 80 years old, they make a racket when you type on them. Whereas something from the 1950s, such as an Olympia SM model for example, might have type-bars that hit the page/platen with a sharp 'thwack', the Remette sounded a lot louder, almost like a motorbike trying to start, or putting a sheet of tin into a paper shredder. Not that I've tried that, mind you. The other Remington was similar. Everything sounded rough on these typewriters.
By contrast, my 1936 Smith-Corona Standard has a 'leaden' feel to it when you type on it, with a half-hearted 'tink!' at the end of each line as though the bell suddenly remembered what it's there for, but can't be bothered doing its job, just the same. Ooh, I'm getting slightly Chandleresque. Which is a good thing. 

And don't worry, I grew up nowhere near a farm, but I wanted to stress the fact that these two typewriters ran like any other machine that was eight decades old. I think much of it has to do with the ageing of the platen rubber. After 80 years, it's almost as hard as steel. I suppose the same could be said about the rest of the rubber used on these machines. It becomes like hard plastic over the years.

If they had a snappy action to them back in 1938, that was a long time ago.

I hope this helps, and best of luck with your decision/hunt.
 

Portable Typewriters » Remington Portables » 27-2-2018 06:11:06

teeritz
Replies: 13

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The Remette is a small machine, but man it's a rough typewriter to use. I had a 1938 model. I also had a late 1930s Portable, but it had no number designation on it.
Both of these machines had the laying down straight typebars. They didn't have to travel the same distance to the platen as a standard type bar arrangement, but they were plenty loud just the same. The Remette has no bell and it's a fairly small typewriter, less than twelve inches across in both vertical and horizontal measurement.
If you Google "teeritz Remette" and "teeritz Remington portable", you'll land on my write-ups of these typewriters on my blog.
Personally, if you want ultra-portable and you're not 100% stuck on Remington, go for a Skyriter with the long return lever. Find one in good condition and they're an absolute pleasure to use.
Best of luck!

Portable Typewriters » Ultraportable recommendation » 19-2-2018 05:41:14

teeritz
Replies: 9

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A mid to late 1950s Smith-Corona Skyriter or the Sears version, Tower Chieftain. Either one with the longer carriage return lever.
My Tower Chieftain III is late 1950s and it has a very snappy typing action. Absolute joy to use. In my view, better than the Olympia Splendids (33,66,99) and SFs of the 1960s.
Groma Kolibris are nice, but pricey, and they can be quite loud if the platen rubber has hardened.
Olivetti Lettera 32 is nice, but to me, it has a sluggish feel to the keys. I've had mine since new, when I bought it in 1981. Sentimental value to me, but I rarely use it these days.

 

Maintenance & Repairs » Best way to clean Typewriter felt/insulation » 19-7-2017 06:07:12

teeritz
Replies: 3

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I'd replace the felt. I've added sound-proofing padding on the sides of an Olympia SF with good results. I've been tempted to replace the felt in my Tower Chieftain III (a Skyriter by any other name), but laziness keeps getting the better of me.
If/when I get around to it, I'll use double sided tape and a thicker kind of felt which I could (probably) get from a craft or art supply store.
Good luck. If you choose to replace rather than clean.

Portable Typewriters » Looking for a solid portable typewriter » 16-4-2017 07:36:21

teeritz
Replies: 30

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Svip wrote:

The heaviness is less of a concern with regards to carry, but might be an issue on a lap.  I am considering bringing along a fold out chair and table, if it were.

But I was more anticipating pulling over, and then sit on the passenger seat to type.  But if the SM-9's weight is a problem for that scenario, I will definitely consider those others as well.  I can live with a heavy typewriter - after all, my preferred laptop is quite heavy - and if inspiration were to strike anywhere, I would probably write notes initially with my pen.

The Skyriter, you say it was made for usage on an aeroplane, does that also mean it is more silent when typing than usual?  Or is it the same?

 
Skyriters are as loud as any other typewriter, but you could easily use one while sitting in the passenger seat. Same with a Lettera 32. Skyriters have a nice aluminum body. Undo four screws and the entire guts of it can be removed from the frame. The SM9 would put your legs to sleep if you rested it on your lap for extended periods. And it would be awkward to use in a car seat. For a portable typewriter, it's pretty large. Looks great on a desk, though.
The Adler Tippa is a good suggestion also. I had one and it worked nicely enough, but I got rid of it because it had a plastic body.
I'd maybe go for a 1970s Lettera 32. Well-built, and plentiful. Produced between 1963 and 1989, or thereabouts.

Portable Typewriters » Looking for a solid portable typewriter » 16-4-2017 03:29:52

teeritz
Replies: 30

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I would consider an Olivetti Lettera 32 and/or an Olympia Splendid 66 or 99. Both are low-profile portable machines. The Olympia SM9, while being a beautiful machine to use, can be quite heavy to carry for long periods and may be awkward to use if you plan on writing in the car, 'cos inspiration can strike anywhere, as far as my writing experience is concerned.
Smith-Corona Skyriter (later models with the longer carriage return lever) is another contender, since these were designed to be used while sitting in an aeroplane seat.
Good luck!

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