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13-12-2018 17:10:31  #1

Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Hi there,

I bought this lovely Imperial typewriter at a local auction a year ago and I am finally getting round to restoring it.  
I am struggling to identify what model and year it is.  I think it's a model 50 but I'm not sure.  

It seems to have a serial number '221132' under the right hand end of the carriage (see pic).  I tried using the excellent typewritedatabase but it doesn't seem to mention 22nnnn serial numbers for the Imperial.  Anyone got any ideas?

Here are some pics: as purchased, complete with dead spider (I kid you not), the serial number (a bit fuzzy sorry) and the view from the back...

Any help would be very welocme.  Thanks,  Steve.



14-12-2018 04:57:21  #2

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Welcome to the forum  Your machine is an Imperial 50.  I would take an educated guess that it dates from late 1932.  It is certainly a pre-war model - the black enamel finish and glass side panels confirm that.  Imperial went through a period of putting the serial number on the chrome disc at the back of the machine.  These serial numbers begin with a letter of the alphabet and your typewriter pre-dates that.  It has the later style ribbon selector knob so it is not a 1920's model (although these things can get changed during the life of the machine since the parts will interchange).  I think your machine may have spent a lot of its life in the typing pool of a large organisation.  Did you notice the 'fleet numbers' painted on the back ?


14-12-2018 05:22:40  #3

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Thanks Typewriterman.

The chrome disc on the back has no discernible serial number on the outside. I might pull the typing mechanism out and have a look inside later.  I presume the chrome disc is an inspection cover of some sort.

I have cleaned it up a bit and it looks a lot nicer now but it's still missing a lot of paint and its quite rusty round the edges.  I am thinking of stripping it right down and getting the case re-enamelled, then make up some replacement waterslide transfers and re-apply.  

It'd be lovely to get it back to 'concours' condition, though it's probably a lot of work - nice winter project though.

One good thing - nothing seems broken or unduly worn apart from the rubber feet that have crumbled away a bit. I might have to make up some wooden replacements and paint black.

Some of the keys top ok though most currently stick.  I presume a good clean with an air nozzle will cure a lot of that.  

Should I lubricate at all?  I worry oil will collect dirt and gum things up.

Thanks for any advice.

     Thread Starter

14-12-2018 14:11:59  #4

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

I wonder if Imperial stamped new serial numbers on factory rebuilt machines? I have a '33 Model 50, and it has a polished metal bell and number disc. According to the Database chromium plating commenced the following year; given the OP's machine seems to have plated parts and a serial number well out of range of the regular series' numbers, it appears that it might have been refurbished by Imperial at some time. This would be par for the course if the typewriter had served hard office time.

14-12-2018 15:51:29  #5

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

I guess it could be that Uwe but it seems quite a length to go to to stamp a number on the casting under the carriage just for a refurb.

I guess it may have to remain a mystery. 

     Thread Starter

15-12-2018 04:07:22  #6

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Re: Imperial 50.  Yes, hardwood feet are the way to go, since there are no rubber replacements to be had.  You will need to put the machine on a felt typewriter mat afterwards through, or you will scratch your desk.  The disc IS an inspection cover - it allows you to set the typebar trip without sliding the type unit out.  Air nozzle and lubrication with sewing machine oil NEVER WD-40 should work well.  I would tend to conserve the enamel finish and transfers that you have, and touch up the local rust spots with black enamel (Humbrol works well), rather than completely refinish.  But then, I don't know how to make transfers !


15-12-2018 06:04:35  #7

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Thanks for the good advice typewriterman much appreciated.  I will check with my other half and see if she has some sewing machine oil. 

I might keep the rear decals but the front ones have virtually disappeared.  You can buy inkjet waterslide transfer paper and print your own decals. I have not done it before but I fancy having a go.  Alternatively most small print companies can do it if you supply them the image.  Getting the font to precisely match the existing logos will be the challenge.  I don't suppose anyone knows what font Imperial used for their logos...?

I can see the attraction of keeping the finish as original as possible but in this instance I think a shiny-as-new finish could look really special.

Thanks once again.

     Thread Starter

15-12-2018 08:43:22  #8

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Sorry I don't know which font Imperial used for their logos, but this link to an e-bay seller (in Peru of all places) could be what you are looking for


15-12-2018 19:20:36  #9

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Thanks, will take a look.  Peru, eh?  How bizarre!

     Thread Starter

04-3-2019 11:32:22  #10

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Ok.  I have now almost completed my Imperial Model 50 renovation.  I have stripped it down, de-rusted, de-greased and throughly cleaned it, shot-blasted and powder-coated the castings, applied new decals, replaced the rubber rollers, cleaned the platten, and made new rubber feet.  (Just the carriage ruler to re-attach, which is repainted and waiting for the lacquer to dry.)

I have to be honest - I am really, really pleased with the results.  I will post some photos below.

And it actually types too!  Just a few issues to resolve and any help would be much appreciated:

1.  The ribbon feed is not working.  Both spools that came with the typewriter look identical underneath and I suspect they are both left or right-hand spools.  Not sure how to resolve this one.  

2.  I am getting some double-vision effect on the characters when typing - not sure if there's a proper technical term - it's like an echo of the character appears just to the right of the typed character.  Seems to happen only on the lower case characters.  Maybe there's some novice mistake I made in reassembly or an easy adjustment to remove this?
3.  The 'Y' typeface is set about 1/2 a line too high.  It' has clearly been solder on incorrectly at some stage.  I assume it is a major undertaking to un-solder and re-solder a character, so I think I will just live with this as a quirk of this particular typewriter.  

Photos to follow...

     Thread Starter

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