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17-6-2021 16:19:59  #1


glass keys

Other than looking and perhaps feeling cool, if there any actual advantage to glass keys?

 

17-6-2021 16:25:26  #2


Re: glass keys

They don't melt from oil on skin. The letters never wear off. they have their own disadvantages (letters can be stained, off alignment, metal rings can be loose or break off if they are removed for cleaning.) 
They aren't as good as Facit or Olympia plastic keys though. That's my opinion, of course.
Phil Forrest

 

17-6-2021 22:22:59  #3


Re: glass keys

I guess they don't appeal to me much, although I do think they look cool. I don't have any glass keys, and haven't since I was a little kid ruining whatever that big black typewriter was that my dad had in the basement. So I wonder if I'm missing anything. Do they have any advantages/disadvantages in actual function as a finger-striking surface?

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18-6-2021 03:21:48  #4


Re: glass keys

When I used to repair typewriters in offices, I was told by senior typists that the keycard and keyring (glass keys) keytops used to result first in sore fingers, and then in hard skin developing on the fingertips if you used one of these machines daily.  This is of course why manufacturers went over to plastic keytops.

 

18-6-2021 07:45:37  #5


Re: glass keys

I only have one in my collection...a 1947 Royal QDL.

It is the only time I went into the 1940's for my collection.  It was the type of machine we had in our home as kids in the 1960's.

I enjoy the feel of the key-tops and enjoy a slower pace to typing on this machine when I feel home-sick for my childhood.  It also make me type a bit more deliberately.
.https://i.imgur.com/15G80wy.jpg

 

18-6-2021 18:16:34  #6


Re: glass keys

thetypewriterman wrote:

When I used to repair typewriters in offices, I was told by senior typists that the keycard and keyring (glass keys) keytops used to result first in sore fingers, and then in hard skin developing on the fingertips if you used one of these machines daily.  This is of course why manufacturers went over to plastic keytops.

That's interesting. I figured plastic was just cheaper. But I can see how someone who typed all day might get irritated by the rings.

Pete E. wrote:

I only have one in my collection...a 1947 Royal QDL.

It is the only time I went into the 1940's for my collection.  It was the type of machine we had in our home as kids in the 1960's.

I enjoy the feel of the key-tops and enjoy a slower pace to typing on this machine when I feel home-sick for my childhood.  It also make me type a bit more deliberately.
.

That's ironic, because my desire for another QDL or 2 is what brought up the question. My 51 has plastic and I feel like I "should" be more drawn to the older glass keyed ones for my next one. Its also ironic that you mentioned a slower pace. I don't know if you are slowing down deliberately to enjoy the nostalgia or because the glass slows you down, or both, but the glass ones do look slower to me. Don't ask me what I mean by that because I don't know. Its just a visual impression.


 

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18-6-2021 19:22:17  #7


Re: glass keys

The glass keys, especially the Royal "tombstone" keys are a little smaller than plastic usually, and tend to slow down writing at least for me.
Phil Forrest

 

18-6-2021 19:57:18  #8


Re: glass keys

Very prone to moisture damage. Also, prone to discoloring from sunlight, but so is ABS. Harder on the fingers and less ergonomic.  The card underneath the keys can shift or rotate. But of cause they look great. Aesthetically I prefer them over plastic keys on many machines. If I were to design a new typewriter today however, I’d go with Olympia style plastic keys. 


Learned watchmaker and office machine enthusiast from Germany.

 
 

18-6-2021 20:50:46  #9


Re: glass keys

Overwood,

Could be a few things making me slow down...

1.  It feels more antique-ish to me and I do not want to pound it hard and fast.

2.  I have had 2 others come across my work bench...either with the key-top lever for "G" or "H" broken in half just as the lever travels through the key-lever metal guide (i.e. comb).  So I am cautious with my machine that is intact.

3.  My machine is well cleaned and lightly oiled at pivot points (with synthetic Triflow oil)...but the type action is not the "snappiest" for a type slug to return to the rest bar.  I can type much faster but this one has me waiting just a micro-second for the return.  But again, this can just be the nature of my unique machine.

I like using this Royal QDL on cool, early mornings on the porch when I am just formulating thoughts on paper for writing projects and ideas I will usually flesh-out, later, on a German or Swedish machine in my collection.

It is a machine I would not consider "kicking to the curb"...

 

18-6-2021 21:13:02  #10


Re: glass keys

This is very good to know. It reinforces my desire to stick with QDLs from 51 on. If I ever want a machine to just look at or display, I'll get one with glass

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