Friday, July 19, 2024

Big Blue Gets Renewed

Here I've underlined areas in this pre-repair typing sample where the letter spacing was crowded against other letters. The problem didn't seem to be consistent or present any pattern.

Steve's invoice, whose style harkens back to my TV repair days.

Here's the part Steve replaced. It's obviously an original IBM part, complete with label and part number. It's great having access to a guy who not only was factory-trained and with decades of experience, but still has on-hand original replacement parts.

When he originally restored this machine, he installed a 1.5 line spacing feature (that wasn't originally on these model 721s), and also the EXP or express backspace feature, which involved not only installing additional internal parts, but the EXP button and the L-shaped RETURN button. So this blue 721 is rather unique in having these additional features.

The keyboard now with EXP (express backspace) key and the original rectangular RETURN key now replaced with the L-shaped key.

Of course, the white correction marks do stand out on off-white paper. This is one of the things about owning the 70-series Selectrics, they may be curvy and pretty but don't have lift-off correction.

I've mentioned this before, but electric machines with soft-touch keyboards seem to draw out the typographical errors in me, partly due to my sloppy technique but also because there's less forgiveness when you inadvertently lean on the keys too hard or slightly strike an errant key, it doesn't take much of a key-throw or force to trigger the printing. For this reason, I recently increased the keyboard tension on my 6-series electric SCM machines, and now I'm much less error-prone.

So for now, I'll be mainly using white paper with this Selectric 721, to give the appearance that I'm a decent typist!

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Special Collections Library Type-In

I should insert a family story here. Our grandparents had several rental houses, besides their main home at 112 Edith. There was a house on High Street that served as a boarding house during WW2. Some time in the very early 1950s an FBI agent came knocking on Grandpa's door, asking about a tenant name David Greenglass, who had rented a room at the High Street location. It turned out Greenglass was one of the Manhattan project atom bomb spies! So perhaps us kids playing "spy" at the library had more merit to it than it seemed at the time!

The most notable machine at this event was Kevin Kittle's pre-war IBM Electromatic, which he's spent considerable time and not a little bit of money on restoring, including a rebuilt motor, speed control circuit and new platen and power roller. It typed very nicely!

Kevin also brought this IBM Executive, which was a type-bar electric built concurrently with the Selectric, that features proportional spacing (using a system of five spacing units -- the space bar is divided into two halves, one for 2-unit spacing and the other for 3-unit spacing) and uses the power roller drive system with film ribbon spools.

Continuing with Kevin's collection of IBM machines was this Selectric 721, very much like my blue machine. Note the similarity in body styling with the Executive. His types even better than mine! Including an IBM Wheelwriter 2000 (not shown here), Kevin had machines from most of IBM's history.

This is Bill's SCM Electra 220, with the exciting powered carriage return! My Electra 120 is very similar except for the manual carriage return.

Matthew brought this Hermes 10, which immediately reminded me that if I'd known ahead of time, I would've brought my family's Hermes 10 also, the machine our Dad bought for us in the early 1970s. Imagine two Hermes 10s at the same Type-In! Maybe next time!

This pretty blue electric Royal Saturn, a cousin to the manual Royal Mercury (both made by Silver-Seiko in Japan), just had a newly resurfaced platen installed. Sitting in the Electric Corral next to the bigger electrics, it felt a bit overwhelmed, but eventually won over the hearts of the participants by its nearly silent operation.

It had been several years since I brought the venerable Galaxie Twelve to a Type-In, and I'd forgotten how nice these manual 6-series machines can be. This one deserves more love!

At the previous Type-In we held at the Lomo Colorado library in neighboring Rio Rancho, I brought all four of my Hermes 3000s. This time I only brought one, thinking the Cult of Hermes needs to cool its heels for a spell! Still, it was very popular, especially a member of the library staff, who swears she's gonna get one!

I also brought the Underwood 5, a gift from Ted Munk, and it was another popular machine. Several people commented one of their relatives used an Underwood 5, testamony to their ubiquity in the heyday of typewriters.

I brought the Royal KMM, via its laser-cut plywood carrying box, which once again proved its utility in protecting the machine from damage. I would advise at least a plastic bin to transport these large, standard-sized machines, to protect them in transit from dings and dents and to immobilize the carriage to protect the escapement from damage.

I also brought this Underwood-Olivetti Studio 44, in keeping with my theme of larger-sized machines. This is one of my favorite medium-to-large sized portables, I love the aesthetics and typing action, which I think are the best of the manual Olivettis.

Stay tuned for more videos on electrics and also daisywheel machines. In the meanwhile, here's the video about the SCM 6-series electrics. A big thanks to all who helped with the Type-In; our next event will be on August 3rd at the Ernie Pyle library, a small venue (at the former home of the famed WW2 journalist who died in combat), where I will feature pre-WW2 portables.

Also, here's a link to Monroe Business Systems where you can get new print wheels for your daisywheel typewriter!

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 2024

Harman Direct Positive Print, Pinholio Self-Developing Pinhole Camera

The last Sunday in April is when the global pinhole photography community celebrates Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. Their website is humble enough such that they don't self-promote the fact that they've been doing this for years. I know our fellow blogger and pinhole photographer Nick Dvoracek has been involved in this for years, please check out his blog, as he's the master of handmade cardboard cameras using C-41 color negative film.

This year's WPPD fell on the day after we'd held our Rio Rancho Type-In, and I was tired from the exertion of hauling typewriters and setting up the event, so I didn't feel like loading up a film camera early that next morning, when we were to meet with our fellow New Mexico Film Photographers group at Tingley Beach in ABQ. However, I did decide to bring a Lumix micro-4/3 format digital camera with a Pinwide pinhole body cap.

The Pinwide Body Cap recesses the pinhole aperture close to the sensor

I decided to attach the Pinwide onto my Lumix GH3, which hasn't seen much use lately. Because the Pinwide recesses the pinhole aperture behind the lens mount, just in front of the sensor (but out of the way of the shutter), it produces a wider angle of view image than many other pinholes adapted to digital camera bodies. However, the major caveat with it is because the GH3's sensor lacks micro-lenses over each sensor pixel, out at the corners and edges the image is vignetted and purple-tinted. I will compensate for this in post-processing, often by desaturating the color image to black & white, and adjusting for the vignette, but ideally one would use a digital camera with micro-lenses over each pixel, like the much pricier Leica M-series digital rangefinder cameras. But you probably wouldn't spend the $7000 just to do digital pinhole.

Another artifact of using a pinhole on a digital camera is it easily shows dust and debris on the sensor itself. In this series of images, I've had to do some spotting on the images to reduce these artifacts. In fact, a pinhole is a good way to judge the cleanliness of your camera's sensor!

When I arrived at Tingley Beach the rest of the group was just arriving and setting up. Our friend Ethan Moses of Cameradactyl had brought a folding table and a box full of Pinholio self-developing pinhole cameras, loaded with Harman Direct Positive Paper.

Pinholio with pinhole cap attached and accessory chemical pour spout

The Pinholio is a 3D-printed pinhole camera from Cameradactyl that has a back that nests into the front half via a light-trap, has an internal shutter and a pinhole cap that's replaceable with a light-proof pour spout for liquid chemicals, permitting paper to be processed directly in the camerea itself.

Pinholio Innards

The Pinholio is loaded with a 2.25" (57mm) square of light-sensitive paper. It also works well with Harman's Direct Positive paper, which will produce a direct positive fiber based print with just standard developer-stop-fix black & white chemistry.

We found it best to make the exposure with the camera on its side, so the shutter will stay open easier.

Once the exposure has been made and the shutter closed, the pinhole cap can be unscrewed from the body and the pour spout cap attached. This permits the paper to be processed directly on-site!

Pour spout attached to the Pinholio

Pinholio processing! (Digital Pinhole Image)

Ethan brought enough Pinholios, preloaded with Harman paper, for the entire group to have several attempts at making a successful exposure. This was my first attempt, exposed for 1 minute and 15 seconds:

The sky was okay but foreground landscape underexposed. I'd used the Pinhole Assist app on my phone to meter the scene, but the trick to properly exposing paper media, whether negative (darkroom print) paper or direct positive reversal paper like Harman's, is the paper is mostly sensitive to UV and blue light, but light meters are sensitive to the full visual spectrum of colors. So for the next exposure I gave it more time, judged by "gut feel," as many pinholers do:

I felt this was the best Harman exposure I made this day.

I also decided to record digital pinhole exposures with the Lumix GH3 and Pinwide body cap. Here is a selection to follow. Many I've desaturated to black & white, while some I've left in color.

We were situated next to the model boat pond. (Digital Pinhole Image)

Ethan brought his self-developing 4x5 back, loaded with multigrade paper and developed using the peroxide/citric acid reversal process, which produces direct-positive prints onto standard darkroom paper. (Digital Pinhole Image)

This reversal process works as follows: 1st developer using paper developer (develops the latent negative image) (2-3 minutes); citric acid solution (prepares the image to be bleached by the peroxide) (3-4 minutes); 12% hydrogen peroxide solution (bleaches off the developed silver image) (4-5 minutes); sodium sulfite clearing bath (prevents staining) (2-3 minutes); then the paper can be brought out into the light, it should be blank white, or may have a faint positive image (white light exposes the remaining silver halides); 2nd developer using paper developer (develops the remaining positive image), the positive image will appear very rapidly (:30-1:00); rinse and dry.

This was one of the best prints of the day! (Digital Pinhole Image)

Gerson Eli is proud of his goose print! (Digital Pinhole Image)

Doggie (Digital Pinhole Image)

Ducks (Digital Pinhole Image)

Geese (Digital Pinhole Image)

Ethan in the Light (Digital Pinhole Image)

Donuts are pinholes too! (Digital Pinhole Image)

Island Tackle (Digital Pinhole Image)

Log (Digital Pinhole Image)

This was a fun, annual event. Much thanks to Ethan Moses and Becky Ramotowski for helping to setup and prepare for this event, and also to the entire NM Film Photographers group for their enthusiastic support. Perhaps next year I'll actually bring a film camera!

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Rio Rancho Type-In!

Lomo Colorado Library in Rio Rancho

Amongst the standout machines on display was this folding Hammond, brought by Bill Tefft:

We were also impressed with this Smith Premier No.10, with a business-oriented upper keyboard, while the lower keyboard are caps; there are four separate tabulator keys to the right:

Kevin brought this Olivetti 660C typebar electric, that was popular with many people, due to its ease of use:

My Corona Standard is an ever-popular machine, especially decked out with its candelabra:

I haven't brought this QWERTZ Triumph Norm 6 to a Type-In for several years, it was rather popular:

Another QWERTZ machine that's been absent is this Voss Modell 50, salvaged from John Lewis's back room and outfitted with a makeshift wooden ribbon cover that looks nothing like the original two-tiered bakelit version, but serves its purpose well enough:

I wanted to bring at least one standard machine, so this nice 1920 Underwood 5, a gift from Ted Munk, served well. The right front rubber foot fell off in my car, which I didn't find until today, so we propped up the corner with the gray typing mat. Time to order new feets from Anthony Villopi of Type Space:

Finally, here's a collage of typed work, culled from the leftover sheets after the event:

A big thanks to the staff at the Lomo Colorado Library in Rio Rancho, and especially to Matthew, Bill, Kevin and our special out-of-town guests, Ron & Susan.