Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Another Cool Old Typewriter

Fresh when it gets here from Julie Barrett
Saturday, June 19, 2010

We got up early to go to downtown Dallas for the Third Saturday electronics flea market. There weren't a lot of vendors, but we hit the jackpot with one. Paul found a replacement receiver for the living room. Ours has been limping along recently. Something took out some of the output channels, so we weren't getting sound to the subwoofer. All fixed now, and for cheap!

At the same vendor I found this on a table crowded with odd bits of electronic gear:

Remington Noiseless 6

It's a Remington Noiseless Model 6, which dates to about 1928. It looked to be in worse shape than it actually was. The Margin Release key was practically wrapped around the right edge of the frame, it wouldn't load paper, and it looked terrible. The good: One of the two original ribbon covers was still there, as was the Bakelite dome that covers the noiseless type mechanism. The front decal is almost pristine, though the back one is almost gone.

We waffled over it until I looked online to see what they were going for. After I picked my jaw up from the ground I picked up the typewriter and bought it. I just beat out someone else who was interested in it. I'm usually the one who just misses out on the bargains!

We hauled it home and I removed the key cover and the front plate before returning outdoors to blow out the dust with the air compressor. Wow, that did over half the work. I followed it up with a soft brush for the mechanical bits. Next, I took a mild cleaner to the rest of the unit.

While I had it apart I discovered that some of the type wasn't springing back as it should. That was fixed with more brushing and a teeny bit of 3-in-1 oil. There was still the bent key to deal with. That was easier than I thought. I wrapped a pair of pliers in a soft cloth and bent it back. I'm amazed it works. Before I took it apart, the only way to release the margin was to reach around behind the carriage and move the lever.

I put it all back together and gave it a try. Surprisingly, the ribbon is still in pretty good shape. It worked! I think it just needs to be run in a bit. I wouldn't go so far as to say the typewriter is "noiseless," but it doesn't clack like a regular typewriter. In fact, it seems that I can get by with a lighter touch on the keys. I plan to try to use it for writing over the next few days, and we'll see how it holds up.

Some of my Googling reveals that George Bernard Shaw wrote on a Noiseless, although his was a later portable model. William Faulkner wrote on a Noiseless, as did Ernie Pyle and Rudyard Kipling. Arthur C. Clarke wrote with a portable model. It's a good workhorse typewriter. Should be fun to work with.

Tags: Life

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