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.


  1. Great typewriters both -- congrats!

    The one area that normally can benefit from a little oil (and removal of old oil) is the carriage rails.

    Never use WD-40, as you may know. Use a fine gun oil, or even better, PB B'Laster, which is a degreaser/light lubricant. I apply it to carriage rails with Q-tips. Sometimes I do also apply it to linkages and other spots if they are problematic, especially if there is old lubricant of some kind on them. Also good for removing old oil is carburetor cleaner or electric motor cleaner (both available at auto shops).

  2. Yay! Now the Oliver isn't mocking you anymore. You can grin back at it!

    Yes, oil. Hm... I'm always a bit scared to use oil, but I've seen others having great success with it. I use sewing machine oil on Q-tips myself, gun oil isn't that common in my country. ;-) And I only dare to use it at the carriage AFTER thoroughly cleaning it. A friend of mine uses a different kind of oil, applied in a syringe with stretched twisted nose on linkages.

  3. That Oliver looks great. I had no idea about the oil. I might have to give my machines a good wipe-down and check for residue. Great post best of luck with your new typers.

  4. That's awesome that antique shop lowered the price. The shops near me are all warehouses, big and small, but they sell space to dealers so no way to really bargain too much. $5-$10 less at the most usually.
    Good to hear you got some deals!