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30-3-2013 20:46:43  #1

Dunk Cleaning

I had some fun today transposing an article from a 1957 issue of Popular Science that I have on how to dunk clean a typewriter. I was just going to scan and post the article, but chose instead to type it out on my new Royal FP to give the machine a thorough testing. I'll be dunk cleaning this typewriter soon, so it seemed the appropriate choice, especially since it's a 1958 vintage machine.

Just a quick note on the cleaning products that were mentioned above.I knew that Spic and Span is still available, but I hadn't heard of the other two.

The company that made Oakite, which in the '50s was advertised as a gentle, no suds, grease-dissolving cleaner, is still around too. However, I've never seen it around and the company now makes myriad number of products and I have no idea which would be best suited for this application.

Finally, there's Soilax. Incredibly, it's also still around. Again, I've never heard of it before, nor do I recall ever having seen it in any store, but it's still a viable option.

The important thing that ties all three together is their ability to dissolve grease and loosen off dirt. 

Last edited by Uwe (30-3-2013 21:26:36)


31-3-2013 08:01:10  #2

Re: Dunk Cleaning

I like Step 9: vigorous shaking. 

The advice to avoid oiling the typebar hinges sounds strange (though I've heard this repeated a number of times), it seems such an obvious place to apply some lubrication.


31-3-2013 09:27:09  #3

Re: Dunk Cleaning

Uwe wrote:

I was just going to scan and post the article, but chose instead to type it out on my new Royal FP to give the machine a thorough testing. 

Unless you've Photoshopped that typescript to correct any errors, I'd say you are one heck of a good typist.

"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the typewriter."

31-3-2013 11:52:43  #4

Re: Dunk Cleaning

Valiant wrote:

Unless you've Photoshopped that typescript to correct any errors, I'd say you are one heck of a good typist.


The truth is there are plenty of typos in there, and trust me, I curse a blue streak everytime I make one. But then again that's one of the things I love about using typewriters; once you've pushed down on a key, that movement is committed to paper. Being aware of the finality of every keystroke not only changes how I type, but more importantly how I write. It's a fabulous mental exercise; imagine the novelty of using your own brain as a word processor, and not relying on some software that you've loaded on your computer that picks up the pieces as you go along.

     Thread Starter

21-12-2013 13:56:48  #5

Re: Dunk Cleaning

I have read of lubricating the typebar segments with a non-oil lubrcan.  Reportedly not to attract or hold dust, I have used it on several machines lightly.  It has worked well so far;  the lubricant is a little expensive though.  Keeping several typewriters in a cold bedroom, I found the keys are stiff in first using them again;  still, they loosen up quickly and then work normally.  


21-8-2014 21:17:48  #6

Re: Dunk Cleaning

Very interesting point about the effect typing has on the mental processes involved in writing. It makes you think before you act. I went to school in France. We had to write in class essays. We were not allowed to erase or mark anything out. If you made a mistake you had to write your way out of it. Not a bad way to learn.


22-8-2014 15:46:58  #7

Re: Dunk Cleaning

In theory, you shouldn't oil the segment.  However, in practise (39 years in my case !) as a professional, you often have to !  When we used to service manual typewriters on-site in offices, we used to carry an extra oil-can containing a mixture of solvent and type-oil.  This was routinely used on segments, giving a cleaning action when the machine was put back into use - and leaving behind a slight trace of oil as the solvent dried out.  Mind you, it tended to make the outside of the segment a bit dirty as the dirt was washed out of the slots.


23-8-2014 12:47:39  #8

Re: Dunk Cleaning

I've had to resort to using oil in the segment in a few machines, but they were all extreme cases and the only thing that would restore the type hammer operation. It's one thing to do so knowingly, and understand what you're dealing with, but I think most collectors will agree that there isn't much worse than a machine that has had half-a-can of WD-40 sprayed into the segment by a seller who didn't know what they were doing.

     Thread Starter

23-8-2014 16:01:02  #9

Re: Dunk Cleaning

How very, very true !


03-9-2014 14:32:40  #10

Re: Dunk Cleaning

I have tried dry segment typing on machines I have cleaned and they just stuck. I have, thus, used a solution for cleaning and lubricating I got off the internet that works well, without over oiling:  mix equal parts of the following solvents and lubricant--karosene, automatic transmission fluid,  paint thinner, & laquer thinner.   I use it for first cleaning a machine after brushing out dust, also in type-bar segments. I tried non-oil lubricant, but as was mentined, it gets stiff in cold storage. I then use 3and1 oil for heaver parts.  My machines work well, though typebars show old oit stains yet. 


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