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23-4-2022 22:47:07  #1

PVC Platen on a Hermes Baby

I only recently "discovered" vintage typewriters. At this early stage I'm quite intrigued by portables and ultra-portables. The purchase decisions made to date are based on two criteria, in this order:
1) It must appeal to me aesthetically.
2) It needs to have the potential to be a decent performer.

The first criteria requires no prior knowledge, gaining the experience to judge the second for myself is the part I'm looking most forward to. I've had these for a week or so:
1946 Smith Corona Sterling
1930 Corona 4
These are en route.
1953 Gossen Tippa
1953 Optima Plana
1955 Groma Kolibri
1949 Groma N
19?? Erika M

The first of the ultras to arrive was a 1955 Hermes Baby from Ebay. Based on several opinions I'd read I assumed I would try it out and then move it along. Instead I was reminded to do my homework then form my own opinion based on experience whenever possible.  The unit arrived in better condition than expected and I was surprised how much I enjoyed typing on it. A little cleaning took care of a few keys that were slow to return. Straightening the bent carriage return lever restored the single space option.

The platen was removed for cleaning and treatment with DOT 3 brake fluid. It was clear it was hard enough be easily machined for resurfacing with PVC tubing. With the remaining black rubber under the tubing you would have to know what you were looking at to know it wasn't rubber. Looking closely at the ends you can see the translucent tubing.

Here is a typing sample before and after the switch. The before sample was done with a sheet of Avery laminate for a backing sheet. The after was on the same sheet of 20# copy paper with no backer. The sound and feel are improved. This is the second machine I've resurfaced this way, it won't be the last.

Thanks for reading.



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