Hermes 2000 Restored!

Hey fellow typospherians, look what I've done-- I managed to fix this broken typewriter on my own. 

To make story short, I bought this typewriter on ebay US in 2016. But it arrived broken. Some moron packed this typewriter simply using Walmart plastic bags despite my repeated request on sufficient packaging. Ever since then, I just left it on my little balcony. I didn't even have the courage to take a  look at it.  

However, recently my passion for typewriter stepped up as a result of binge watching typewriter repair videos on youtube ( Phoenix Typewriter channel is definitely my favorite).  I decided to fix/restore old typewriters on my own.  I assume that it is also a natural "growth path" for typewriter collectors-- first you get hooked up by these charming machines, then you want more in your collection and gradually you want to take care of them by yourself.   Moreover, as someone who is heavily influenced by the "handyman culture" of US,  I think it is important for people nowadays to engage themselves in "active entertainment" , as opposed to, let's say, spending whole day playing with smartphone.Just move out your comfort zone and do something active and be creative. In other words, rebel against paradigms after paradigms that have been set out for you in the modern world . It might take patience and expect  frustrations, but hey, isn't that what's life is all about?!

So I paid/downloaded at least three issues of Typewriter Repair Bible from TWDB and bought and self-made  tools used by Duane ( host of Phoenix Typewriter), I'm all set.  I start from this broken Hermes 2000 that I haven't had the courage to even take a look at it over the past four years.  Oh man...it is such a beauty. It has a beautiful slightly shaded typeface too. My favorite 

After three hours' of work, it came back to life again! I don't want to bore you guys with technical details because there wasn't much trouble, only several dislocated levers.  Something was bent here and there etc etc. Apparently all damage was a direct result of impact the machine had received during transit. Luckily all these problems were pretty much on superficial level.  No serious internal damage and nothing is broken. It should have been fixed four years ago. Back at then however, I had expected it would be a hassle to fix broken typewriters as I had assumed something was broken , but it turned out I can handle them all and on my own and this is only my first attempt!  What a useful life lesson I've got ---things are not necessarily that daunting as they seem to be, therefore there's no need to be enfeebled by problems. Some problems are "paper tigers" as Chairman Mao once famously said.  It also reminds me of a famous Chinese fable  "Xiao Ma Guo He" (Little Pony Crossing the River) : You can never fathom the depth of a river is until you wade through it. 

There's only one problem though.  A golden nail cap fell off the machine and I have no idea where it belongs to.  Any help?  Thanks. 

I will be restoring more typewriters as it is an empowering life experience.  


Imperial No. 7 with RARE Typeface Emerald

Earlier today, I got this little machine I bought from ebay almost 2 months ago.  Thank you Covid-19! 

I'm not a fan of small typewriters. For some mysterious reason, I prefer big desktop machines.  However, this one caught my attention. It has a super rare typeface called Emerald and figures Corres according to the original sales document that comes along. 

I found that Europeans, British in particular, prefer tiny little typefaces for their typewriters. I have another Imperial No. 5 that has very small typeface and the scale on the carriage goes up to 120, which is very interesting. The vast majority of Chinese typewriters, Flying Fish, Hero just to name a few, have PICA typeface, which is very boring. So typewriters with rare typefaces do catch my attention, this one in particular, as I have never heard about Emerald typeface. 

The typewriter is good. It has an elegant design, but it doesn't have a snappy feel when typed on. I find it very annoying is that the whole keyboard sank/wobbles when I hit the keys. Same problem with my Imperial 5. 

Again, packaging.....despite my repeated request the importance of sufficient packaging, the seller ignored it anyway--four layers of bubble foam and an used cardbox. The result?  The carriage return lever was somehow displaced.  By sheer luck, I managed to fix the problem, but what if some major breakdowns? Ugghhh...I can't imagine. 

Hope you guys enjoyed it. 


DIY Underwood Decal

My favorite typer at this moment, maybe for a long time in future, is this 1958 Underwood Golden Touch.   There's a special connection between me and this well-engineered machine. 

It is arguably the BEST typewriter that has ever been made.  

But I think something is missing.  What is it? Maybe some decal on the paper support?  The only other Golden Touch I saw on typewriterdatabase.com doesn't have it either. Nor do Underwood typewriters of same model on ebay I saw from time to time.  

Still, nothing prevents me from doing something to demonstrate my love of it and my admiration for US engineering/design. 

I found a Canadian made Underwood online. And its decal design looks original. So I asked a friend, who is a graphic designer at L'OReal, for help. 

And the sticker came in earlier today. 

Now this great American typewriter seems COMPLETE to me. 


Need help with the platen removal of Continental Standard

Dear fellow typospherians, I'm  in need of help.

Pictured here is a Continental Standard typewriter.  This machine well-used, rusty but it is in perfect working order except that the feedroller has already melted and flattened so paper feeding is difficult, and paper cannot roll up properly whenever I pull the carriage return lever.  

This time-honored machine has a British keyboard with a Pica typeface, unlike most Continental typewriters that come with German keyboard. Also, it is very special to Shanghai as  evidently it was built for the Chinese market back in 1940s.  An important proof is that it has a TS symbol which is the Chinese currency "tael"  in early 20th century.  This machine most likely was used in offices in the former British concession at  that time and it has never left Shanghai, the famed port of the Far East. 

The TS symbol for taels, the erstwhile Chinese currency

I have an ambitious project-- to restore this old machine. But the first step is to replace platen which has hardened as rock and its feedroller has already melted down.  

I'd be very grateful if anyone of you could offer any advice on how to remove the platen.  I have googled.   Some says  "just unscrew the knobs".  I tried, but both of them are unscrewable. I cannot find any screws to untighten so it seems that you guys are the only one I can turn to for help.  Many thanks in advance. 

the right-hand knob

the left-hand knob

the right-hand knob from beneath


The Flying Fish family

Two years ago,I bought this Flying Fish Model PSQ from taobao, China's equivalent of ebay for RMB 220 ( approx. 32 US dollars)  According to the original receipt that comes with it, this ultraportable typewriter was produced in 1977.  The dimension is 29.5*29.5*7.8cm. 

This model was later rebranded as Hero model 110 or KOFA 100 (hence the mysterious 100). Design-wise, the machine is essentially an Adler tippa (1950s model) for its body and Olympia Splendid its carriage. So it's fair to say that these small-framed machines have German blood and, when being typed on, feels like one too. The green bilingual label on its back rail shows that this particular machine was built for export therefore its quality is guaranteed.  I won't say they are the best, alignment is not always desirable, but they are what China can offer to the typewriter world back at that time.  It's fair to say, they are not bad. 

Shanghai in 1980s

Unlike almost every typewriter made since mid-1980s in China, earlier portables are more likely have Elite typeface 12 inch.  Alignment on this machine isn't bad. Also worth-mentioning is that earlier models uses vinyl bags just like most of its western counterparts back at that time, such as Olympia splendid . However, portables made since early-mid 1980s come in plastic bags. Early models are greyish blue, red and white, but mostly red. 

The following is an ad for the Flying Fish series.  It is in English, another proof that these typewriters are built for the international market. 

The original manual of the typewriter. 

Just in case you don't know how to use this machine πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Thank you for reading.  Hope you enjoyed it.