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19-11-2013 16:48:12  #1

Late model R.C. Allen

[Partial repost from my intro as requested :3]

This is my current machine, an R.C. Allen with an extra-wide carriage. It seems based on serial number databases to be an extremely late model, probably manufactured in 1967, although if anyone here has more of an idea feel free to share. Here are a couple photos, nothing fancy, just quick shots from my phone:

The only thing that seems to be 'wrong' with it is that a particular piece, one that holds the ink ribbon "up" for slugs to type on, falls down too low to be hit. I don't know the right words, but hopefully that makes sense. Is there something wrong, or some setting that I need to press to hold it up in place? It seems as if it's just in a setting, not broken, but I could be wrong.

Here are links to the pictures of what I'm talking about:
[Sorry, it was still a bit dirty inside!]

Pulling the piece holding the ribbon up very gently, as I did in the photo, moves some mechanical parts underneath. So I think this is something it's supposed to do. I just don't know how to put it back in place! Sorry if this is a very silly noob question :]


19-11-2013 17:17:39  #2

Re: Late model R.C. Allen

That's a very interesting machine, and certainly not one that you see come up for sale very often, at least not in Canada.

I would concur that it's a 1967 model. The B desginator in your serial number indicates that it's a Model B Visiomatic. And I would bet that the suffix of your serial number indicates the carriage width.

The part that moves the ribbon up and down is called the vibrator. It should, in its rest position, fall below the line of text that you're typing. This allows you to see what it is that you're typing. When each slug moves to strike the page, the vibrator should lift up the ribbon at the same time. If the vibrator isn't moving at all, it's possible that either you have the colour selector in the wrong position (set to stencil mode instead of red or black) or it's gummed up by dirt. There could be other mechanical reasons why it wouldn't be working properly, but the two I listed are by far the most common reasons for a non-moving vibrator.


19-11-2013 18:26:18  #3

Re: Late model R.C. Allen

Hmmm! Thank you for the info! So it should pop up every time I strike a key? Can you see where the color selector is from here? If it helps, the ink ribbon is only black, but I have no idea if someone has replaced it over the years or if it's supposed to be black only.

Nevermind, I just saw the little [B S R] selector there on the right that obviously stands for black, red or stencil and it moves now! Brilliant, I'm so glad that was an easy fix :D 

So it's an unusual model you say? That's exciting!

     Thread Starter

19-11-2013 20:00:05  #4

Re: Late model R.C. Allen

There's nothing better than a good typewriter that wasn't working becomes functional and useful again after moving a simple lever.

Yes, the vibrator is supposed to move up and down with every key stroke. And it doesn't matter that you have a black-only ribbon installed. When the lever is in the B position it will type on the upper half of the ribbon. In the R position it only uses the bottom half of the ribbon. And as you already discovered, in the S position the vibrator doesn't move at all.

I've only ever seen an R.C. Allen in person once - it was a portable - and although they do on occassion appear in local sales ads, I haven't yet been able to buy one.

I forgot to mention before that you shouldn't expect to find a case for your machine. I doubt that any were ever made for that model. Cases were typically only provided for typewriters that were portable, and your machine looks to be a standard - a non-portable office machine. Even so, the extra wide carriage would be a real problem to fit in a travel case. 


05-6-2014 21:29:53  #5

Re: Late model R.C. Allen

I just got  this exact same machine today.  It's an R C Allen Visomatic B, I believe made in 1963. The Serial # is B - 2311089 - 26, with a 26 1/4" platen. Mine though is a warn soft grey color - but I sure like the dark green of yours!  I sure like the feel of the way it types - much more than I thought. Hope yours is all working fine!


06-6-2014 14:15:03  #6

Re: Late model R.C. Allen

A 26" platen? Wow, that's really big, but is that the width of the actual platen or the entire carriage? 


07-6-2014 22:33:48  #7

Re: Late model R.C. Allen

Yes, it is a 26 1/4" platen. The carriage is 32 1/4" wide from end of knob to end of other knob. I'd never seen anything like it before. It will hold a full width sheet of newsprint ++


16-12-2014 10:10:50  #8

Re: Late model R.C. Allen

If I may jump in on this conversatoin, I recently have discovered RC Allens.  I'm interested in them, especially the fonts available on the Visomatic. I picked up a model 600 from 1952 at an antique store last week that needs a bit of love and its going to look that way for a while. How do you like your machines after getting them up and running?  Do you see them for sale often?  I've found a few online, but nothing terribly close to where I live.  What would you say they are worth?  I don't want to overspend, though its all in the price one is willing to pay, I suppose...


19-12-2014 10:13:57  #9

Re: Late model R.C. Allen

I love my R C Allens! Passing by Woodstock, Ill almost every week, I have a love for Woodstocks. Not to mention that they're fine machines. I had assumed that the Allen's would be a cheapened version, and had no interest in them till I finally broke down and purchased the wide carriage one ($100.00) Even before it was cleaned up, it was  an improved, better typer than the Woodstocks!  I now have three Allens - in addition to the wide carriage VisOmatic B, I've got two VisOmatic A's ($70.00, and $35.00)
I don't think that there are lots around, less common than many, but I found my three in less than a year. Good luck


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