Monday, July 28, 2014

Chain Letter

Among the curious pieces of history found in the carrying case of my Commodore 650, was a chain letter, which my friend referred to as "old school spam." He was, of course, referring to internet spam, and not the canned ham loaf that is delicious with mustard and crackers.
The chain letter is the ancestor of "like and share" Facebook posts and e-mail forwards. I hate these online pests as much as everyone else, but a wave of nostalgia washed over me when I laid eyes on the chain letter.
It brought back an early memory of when I first learned what a chain letter was. My mother had received one involving the participants sending each other dish towels.
The one that I now possess involves sending someone a quarter and then, if everyone participates, you're supposed to receive a whole shit load of quarters. Apparently, the chain letter is the less dangerous cousin of the pyramid scheme.
I'm actually thinking about sending this one back into circulation, mostly because I think it will be fun to write letters to complete strangers. I only wish I could see the expressions of equal parts joy and horror on their faces when they release the chain letter is back from the dead.
What do you think? Should I soften the blow by including a brief explanation of how the chain letter came into my possession?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Old Dirty Jokes

The following document was tucked inside the carrying case of my newly acquired Commodore 650. At first, I thought it was an old business letter that may have historical significance. As I actually began to read it, hilarity ensued ...
The next artifact is a story involving the governor of Pennsylvania and a prostitute. I don't know when this was written or who the governor was at the time, but I think it's safe to say that this tale is timeless ...
      While on vacation, the governor of Pa. wanted a girl for the nite; He had 3 beautiful girls brought in, a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead. To the blond he asked, "How much to stay with you for one night?" She replied $400.00! He then asked the brunette. She replied $200.00. The redhead came in and said, "Mr. Governor, if you can raise my skirt as high as you raised taxes, drop my pants as low as the wages, get your tool as hard as times are, and give me the screwing you're giving the people of Pa. ...., it won't cost you one damn cent ...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Yard Sale Treasures

My friend went on a yard sale expedition and said he'd keep an eye out for typewriters for me. I didn't imagine he'd find one, let alone two. They may not be the centerpiece of the collection, but they work.
I don't think I've ever seen a typewriter at a yard sale. Then again, I've only been collecting for less than a year, so I may have walked by hundreds and never took notice.
The Commodore Model 650 came with the original carrying case, which contained the original certificate of purchase from 1962. Also tucked inside were a chain letter, a typed joke about the governor of Pennsylvania and a prostitute, and a rather lengthy vulgar joke concerning a farmer with a run of bad luck.
The other typewriter is a Sharp Electric Intelliwriter. Typically, I'm not very interested in electric models. There is less of a connection between myself and the machinery. The machine is actually doing the typing, and I'm just telling the machine what to do. Also, I don't know much about repairing electrical components once they take a dump, but perhaps now I have a reason to learn. I wasn't going to turn down the Sharp. It is, after all, a piece of typewriter history and the price was right.
The Sharp actually introduced itself to me. After blowing some dust off, I noticed an instruction to press the code button for a demonstration. It roared to life as whatever primitive AI that was installed into it came out of its deep slumber and touted its own virtues.
"One man's trash is another man's treasure," may be a tired old adage but it is never more clearly illustrated than in the cases of typewriter enthusiasts and yard sale aficionados.
If you're looking for a working typewriter and don't want to pay much, check out the yard sales and flea markets before going to the antique shop. You probably won't find a beautiful gem to show off to company, but you may very well find and old warhorse that still serves its purpose. Antique dealers know that you're looking for something, so they can always charge a little more. But if you find a typewriter at a yard sale, you can bet that people are all but willing to pay you a few bucks just to take it off their hands.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Writing day

Recently I declared my Saturday a writing day. I hadn't spent much type at the typewriter and too many ideas were rattling around in my head clamoring to get out into the world of paper. This reserving of Saturday for writing actually made the rest of my week more productive. Any errand to run or chore to complete could be done before or after Saturday.
I'm proud to say that on Saturday, I actually completed a short story. I haven't decided whether to share it online. It's still a first draft at this point. It could work as a stand alone or a first chapter to a longer story.
It's a werewolf story and it's anything but G-rated. This ain't Twilight. I did learn a valuable lesson for dealing with writer's block. Just let your darkest fantasies out to play and you'll definitely shake some creativity loose.
In other horror news, I've become painfully aware that I actually own five typewriters and only one is in working condition. So perhaps this Saturday needs to be a designating typewriter maintenance day.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

They Ain't Dead Yet

When I first got interested in typewriters, I read that they are seldom seen but still very much in use. Every police barracks and hospital has at least one on hand. This is for the purpose of typing information into forms.

Recently, I met someone who probably wished he owned a typewriter. I had stopped into the district judge's office to pick up some files for work. The gentleman ahead of me in line was getting some forms to fill out, for what I don't know. As a reporter, it is my job to be nosey, but at that moment in seemed inappropriate.

He asked if he could fill out the forms by hand, and the lady explained that they needed to be typed. She then proceeded to tell him that the forms could be found online, filled out and then printed. So many steps.

For me it would have involved several geographical steps. I don't keep a working printer at home. Ink cartridges are expense.

I did casually remark that every hospital and government office keeps a typewriter just for that purpose. A nearby police officer confirmed it. Behind the desk, another clerk busied herself filling out forms with an electric typewriter.

I could have offered to sell the guy a typewriter, but at the moment, all but one of mine is in need of some level of repair. So there I found some motivation to get some tinkering underway. Plus, I need to keep this blog alive.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Arrivals

With my tax return in hand, I couldn't resist stopping by Shadows of the Past. This place is not your grandma's antique shop. There is something for everybody. They have old comic books, Beatles records, train sets, toys, tools and a lot more than I have space to list. There is always some 60's surf rock playing on the stereo to add to that feeling of truly stepping into a time warp.

Shadows of the Past is located on state Route 120 just outside of St. Marys, Pennsylvania. Check it out if you ever get lost and end up in this area. Don't look for it online. No matter how much I tell the owner, Jeff, that he could really take advantage of the internet, he doesn't want to hear it.

Sure enough, the old batwinged Oliver typewriter was still sitting there collecting dust and mocking me with its price tag. 
The Oliver No. 9

Jeff then directed my attention to a portable Olivetti Studio 44. The original instruction manual was still with it. It advised that for any problems, I can contact my nearest Olivetti agent or a local typewriter maintenance firm. Wouldn't you know it, neither of those exist in my area.

Olivetti was founded in 1908 in Ivrea, Italy. It still exists as a manufacturer of telecommunication devices.

The instruction manual advises:

The Olivetti Studio 44 is the quietest model I've
owned. The carriage moves so smoothly
it almost seems like an electric model.
"Never oil the machine. It leaves the factory ready for long service without attention. Special oils are necessary and are applied only to certain parts. Indiscriminate oiling can interfere with the proper working of the machine."

So there's some wisdom from the past. Take it easy with the oil. The manual also indicates that this machine originally came with a cleaning kit, but that doesn't appear to have survived the years. Not that it really needs it. This machine is in fine condition, works smoothly and even has a good ink ribbon.

The store owner must have grown tired of the Oliver sitting there, because he dropped it to lower than half of the original asking price to get it out the door with the Olivetti. The Oliver definitely needs some cleaning and a new ribbon. Other than that, it seems to be in working order. On the front of it, it says, "Keep machine cleaned and oiled."

So many conflicting messages on this oil business. There's my comment fishing scheme for this post. If you work on typewriters, leave a comment on what kind of oil to use and how to apply it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


I'd like to take a moment to thank the Typosphere for adding me to the blog roll and everyone who has taken the time to read. Readers motivate writers.

I haven't posted much lately because I haven't really had much time to tinker. I have, however, been doing a great deal of typing. I have a short story I've been working on, and sometimes I just write my thoughts. If nothing else, it keeps me in practice.

People who know I work for a newspaper sometimes ask if I use a typewriter to write my articles. The answer is no. For my profession, I need to be able to write, edit and transfer quickly. Time is of the essence when reporting.

One area that my typewriters have improved is keeping in touch with loved ones. Of course I use the phone, text, e-mail and Facebook, but taking the time to type a letter almost guarantees more depth in the communication.

I had to move a couple of hours away from my girlfriend to take a job while she is finishing school. We talk on the phone every night, but writing letters is something special between us. If you have a significant other, I strongly encourage you to write them a love letter, even if you live in the same house. I promise good results.

I even wrote a few thank-you letters after Christmas. It's amazing how much our parents try to instill that in us as kids, but we seem to forget about it as adults. It seems to be a common thread in the advice columns. Yes, I confess. Reading the advice columns is a guilty pleasure of mine. I notice that quite a few letters are from grandparents who feel ignored or unappreciated by their young relatives. They're expected to pay out the birthday money like it's tax time, but rarely do they get so much as a phone call.

I've been guilty of neglecting family relations, but this year I typed some thank-you letters to relatives who had sent me some holiday cheer. An e-mail or phone call would have been faster and would have fulfilled the obligation, but that wasn't the point. The point was to actually dedicate some time and thought to another person.

The internet keeps us connected but often in a single-serving way. We can say, "Hey what's up" to our old school chums, but who wants to say, "Hey, what's up" to Grandma? E-mail seems a little to professional, and I simply refuse to use texting as a primary means of communicating with family. Texting is what I use to meet up with a buddy at the bar.

Getting an actual letter is exciting. It means someone took the time to writer it, seal it, walk it to the mailbox and send it. Congratulations. Someone thought you were worth all that. Think about it. When is the last time you actually got a letter in the mail? I don't even like going to the mailbox, because I know it's going to be bills, junkmail, ads for stuff I don't need and coupons for stuff I don't buy.

Let's start a letter writing campaign. Think of someone you haven't been in touch with for awhile, someone who'd love to hear from you, and write them a letter. Do it tonight. Stay off the computer. Use your typewriter. If you don't have a typewriter, write it by hand. You'll be surprised how relaxing it is to sit down and write a letter. You'll also be surprised just how much you actually have to say.

When you finish your letter, feel free to come back here and leave me a comment about your letter writing experience. When you finish doing that, think of someone else who would like to hear from you. Send some ink and paper out into the world. Let's make going to the mailbox fun again.

Monday, March 10, 2014

An interesting find

My sister had called and tipped me off about a typewriter she'd seen at Butler Antiques & Collectibles for eight dollars. At a price like that, I assumed that it must be broken, but at a price like that, I'd gladly buy a broken one. If nothing else, it could be a repair project.

The newest addition to my collection,
a Marxwriter children's typewriter.
Upon further investigation, we found out that it was a Marxwriter children's typewriter. It was marketed as an educational toy, but it is a functioning typewriter. Other toy typewriters I've seen involve selecting the desired letter with a wheel and then pushing down on a one-piece keyboard. The Marxwriter has a three-row keyboard, which types in capital letters only. The shift key raises the numbers and symbols.

Of course, for the price, there was no way I could resist. My 4-year-old nephew was instantly fascinated with it, so it might make a nice gift for him after he gets a little older and I've made a few minor repairs to the machine.

For collectors who may be interested, Butler Antiques & Collectibles also had a very old electric IBM model. It had obviously seen better days, and the shop quite honestly labeled it as "not sure if works." I'm not very interested in electric models, so I didn't inquire further.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Writing Routine

In the last week, I've been getting into a routine of writing in the morning. Putting in some hours on the typewriter with a cup of coffee nearby is a great way to start my day. Fortunately my day job doesn't expect me in the office until late in the evening, or else I might not be so chipper in the morning.

My ideal routine would be breakfast, then writing until lunch time. After lunch would be dedicated to calls, interviews, story assignments and scouring press releases for potential news stories. I say this is my ideal routine and not my actual routine, because I haven't quite made it fall into place, but I'm getting there.

Morning is a great time to write because my mind is still in that dreamy fog that allows for creativity to flow. The typewriter makes for a good first stop, because it keeps me in that creative zone. The computer carries too many distractions. I'll be tempted to check news links, Facebook and before I know it, I'm lost on YouTube for three hours.

I'm cautious about typing late at night, because the walls are thin in my apartment, and I don't want to disturb my neighbor with the sound of me banging away on the typewriter. We had some issue when she went off her medication and would scream and swear at nothing in the middle of the night, but she has been doing much better lately, so I try to extend the same courtesy to her. Let me tell you, I've heard some angry drunks swear before, but nothing is more terrifying than the raging of an insane old woman.

Writing fiction was my first interest in the written word, but that's not exactly a job where you get paid by the hour. Typically, you need to make time for it while working a day job ... or night job, in my case. That may change after I get my first New York Times Best Seller, but until then, I'll need to put in some good solid hours on the keys.

I'd like to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell me about your writing routine.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Writing and Resolutions

The snow is falling heavily outside my window as I write this, which would be exciting if it were early November. I love winter, and I love the snow, but here in Pennsylvania, the winters tend to be quite long and the snow stops being exciting once the holidays are over. I happened to be born with an extended holiday season. Today is my birthday, cozily nestled midway between Christmas and Easter.

Birthdays, I think, are a perfect time for reflection and resolution. The birthday marks the passage of another year of life. A birthday is an individual's special day. Spend it how you like. Get drunk, take a long walk, go shopping or stay inside and read a book. It's entirely up to you.

As for me, I've resolved to spend a few hours parked here in front of the typewriter. That's how I'm spending my 34th birthday. As for my 34th year of life yet to come, I've resolved to spend more time on my writing. No more excuses. No more complaining that I don't have time. The truth is that most of us have a lot more time and money than we think we do. We just don't use it very wisely.

Birthdays seem like a far more appropriate time for resolutions than New Year's Eve. How serious can one really be about quitting smoking between beers and shots? If quitting smoking greatly improves your health, then some of us should be immortal for as many times as we've quit.

New Year's Eve is simply the climax of a modern day Saturnalia, an end-of-year festival filled with drunken lustful debauchery. It's wonderful, but it's certainly no time to buck up and get serious about life.

I've been reading Stephen King's "On Writing." Stephen King was my childhood hero. My first King book was "Christine," which I read in 6th grade. At that age, I wondered why he spent so much time on character development instead of cutting straight to the sex and violence. Though I may have been too young to appreciate all the elements of "Christine," I still loved it. It was a good old fashioned ghost story at its core, and I loved ghost stories.

As a kid, I had an overactive imagination (still do) and was afraid of the dark (still am). Ghost stories scared the piss out of me, and I couldn't get enough of them. (Still true.)

The next King book I read was "The Shining," and by then I knew I wanted to be like Stephen King when I grew up. I wanted to be one of those wizards who brought the imagination to life. As a child, I was often chastised for not paying attention and being off in my own little world. I couldn't help it that my own little world was way more interesting than whatever the adults were talking about.

Stephen King clearly had the life. He spent most of his time in his imagination and got paid for what he found there. Suck it, real world.

In a way, looking up to these literary heroes of mine may have contributed to a self-defeating attitude toward my own writing. The sentence I'm typing isn't perfect. It's not genius. I'm not the next Lovecraft, King or Poe, so maybe I'm just not that good. But I guess that's for the reader to decide.

In biographical depictions of great writers, we often see a romantic portrayal of a bohemian life in which the hero ducks the landlord, struggles to make ends meet in a small apartment and shells out pennies and dimes to pay off a bar tab. Somehow, the struggle looks so much cooler in the movies. Maybe that's because we know how the story ends. We know we are watching the story of a great man. In your own story, you don't know the ending. You have no way of knowing if you are an intoxicated genius or just another drunk asshole. You can't tell if this small apartment is the first step on the journey to a secluded country estate or if you're going to die here.

There is something sweet and adventurous about living like the legends, but I don't want to die like them. I don't want to go out like Hitchens and be robbed of my golden years by cancer. I don't want to end my own life with a bullet like Thompson. I don't want to fade out and be lauded as a brilliant poet only after I'm dead like Poe.

So for this year's birthday, I went on a writing binge. Sure, I downed a few beers and shots over the weekend. I still have to have my fun, but my body refuses to play when my mind gets up to its old tricks. My mind still thinks I'm 21. My body knows better.

I will never be the next Stephen King, nor do I want to. I would have never called Stephen King the next Lovecraft. Both King and Lovecraft might very well slap the shit out of me for even suggesting it. Lovecraft is Lovecraft. Stephen King is Stephen King. I'm Jim Meyer, and that is who I resolve to be this year.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Servant or Master

Thanks to a reblog by Welcome to the Typosphere, I read a BBC news article about Gordon Martin, UN Correspondent for Vatican Radio, who still uses a typewriter. An old man, set in his ways, he eschews the use of the computer and has never owned a cell phone. He seems to believe that modern gadgetry can get in the way more than it helps.

After a recent experience at the newspaper office, I'm inclined to agree. As I was laying out the next morning's edition, I realized that our internet connection had gone south. This left me unable to get the weather report, lottery numbers or Associated Press stories. Without all this, it was going to be a very short paper. Either that or I was going to have to draw pictures in the blank pages, or this edition was going to be a nightmare of press releases, or ... horror of horrors ... I was going to have to type up those school lunch menus I'd been sitting on for the last week.

For the life of me I don't understand why the school lunch menu has to go in the newspaper. Italian dunkers, grilled cheese, pizza burgers, whatever. It's what's for lunch. Eat it or go hungry. Pizza burgers are a disgusting arrangement of cheese and sauce on a crusty burger bun. Why does that exist? I swear I've never seen pizza burgers outside of a grade school cafeteria, and I'm displeased to know that this sorry excuse for food is still being served to kids.

But anyway, back to the topic at hand ...

It never ceases to amaze me that when the internet goes down, everything stops. Technology, like money, is a good servant but a bad master. We should embrace the technology that makes things better, faster, more efficient, but we should not forget those skills that preceded the digital age. To do so is akin to sitting at the top of a skyscraper and kicking the foundation out from under us.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Perhaps we need to keep some of the old ways alive. Maybe we should be talking to our neighbors, so that we have a social network that isn't in cyberspace. Perhaps publications need to keep the old machines and lines of communication up and running so we don't miss a beat when the internet gets faulty. Perhaps we need to hone our tinkering skills so that fixing the internet is as common a skill as putting air in the tires.

One way or another, we need to catch up to our own technology.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Dreaming and Doing

One of my character flaws is that I've always been more of a dreamer than a doer. I'm that guy that talks a lot about what we ought to do ... one of these days ... real soon. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I should do and not enough time actually doing it.

From the time I was in fourth grade, I wanted to be a writer. I even started working on a book with paper and pencil about a guy who was half vampire and half werewolf. Apparently some movie producers found my fourth grade notebook and made a movie called "Underworld." Bastards. I want my royalty checks.

I have entire novels written inside my head that I could never get out on paper. "On paper." That phrase is practically outdated. Books nowadays are rarely written on paper. They're printed on paper, but they are usually written on a screen. Saying that I got something on screen sounds like I'm a film maker rather than a writer (or like I'm Captain Picard answering a hail from a Romulan warship).

The typewriter seems to be the talisman that bridges the gap between the world of dreaming and the world of doing. Typing on the computer feels like work. Typing on a typewriter is fun. I don't quite know why that is, but I think it is due to the fact that I actually feel like a writer when I'm at the typewriter.

Unlike the personal computer, the typewriter never became a household item. The average person didn't have a typewriter just sitting around. They were expensive. People who had them were people who actually needed them. Typing was a specialized skill. It wasn't taught in elementary school like it is today.

Now I find myself writing everyday, and I'm always getting something on paper. Something I plan on doing soon (See, there I go again.) is to go through my computer files and type them out on paper. I have a feeling that in revisiting these old ideas, some new ones will emerge and maybe some of my abandoned projects will actually see completion.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


The L.C. Smith Number 8 has become my first tinkering project. I confess that I may have dove into this without having the foggiest clue what I was doing. I approached it with the childlike wonder that says, "Let's take it apart and see how it works." There is nothing wrong with this, but it may require a great deal of patience to see it through.

The first step to getting the Smith even functional was finding a ribbon. Through asking around, I found a stationary supply and print shop hidden away in an unmarked building in a seldom seen corner of the city. It is the kind of shop that doesn't really need to be seen because it generally serves businesses rather than walk-in customers. I came out of there with universal calculator spool. It seems to be inked a little too well as the type is readable but blotchy.

The simple act of winding the ribbon onto the old metal spools was surprisingly relaxing. Apparently, without even realizing it, I had become so caught up in the high speed world of the digital age that my mind longed to be grounded in physical reality.

The next flaw I found was that the carriage bell often dinged randomly during typing. Having never tinkered with a typewriter before, I had no idea where the carriage bell was actually located. So I began removing tiny screws, removing the back panels and gazing into the guts of the beast.

I found that Hoppe's gun oil worked like a charm in cleaning and lubricating the metal pieces. This should come as no surprise since several companies manufactured both typewriters and firearms over the years, Remington being the most well-known example.

Putting it back together by memory wasn't as easy as I thought. I recommend taking notes, labeling parts and even taking photos at each step. Unfortunately, by the time I had any of these bright ideas, I was already further into the project than I had anticipated.

In the meantime, I had given the Remington to my girlfriend as a Christmas present, leaving me without a functional typer until I got the Smith reassembled. This served as powerful motivation to get the Smith at least partially back online so that I could type. Luckily, I found the Royal to satisfy my addiction in the meanwhile.

The Smith is now partially back together, to the point where it can be used ... somewhat. I now know how Geordi La Forge feels when he says that the Enterprise's warp engines are only at sixty percent. Everything seems to work somehow, but Geordi is nervous.

The Smith is serving me well as a self-paced tutorial for the tinkering aspect of my hobby. Now that I've connected with the Typosphere, I have other minds to help me along the way. In a way, this hobby is self-supporting. As long as I have typewriters to tinker with, I'll always have something to type about.

Friday, January 17, 2014


The act of typing on a typewriter has become like a form of meditation for me. It inspires creativity on a level that is difficult to achieve on a personal computer. Don't get me wrong. I love modern technology. The computer is a wonderful telecommunication device. It is an efficient tool for the storage and transmission of data. It is even my primary source of entertainment. A few years ago, I gave up a television subscription in favor of YouTube and Netflix. Online entertainment allows me to manage my time on my own terms rather than plan my activities around the television schedule.

But it seems that for every advancement, there is a setback. As we communicate with greater speed, communication becomes more careless. Language becomes less artful and more utilitarian. You becomes U. Sophisticated wit is replaced with a simple LOL. Spell-check and auto-correct point out mistakes that can be corrected with the delete key.

I appreciate modern conveniences as much as anyone, but sometimes there is more to consider than convenience. Fast food is tasty and convenient but not nearly as enjoyable as a home-cooked meal. CGI makes movie special effects easier ... and less impressive.

I believe that the creative process has a great deal of input on the outcome of the creation itself. On a typewriter, the writing process is slower and thus, more thoughtful. Words are not easily deleted, so they are chosen more carefully. The process is more painstaking and therefore, more rewarding.

The typewriter is a single-purpose machine. When I sit down at the typewriter, my mind is in writing mode. There is no temptation to IM, Tweet or get lost on YouTube with the click of the mouse. The sound of the keys drowns out the distractions.

Of course, I'm no primitivist when it comes to modern technology. As I type this on my Royal, my laptop sits on the other side of the table waiting for me to type the final draft into the blog. Just as there is room on my table for a typewriter and a computer, there should be room in our lives for the aesthetics of the past and the advances of the future.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A new hobby ...

My interest in the typewriter stemmed from an interest in the history of my profession. I would chat with a older co-worker at the newspaper office about the days of hot metal type, when cut-and-paste was literally cutting and pasting.

I really fell in love when I was out Christmas shopping and visited Shadows of the Past, a local antique shop. There I found a Remington portable and a L.C. Smith Secretarial Number 8. These two mechanical denizens of a bygone age speak of their purpose through their design.

This Remington portable model still works like a charm.
The Remington is compact and lightweight. I can easily pick it up with one hand. It was made for the writer or journalist on the go. It was made to accompany the writer to events, offices and hotel rooms as a faithful and functional companion.

The L.C. Smith Secretarial is a heavy stationary model from around
1934, if my research serves me well. This one has become my
tinkering project.
The Smith model is a heavy hunk of metal. It was designed to sit on a desk at a business. When I first put my fingers on the keys, I typed the first thing that popped into my mind. "Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise." It then occurred to me that the designers and users of this machine would not have recognized that phrase.

The Smith needed a few adjustments. First, I needed to find a ribbon for it and wind it onto the metal spools. Universal calculator spool worked, but it makes the type blotchy. It seems that the ribbon is too well inked for how hard the keys strike.

Another problem was that the carriage bell dinged at random while I typed. So I embarked on the journey of some learn-as-you-go repair work. Like any love affair, this led to a great deal of frustration and satisfaction. As I gazed into the working components, I felt like I was looking back through time. I wondered if the last person to service the machine was even still alive.

Those of us who take on this peculiar hobby take on a great challenge indeed. Typewriter repair was not a do-it-yourself project back in the day. Typewriters were expensive machines that required trained professionals for repair and maintenance. Those who performed this task were the forerunners of today's computer tech support.

Today the typewriters survive, but most of the experts and technical manuals are long gone. We typewriter aficionados are left to rediscover this knowledge through our own experience and learning from each other. My hope is that this blog will become one of those valuable resources for those who share my love of typing and tinkering. Unlike the disposable technology of today, these machines were built to last. Let's make sure that the knowledge and skill to maintain them last as well.