18 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. Skyriter

      These have been selling at auction sites over the past several months for $45-$75 plus shipping based only on pictures and without any information at all about their working condition, so all-in you probably got a great deal. I'm just finishing up work on cleaning up a 1951 2Y series Skyriter myself, and I really like its typing action. Don't throw away the spools if it came with them as they're non-standard and slightly smaller than the ubiquitous universal spools. This being said you can buy the standard 1/2" ribbon and manually spool new ribbon onto your existing spools. Mine didn't have spools at all, but I found some replacements (with ribbon) at https://www.ribbonsunlimited.com/. Take note that it's not a bichrome machine, so you can buy a single color ribbon.

      There are two screws that hold the chassis of these into the bottom of their case. They're hiding just underneath the carriage. Once removed, the typewriter lifts back and up and out of the base. You'll find the serial number on the right hand side of the frame underneath the platen and can use it to date your machine with the database: https://typewriterdatabase.com/smithcorona.86.typewriter-serial-number-database. Based on appearance alone, I'd place it as a 1960 3Y series based on the color, the badging and the white keys. You can look at others' individual models and notes at https://typewriterdatabase.com/Smith+Corona.Skyriter.86.bmys. If I'm right about the date, Richard Polt has online manuals available for the 1960 as well as others at: https://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-manuals.html.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjumGF9NFE8 is a pretty solid cleaning primer. Searching YouTube will uncover some potential additional advice in addition to what you can find at https://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-restoration.html or in his book. I will say that in cleaning mine, the mineral spirits dissolved the glue holding the felt on underneath the typebars, but it was in terrible shape anyway and needed replacing. The foam strip underneath that felt came out unscathed without much effort on my part to be careful with it.

      Most of the mechanics are pretty basic and easy to clean/service. Unless there's something dramatically wrong with it, you could very likely clean and service it yourself. (As an example, I had to re-slot the mechanism for the margin release which was almost too easy.) Even the mid-level repair issues for it can be easily found on YouTube if you're handy with a screwdriver (Joe Van Cleave and Phoenix Typewriter in particular have several model specific videos on the Skyriter). The platen and rollers come out fairly easy with a small screwdriver and removing one half of a spring on the back of the paper tray. This gives you great access to clean the escapement from above as well as to potentially send them off to JJ Short Associates for replacement via https://www.jjshort.com/typewriter-platen-repair.php. If you're less handy, Polt's website has a list of repair shops around the world that could clean/repair it for you.

      Good luck with it. I hope you like yours as much as I like mine. They're one of the most solid and sought after ultra-portables out there.

  2. Jun 2024
    1. Removing rust from typewriters

      Steel wool can be useful for removing rust from keylevers and other parts on typewriters, but can leave dust/slag behind which can be a bear to clean up especially when used on typebars.

      De-rusters like Evaporust can be useful, but should be tested against causing harm to other parts of a machine. Some rust removal chemicals can strip galvanization from machine parts. Olympia typewriters in particular are infamous for galvanized steel parts.

      Another option can be to use a rotary tool (like a Dremel) with a wire brush head to remove rust.

      Take care and be sure to use proper eye protection against dirt, dust, and chemicals when doing this sort of work. Also make sure you have proper ventilation and/or a mask to avoid breathing in dust and toxic chemicals.

      Richard Polt's site has additional resources for typewriter restoration: https://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-restoration.html

      Reply to https://www.reddit.com/r/typewriters/comments/1da2zg6/how_do_i_remove_rust/

    1. Also are the key caps supposed to be that yellow or is that from cigarettes.

      For yellowed glass keys on typewriters, there's usually a key top covered by a piece of paper with the key glyph on it which is sandwiched in with a small piece of glass and a metal ring that holds it down with several metal tabs underneath the key to hold it all in place. There are custom keyring pliers for quickly removing and replacing the papers which needs care not to crack the glass. Otherwise you can manually bend the metal tabs on all your key rings to remove them and replace the papers. (This is generally a LOT of work either way.) See: https://www.reddit.com/r/typewriters/comments/1csni4d/neat_find_on_clients_kmg/

      I prefer the yellowed patina of the older key papers, so I tend to leave them versus spending the time and effort to replace them.

  3. May 2024
    1. Congratulations on that beautiful machine!

      Don't listen to the nay-sayers who likely have very different priorities and esthetics. If this is your machine, and you love it, then "own it".

      It does look like a standard (as opposed to portable) typewriter. (Standards are often better and more robust typers due to their size and design.) Likely a Model 1 or Model 2, but I don't have specific knowledge beyond a cursory glance at the typewriter database. You can start by looking at examples of machine types and bodies at https://typewriterdatabase.com/smithcorona.86.typewriter-serial-number-database.

      From there, the Model 1 says "Electric Serial Numbers Concurrent with Standard", so scroll down the page and see if you can identify a year based on a serial number you should be able to find underneath the hood. You can try https://typewriterdatabase.com/Smith+Corona.Standard.86.bmys, but I don't see any later models there, so perhaps no one has documented one before and you could be the first.

      Then start with Richard Polt's site https://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/ where you may likely find a manual and if you're lucky a repair manual. Surely there will be a few manuals for similar 50s standard S-C manual typewriters which should at least get you started. His site has a wealth of other information to give you pointers. His book The Typewriter Revolution (2015) has good intro chapters on cleaning, basic repair, and restoration. YouTube may have some useful videos as well. The typewriter database will have some later model S-C electric machines which you might try searching for on YouTube as well and it's highly likely that the design changes weren't so drastic that those may help you significantly.

      For basic cleaning, try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjumGF9NFE8 which has some solid advice. Obviously take care with respect to getting the electrical portion of your machine wet.

      I've not done any electric machines before, but if I recall, I seem to have read/heard (maybe from Tom Hanks who I know has a 50s electric Smith-Corona) that the early electrics only went as far as doing power for the keys, so it should be reasonably repairable if it doesn't work out of the box.

      I'm sure you'll love it. With any luck, you'll also get some serious enjoyment and sense of accomplishment out of cleaning it up. If nothing else, it'll give you a wealth of experience in making the attempt and you can apply that to other machines if you continue collecting and typing. Some of my first machines weren't immediate "successes" until after I'd been able to tinker with others and was able to come back to them with a more experienced hand.

      Have fun with it!

      reply to https://www.reddit.com/r/typewriters/comments/1cuzy04/please_can_someone_identify_this/

    1. it is not mold; it is plasticizers coming out of the plastic. I remove it with various means: alcohol, polishing with a very fine polish, Goo Gone™, naptha, and such.

      The white gunky substances seen on the plastic keys of old, unmaintained typewriters generally isn't mold, but plasticizers coming out of the plastic. These can usually be cleaned off using simple household cleaning products or if necessary heavier cleaners (Goo Gone, alcohol, naptha, etc. - test these on hidden parts first to ensure they don't react with or destroy the plastic or remove the paint of the key letters) followed up by light waxes or polishes and buffing.

    1. Speaking of the keys, they had crap all around them. I used a slightly damp towel and Turtle wax rubbing compound. A light rubbing removed the dirt.

      Wiping dirty plastic typewriter keys with a soft cloth and then waxing/buffing them can bring them back to life.

    2. Here it’s outside being cleaned with Mineral Spirits, and carb and choke cleaner. I took one trip to the eye doctor when the carb and choke cleaner bounced and sprayed into both my eyes. I was fine, but wear eye protection.
    3. The feed rollers and platen were also a mess. I cleaned them with Bar Keepers Friend and water. Soft scrub also works.

      Cleans them but probably doesn't repair them.

  4. Apr 2024
    1. reply regarding painting typewriters at https://www.reddit.com/r/typewriters/comments/1cflyf2/help_identifying/

      It's been a while since I've done it, but I've sent vintage metal filing cabinets out to have them powder coated with stunning results. If you have someone local who does this, they'll be able to handle the details and give you color options. It may be best to give them the individual parts of the frame you want done and not the whole machine (especially so they don't lose or destroy anything vital). You can get some interesting colors and still have the older vintage look.

      I've also been contemplating doing a brushed steel finish and several layers of shiny clear coat. I've done it to a few desks before (here's an example of a table with a brushed/enameled top though it's got a slab of glass on top too), but haven't done it with a typewriter (yet).

      Depending on your area, you might find an auto repair artist who could strip the case down (sand blast/bead blast) and give you some real artwork including ombre paint, sparkle, racing stripes, etc. Just for fun, how cool would it be to have a matching "Jerry Orbach typewriter" if you had a Jerry Orbach car? If you're a Star Wars fan, it could be cool to have a typewriter done to look like either R2-D2 or C-3PO, for example. Or maybe cover a 1977 Smith-Corona Galaxie 12 with brown faux-Wookie fur and a bandolier Chewbacca-style!!! If you're going in, you may as well go all-in, right? (But definitely stop before you end up restoring one of the old black batwing-style Oliver's to fit it with a Darth Vader helmet dust cover...)

      If you go with straight paint, your local paint shop can recommend the best combination of primer and paint formulation for painting onto metal. (The small sample pint sizes of paint may be more than enough to do a single typewriter.) They'll give you more color options than you could possibly want. You'll want a high quality paint brush and some paint thinner so that when you apply, the finish comes out buttery smooth as it dries. Various spray paints may be options as well, though here you may not have as many color options.