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04-3-2019 11:44:43  #11

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Doh!  Trying again.





04-3-2019 11:47:48  #12

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Here are a few more views of the typewriter today:

     Thread Starter

04-3-2019 12:01:05  #13

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Ok here are the two issues:

The ribbon spools (from below obv.)...

And the actual typing, showing the 'shadowing' I mentioned (lowercase letters only?) and the high 'y'...

And here's the reason for that 'y'...

Over to all you typewriter experts.

From, a beginner 

     Thread Starter

04-3-2019 12:19:43  #14

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Hi Steve

My jaw dropped when I saw your 'after' pictures, that is absolutely beautiful. Tom the typewriter man is the expert on these British built machines. My first guess about the ghosting is your finger action on the keys. These machines were designed to type quickly, so I believe the typist never actually followed the key to the bottom of its stroke with his or her finger. Try giving the keys a brisk short stroke and let the momentum of the type bar carry the slug to the ribbon. I'm fully open to correction on this one.

As for the letter Y being out of alignment, it looks like the actual type slug is sitting higher on the type bar than its neighbours. With the amount of time, work and resources you have evidently invested into this machine, I feel it would be worth your while to find a professional typewriter repair shop who has the ability to re-solder the type slug to the type bar in the correct position. Once again, beautiful work there Steve,


PS. I have this machine's little cousin, a 1936 Imperial Good Companion, serial number AL-018 with a rock hard platen. Once I can justify the cost, she's getting her platen recovered by JJ Short.

We humans go through many computers in our lives, but in their lives, typewriters go through many of us.
In that way, they’re like violins, like ancestral swords. So I use mine with honor and treat them with respect.
I try to leave them in better condition than I met them. I am not their first user, nor will I be their last.
Frederic S. Durbin. (Typewriter mania and the modern writer)

04-3-2019 14:47:01  #15

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Thank you for your kind words Sky, much appreciated.

I will have a try at changing my typing action and look into getting that 'Y' reset.  

Good luck with the Good Companion platten.  I would quite like a Good Companion next but need to persuade my wife we can accommodate another typewriter.  

I was very lucky with this one - although the platten was filthy and splattered with tippex it's still got some spring in it and it cleaned up nicely.  Not bad for a £0.99p buy at a local auction! (Don't ask me how much I have spent on it since though!)

Thanks for the kind feedback.


     Thread Starter

04-3-2019 16:15:59  #16

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Steve, your restoration is nothing short of stunning.  You have every right to be proud of yourself.  How did you manage to make the new rubber feet ?  Regarding the ribbon, you should have a Right Hand Spool and a Left Hand spool.  They are mirror images of each other.  The Right Hand Spool was always the one supplied with a new ribbon.  The Left Hand spool was a factory spare part.  Of course, you cannot get Left Hand spools - and Right Hand ones are hard enough to source.  What you can do, however, is to prise up the tags on the underside of the spare RH spool, remove the bottom plate and the swinging 'gate' inside the spool.  You then need to first flatten the gate on a small anvil, then shape it over a rod so that it is a mirror image.  The tricky part will be carefully punching the ribbon hook through so that it is on the other side of the metal.  Refit the 'gate' facing the opposite way from original, then turn the bottom plate over so that the side that once faced the inside of the spool now faces the outside.  Check that the 'gate' swings freely in the acuate slot.  If it does, push the tags down to secure the bottom plate.  Mark the top of the spool 'LH'.  Hopefully your ribbon will now drive and reverse normally.   The shadowing could be your typing technique, or you might have to adjust the typebar trip (under the circular disc at the back) or if you are incredibly unlucky, someone has plonked a carriage on from another machine and the platen and anvil (ring and cylinder to our American friends) are totally out..  Regarding the 'Y', it is so far out that I wonder if someone grafted in a typebar from a different machine to replace a broken one, and didn't bother to resolder the typeface to suit.  Again, congratulations on a truly stunning restoration.  Did you buy the Peruvian waterslide transfers in the end or make your own ?


04-3-2019 17:30:08  #17

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Many thanks for your copious notes on reversing a spool Typewriterman - much appreciated, I will have a go at that.

I made the rubber feet from some solid rubber trailer bumpers I got at an auto-jumble, cutting them down on my bandsaw.  The sides needed to slope in at about 9 deg to fit the metal feet holders but my bandsaw has a tiltable table.  My bandsaw is a big woodworking one and I would have been better with a smaller bandsaw and a finer blade but it worked ok.  The resulting finish was a bit rough but I smoothed it off on a fine belt sander - had to go slowly to avoid a burning rubber smell!  I think the feet are probably a bit taller and longer than the originals but there wasn't much left of my originals, so it's hard to be sure.  They do the job and look neat anyway.

Re the 'Y', I am convinced it's just a poor repair in the past.  I'd like to have a go at re-soldering it correctly but I suspect I may make it worse, so I will live with it as it is.

I will have a go at improving my typing technique and failing that adjusting the typebar trip - thanks for the advice.

Ah, the decals.... 
Yes, the front 'Imperial' was from Peru - very nice too.  I got the crest and the larger paper-rest 'Imperial' from the TypewriterDecalShop on ETSY - a very helpful chap called Paul in The Netherlands who also runs the Virtual Typewriter Museum.  Then for the rear, with all the patent numbers etc., I recreated the layout on powerpoint and printed my own onto inkjet decal paper.  Unfortunately because it's going onto black paint, the versions I printed on clear decal sheets were too faint, so I had to print them onto white background decal sheets with a black border.  Even though I have put several coats of clear gloss lacquer over the top you can still see the decal edge on the rear decals if you look very closely.  I can live with it though. 

All in all I have really enjoyed it as a winter project.  I just need to persuade my wife we also have to have an Imperial Good Companion now! 

Thanks for your advice once again!

     Thread Starter

05-3-2019 04:36:01  #18

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Being no stranger to autojumbles myself, thanks for the tip on using trailer bumper sections for the feet.  I'll have a look round once the car show season starts again !  How did you manage to drill the double-diameter holes for the fixing screws ?  I'm intigued because rubber is difficult enough to drill a standard hole in.  Did you use a wood drill (I'm guessing that you are a woodworker since you have bandsaw and linisher) ?


05-3-2019 04:50:07  #19

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Yes drilling the holes was a bit tricky.  I used basic universal HSS twist drills in a pillar drill.  The trick is you have to use oversize drills because the rubber gives.  A bit of trial and error really.  I put the rubber blocks in the metal feet  brackets and drilled through the two holes from the top using the largest drill I could get through the metal feet holes (4mm I think).  Then I took the rubber out of the metal and progressively drilled out the smaller diameter holes until the screws would fit in, flipped them over and counter-drilled the large holes to the right depth, again with oversize drills.  From memory I think I ended up at using a 12mm or 13mm drill for the holes to take the screw heads even though those are only 10mm diameter I think.  The holes were not very neat in the end but good enough for the screws to tighten in nicely and sink the heads into the feet. 

I did think about getting some feet 3D printed using a rubber-like polymer but I never got that far.

If there was a market for that I could easily do the CAD drawings...  but I suspect the market is very limited ;-)


     Thread Starter

05-3-2019 16:55:25  #20

Re: Imperial model 50(?) identification issue

Steve, you could be pleasantly surprised.  There is a chap in America making good-quality reproduction feet for a variety of USA machines.  He charges a small fortune, and gets it, because he is the only game in town.  No-one makes feet for the Imperial 50/55/58 (all the same part) and most suffer from deteriorated feet.  There are a lot of these machines around.  If you have the skills and contacts, it might be a profitable sideline.  If the feet turn out well, I could be a regular customer   If you are seriously interested, I might be able to lend you an original foot to draw,


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