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Maintenance & Repairs » How to remove platen from small Royal Caravan? » 28-11-2019 17:23:04

M. Höhne
Replies: 4

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SOLUTION: @thetypewriterman: That got it. The platen on the plastic-bodied Royal Caravans and Adler Tippa Ss can be removed simply by unscrewing both platen knobs---right-hand thread---and wiggling the platen up and to the right. Nothing falls out. The paper tray is loose in there, located by a center pin that is a little fiddly to get back in its hole. Release the line space detent and reverse the procedure to get the platen back in. My big problem was the very tight knob, finally overcome with an emery-paper-and-pliers strap wrench on the rubber and a grippy jar lid opener on the knob and more force than I thought advisable. Thanks!

Maintenance & Repairs » How to remove platen from small Royal Caravan? » 28-11-2019 11:36:00

M. Höhne
Replies: 4

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Thank you, Sky. I think the Eldorado is the metal-bodied Royalite and in any event, it's a different genus. There are no screws in the end of the platen and only one setscrew in the platen end shaft, at right angle to the shaft, that bears against the knob shaft and it's missing on mine anyway.

Thank you, Typewriterman. This is really funny. The whole time I have been working with this Caravan  there has been an Adler Tippa S sitting right next to it and I did not notice the resemblance. They are not entirely identical but basically so. Many parts from the ribbon cover on down are interchangeable, including the left platen knobs. It remains to be seen about the right platen knobs because the Caravan's is really stuck tight. At least now I can have confidence that it will eventually unscrew (The Tippa's is right hand thread.). I have tried a strap wrench fashioned from a pliers holding a strip of emery paper around the platen (which works fine) and the problem now is to find a way to grip the knob without damage or even marks.

All of this is just to get a mailing label out of the paper tray in order to have a working typewriter.

An interesting note about how Typewriter Talk has grown: In 2013 I asked this exact same question and got no response whatsoever. Now six years later, I get two quick answers and both are germane and useful. Thank you, Uwe, for putting this together and Thank You, Typewriter Talkers. (I guess this is one more thing to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day.)

Maintenance & Repairs » How to remove platen from small Royal Caravan? » 27-11-2019 15:57:51

M. Höhne
Replies: 4

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Does anyone here know how to remove the platen from a 1970s Royal Caravan made in Holland, the small plastic-bodied one with the snap-on cover? If so, will you please teach me? I can't get the right knob off; the left one just unscrews. Thanks!

Maintenance & Repairs » Platen not rotating » 15-11-2019 21:11:41

M. Höhne
Replies: 1

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Check that the line spacing selector lever is set to something other than zero.

Type Talk » New Member Thread » 02-11-2019 15:12:27

M. Höhne
Replies: 814

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typeitup wrote:

There's definitely some dust and grime due to over oiling, but most of it is fury dust (even unoiled places). It didn't have a dust cover and was not covered for a while, and I've found covering makes quite a difference. I've also cleaned up an over-oiled Hermes 3000 that was covered and it was no where near as furry inside... ew, I'm grossing myself out.

I didn't mention keytop size nor width between keytops while comparing these two typewriters, but you raise an interesting point. Having measured now, for the SM8, the width of its teardrop shape key tops is 14mm at the top of the key, 13mm at middle, and 9.5mm at bottom. Space between keys is 5mm. Lettera 32 - 13mm x 13mm square keytops and 5mm space between key tops. I agree - it would be nice to see a table of such measurements, including force to type a slug though the latter, as you say, would be quite condition reliant.

I don't believe oil attracts dust, as so many say, but rather that it holds dust that falls on it from wherever. Covering definitely helps. I do not draw that conclusion from your two examples, though, because the two typewriters were stored by different people in different conditions for different periods of time, etc. Different--not comparable; different--not comparable; different--not comparable; etc.

Easier than measuring keytop spacing by trying to eyeball the center of two keytops is measuring from left edge to left edge or right-to-right. Bigger keytops will look like they are on smaller centers, though they may not be at all.

Type Talk » New Member Thread » 02-11-2019 10:27:35

M. Höhne
Replies: 814

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typeitup wrote:

Hi Laurenz,

It's a 1969 SM8, white metal ribbon cover, dark grey base and keytops. I haven't gotten round to cleaning and re-oiling the SM8, and it's got a bit of dust and other sticky stuff in its innards (though surprisingly none of its keys stick upon typing), so the following is to be taken with a grain of salt.

When I first typed on the SM8 (today actually, as it was still unpacked from my recent purchase), it made me jump! It's typing action is very precise and responsive, and the carriage movement is so deliberate. The keys of the SM8 are very light, fast to respond and fast to whip up and strike the platen. The SM8 just feels like it wants to fly, the keys offer little resistance to your fingers in comparison to the Lettera 32. Even the lightest touch control setting on the 32 is heavier than the SM8, though not massively (note, the SM8 has no touch control). There is an interesting juxtaposition between the SM8's light key touch and the solidness of its body and carriage. The carriage return is a solid, smooth glide; the 32's carriage is a bit louder and though pretty smooth not one that I can describe as a glide. Another impressive thing about the SM8 is the clarity of its print - even without a clean to the type slugs or a change to an old ribbon the type is very clear.

The rows of keytops on the SM8 feel like they might be set at a slightly steeper incline than the 32. Surprisingly, the shift key feels a bit heavier on the SM8 (of course, both machines have basket shifts). The SM8 typing action also sounds louder than my Lettera - it sounds tinier, maybe a bit more metallic. This video gives a pretty good replication I think https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHdp_X5NMlk

Hopefully this helps. I won't comment on aesthetics, because they are quite a subjective thing...

The thing has dust and sticky stuff in its innards because somebody oiled it in the past. Don't oil it.

The steepness of the incline of the keys is somethin

Maintenance & Repairs » Hermes Rocket 1956 - replacement for drum spring? » 27-10-2019 08:31:36

M. Höhne
Replies: 2

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No replacement parts and it's unlikely anyone would want to part out a 3000. So take the spring and housing to a watch repair person or a jeweler and see if they can make it work.
Incidentally, how did it break?

Type Talk » Why such a wide cariage? ? » 22-10-2019 19:42:07

M. Höhne
Replies: 6

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Uwe wrote:

.... snip ....sometimes simplicity and crudeness are better solutions to a problem than those that are complex and refined. 
 .... snip ....

I really enjoy my bicycle that doesn't need two sets of working batteries just to shift gears, or even the fussy adjustments to keep the indexing working. OTOH, I do appreciate having some gears, even though my old single-speed worked fine, too, and took me all over town. I guess the trick is to balance the technology with the actual, honest need, and there will be legitimate differences of opinion as to where that balance is. But not just "Because we can".

Type Talk » Why such a wide cariage? ? » 21-10-2019 20:46:39

M. Höhne
Replies: 6

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Those are good considerations, Uwe, and I'll further observe that it has long been Western practice to denigrate everything Soviet at every opportunity. I never tire of that old comparison of American ingenuity  in outer space note-taking, the Space Pen, vs. the primitive Soviet graphite pencil, often used to demonstrate Western expertise in high-tech vs. Eastern practicality but in reality having an undercurrent of American can-do vs. Communist backwardness.
Yes, there is some skating over detail in the short quote and the one-machine-does-all does fit with an economy that has no need to cut costs for profits. Still, the story does have a ring of believability to my possibility-indoctrinated ears.
There are many more Russian cameras here than typewriters, not entirely because of their smaller size and the older and larger classic camera market. But I'll bet there are more Russian cars in North America than Russian typewriters, too. We do see a few from other Iron Curtain countries. And there's the Москва occasionally and I have never noticed the width of their carriages.

Type Talk » Why such a wide cariage? ? » 20-10-2019 17:18:22

M. Höhne
Replies: 6

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I am often seeing puzzled questions from the crowds of young, new, typewriter enthusiasts about why some typewriters have such long-to-huge carriages. What were they for?

Of course they had several purposes, but I recently came across an explanation that surprised even me. In his book, Why Things Bite Back, about unintended consequences, Edward Tenner quotes this anecdote:

“Officially, the [Soviet communist] regime campaigned to conserve materials. But it also set output goals by weight, not performance. Industrial quotas, meted out in metric tons, were filled with heavy stuff—sometimes incredibly sturdy, more often simply bad.  The alleged Soviet boast of producing the world’s largest microchips may be apocryphal, but Marshall I. Goldman, an economist who visited the USSR often, noticed an exceptional proportion of office typewriters with unnecessary extra-long carriages.”

Goldman, Marshall I., Gorbachev’s Challenge (New York: Norton, 1987), pp. 123–24
quoted in: Tenner, Edward, Why Things Bite Back (New York, Vintage Books/Random House, 1997), p. 349

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