just my type…

chez makersoph’s turned into a veritable typewriter workshop in the past couple of days.

round one was a practice on my freecycled brother deluxe 900, that saw me through my degree. with its filled-in letters, sticky keys and dodgy ribbon lift it was a fair challenge. here it is half way through cleaning (right to left), niiiice chrome 🙂

cleaned the type slugs up a treat, fixed almost all the sticking, and found the “unstick my sticky key”-key to deal with any recalcitrant letters 😀 ribbon lift is still a little temperamental, but the improved quality of the keyboard was obvious with a thorough deep clean. and only one “spare” spring to show for the part-dismantling and cleaning process 😀

rather than selling this more-than-half-decent machine off for a pittance i’ve given it to my 9 year old daughter 🙂 her journey to hipsterdom starts here 😀


next up, venturing into the world of the “ultra-portable” (ymmv :D) – an olivetti lettera 22. an ebay purchase (natch), i wasn’t expecting much, but the condition is fantastic – fully working, down to the ribbon, just a clean needed.


the already pleasant action is even snappier after a thorough clean. there’s a type regulator under the ribbon cover, now switched to its lightest setting. this model feels miles ahead of the brother in terms of engineering and ease of use.

the killer on this one is the case – ultra stylish, but both zips missing teeth and unusable 😦 i’d planned to refurb this as a travel model for my brother, but without a case it doesn’t cut the mustard. i’ll be looking in more detail at case renovation next.

having read fairly widely on typewriter cleaning procedures – and checking my supplies – i settled on a simple regime:

  • dust and hoover all loose material from inside the case (the lettera came with its original cleaning brush)
  • all internal/moving parts cleaned with white spirit (“mineral spirits” in the us)
  • all external paint and keys cleaned with windolene/flash cleaner
  • no additional lubrication applied. my understanding is that typewriters run best “dry” – it’s the accumulated dust, gunk and dried-out oil that cause most sticking. there are still *key* parts that need lubrication but i guess i’ll find out what those are pretty soon… 😀

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