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24-9-2014 18:30:12  #1

The Royal "Mercury": my first official typewriter.

Hello, I am new and just came from the intruduction thread. I figured I would post here and get my two posts in so I can post a guide in the Maintenance section of the forum boards.

I am 19, in college and today is what I would consider to be my first official day of having a typewriter for 'functional' purposes.

For the past two years, I had two electric typewriters that I got for about $3 each at a church sale. One was a Smith Corona and the other was some other typewriter whose name surpases me (I did not bring this one with me to college) which had a manual in German and "white ink" 'erasing' backspace capabilities.

I have used the Smith Corona here in college at least 6-8 times already, but it is loud and despite coming with a convenient hard black shell carry case, I would not call it "portable" because you cannot use it without an outlet.

I wanted something cheap, small, portable, and MANUAL.

I was able to pick up a Royal "Mercury" typewriter for $45 shipped. And since it has a case almost built into it, that was a plus. The typewriter arrived in the mail today.

She is slim, sexy, quiet, and if you don't want her churning up black she can do red at the push of a button (assuming you have dual colored ink...)

She was perfection in every way, with the exception of some gunk on her arms. Although I am new to typewriting, I believe I handled the situation quite well and I will be posting a guide in the 'Mechanics' section of these forums in regards to cleaning a typewriter's striker arms.

I don't have my own pictures right now (I could just post the pictures the seller provided, but I would rather post my own pictures if I do ever get around to posting them).

In the meantime: It is a little late to turn back, but do you all feel that this typewriter was a good choice? Suggestions, tips for a newbie?

And what shall I call her? I am thinking of something that plays off of "Mercury", but I don't want it to be too cheesy (As if a teenager with a typewriter wasn't cheesy enough...).


24-9-2014 22:00:38  #2

Re: The Royal "Mercury": my first official typewriter.

The Mercury is a nice machine. It, along with a number of other models, were made by Silver-Seiko for Royal. Here's mine:

"To save time is to lengthen life."

24-9-2014 23:10:34  #3

Re: The Royal "Mercury": my first official typewriter.

That wood finish... So. Much. CLASS.

Your looks stunningly well kept from the looks of this photo.

But since you have a Mercury as well, would you mind answering a few questions?
1. Do you find the touch control easier to work with on H or L?
2. Does your internal mechanics cover come off really easily? Mine is loose and can be removed with no effort.
3. Is it possible to set the margins or do you have to go into Margin Release for every line?
4. What is the lever on the right rear side for? No the one that slides the roller to the left, but the one behind it. It seems like it moved that long metal plate in the back (the one that says "Mercury") but I don't know the purpose behind it.
5. Is there an easier way to swap ribbons other than having to hold that long horizontal bar back to snake the ribbon behind that write head?
6. What is the best method of cleaning the inside base of the typewriter. Mine has some dust, but not an overwelming amount. I am hesitant to take random screws out of her just to remove a few little dust bunnies.
7. And any other general advice/tips/tricks with this typewriter?
8. EDIT: It appears as though my fresh cleaned slugs are already gunked up after just 5 pages of typing, even worse than before! Is this level of accumulation normal? The ribbon spool is old and frayed in some places so maybe its the ribbons fault. Either way I have new spools coming in the mail next week.

Believe it or not, in the 6 or so hours I had this typewriter I already typed 2 double sided pages, full text of notes. I just found enjoyment and relaxation typing up handwritten notes. I even made some a few 'graphical' charts on the typewriter.

To put it in perspective that you would better understand, the double ribbon spool had to be completely reversed TWICE. And I am not sure if all ribbon spools are this long, but the one that came with this Mercury had ribbon that extended beyond the edges of the spool itself when it reached the end.

Funny thing, for some reason the Mercury didn't reverse the spool when it reached the end the first time, so I actually manually uninstalled, flipped, and reinstalled the ribbon spools. Then the second time around, the metal ring in the ribbon didn't reverse the spools after 10 characters of just hitting the write head, so I just slightly forced the spools in the opposite direction and then they started spinning the other way.

Overall, the entire experience took an hour or two and for me it was time well spent.

Last edited by ncore (25-9-2014 11:30:59)

     Thread Starter

25-9-2014 14:27:35  #4

Re: The Royal "Mercury": my first official typewriter.

1. Touch control is a personal thing; some prefer more resistance, some less, so you just have to adjust it to find what works best for you. Typically I keep most touch control systems set to the mid position.
2. "Internal mechanics cover"? Do you mean the ribbon cover on top of the machine? Mine fits snugly. There are two rubber grommets that hold the pins of the cover in place. If they're either missing or deteriorated, then the cover will be loose.
3. The margins are easily set. You should only need to use the margin release when you need to type past where you set the margin.
4. "Roller"? I think you might be refferring to the carriage. The other lever at the right rear of the carriage is the paper release, which you use to align a sheet of paper when loading it, and to remove the paper once you've finished typing.
5. "Write head"? If you're talking about the metal piece that holds the ribbon where you type, that's the vibrator. No, there's no easier way, but once you've done it a few times you'll find that it really isn't a big deal.
6. If it's loose dirt you can either use low pressure air to blow it out, or some people have a mircro vacuum that is purposely made to get into very tight spaces.
7. No...
8. It's probably because of the old ribbon that might be deterorating. But then again it depends what you mean by gunked up. Clean slugs don't stay clean very long and really I don't worry about them until the type on the page begins to look bad.

"To save time is to lengthen life."

25-9-2014 18:56:42  #5

Re: The Royal "Mercury": my first official typewriter.

Thank you so much for answering my questions!

2. I checked, once side is missing and the other side is very worn.
3. Just figured out how to set margins, thank you!
4. The paper doesn't seem to want to roll (go to a different line) when the paper is clamped in, but to me this is not an issue.

     Thread Starter

26-9-2014 10:41:17  #6

Re: The Royal "Mercury": my first official typewriter.

4. When the paper release is used - on the Mercury you push the lever away from you - it seperates the platen from the feed rollers and the paper should be able to move freely ("unclamped"). If that isn't happening then there's something wrong with the system. You may not see it as an issue, but I would because it allows you to correct a page that hasn't loaded squarely, which means your typed sentences will appear at an angle to the page.

"To save time is to lengthen life."

28-9-2014 23:03:35  #7

Re: The Royal "Mercury": my first official typewriter.

I tested it and it works and the paper is easier to load when the lever is pushed away. However, I am only able to load it an inch or so, and if I push the lever away from me while paper is halfway through the carriage, the paper will not move at all unless I reset the lever.

     Thread Starter

30-9-2014 19:23:05  #8

Re: The Royal "Mercury": my first official typewriter.

So I got new ribbon in the mail today "yippie!" and I noticed that the hole in the centers of the new spools are significantly wider than the old spools; by 1.5mm to be exact. (Original was 4mm in diameter, new ones are 5.5mm in diameter). This is creating some 'wiggle room' on the typewriter's spool pins.

Is this abnormal? Thanks!

     Thread Starter

01-10-2014 07:38:00  #9

Re: The Royal "Mercury": my first official typewriter.

There are a number of different types of spool. If the new ones don't fit properly you can always spool the ribbon off the new one onto the old one. 

"To save time is to lengthen life."

21-7-2018 11:48:03  #10

Re: The Royal "Mercury": my first official typewriter.

Is there a carriage lock on this machine? If so, how does it release.


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