Monday, April 10, 2017

The Proof is in the Pudding

Olympia SF

Post-Script: After we arrived back home from last week's vacation to Jerome, Arizona, the first typewriter I used was the lovely Corona Standard. Not only is it a true "looker," but its typing feel is wonderful. It's probably the one machine in my collection that has it all; aside from not being a true ultra-portable. But then I set this Olympia SF on my lap and began some random typing, and really enjoyed its touch, too. Yes, it does have that one little issue with the line advance, but my temporary solution of back-rolling the platen one click after a conventional carriage return seems to make it a practical writing tool.

Comparing the Olympia with the Brother Charger 11 taken on the Jerome trip, I'd say the Olympia has a more solid feel, though weighs more, but also makes a nicer imprint. And its clam shell lid latch components are made from metal, so they should be more reliable than what I've experienced with the Brother. I know some people criticize these Brother portables, but aside from the broken lid latch, I've found them to be rather reliable. But the Olympia is a more solid machine; and you could argue perhaps has better aesthetics going for it, too.

It's interesting that in all my travels with typewriters I've only ever taken with me an ultra-portable typer. Yet room in one's vehicle shouldn't limit oneself to just those diminutive models, since there's plenty of space in the back seat for at least a medium-sized portable. The real issue is how easy the machine is to lug from car to hotel room, or in the case of last week's trip, from our room to the garden for some private typing. The Brother was a good choice in that respect, as it is light in weight; but I can very much see myself on a future trip taking a medium-sized portable like one of my Smith-Corona Silents. The fancy Corona Standard I think will stay safely at home for the time being.

Since I mentioned the Smith-Corona Silents, I should also make mention that I did a bit more investigation into the intermittent escapement issue plaguing the Super-Silent. I've had promising results by comparing its inner workings with the more reliable Silent stablemate, and documented my findings in a video:

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Blogger Unknown said...

Well, your Olympia certainly has excellent type alignment. It's a pity you've had mechanical problems with your Olivetti's. Mine have both been reliable but I think it all depends on the way they have been treated prior to you getting them. I eventually figured out how to strip down the carriage on the Lettera 22 (don't touch the roller bearings, they are factory set with eccentric screws, and you can never get them right again) and cleaned out all manner of muck from the escapement. No doubt your troublesome 32 escapements are caked with bits of hair, food and various other nasty bits but getting to them is a pain. I think depending on the previous owners treatment, 32's and 22' are reliable.

I do find typewriters quite fickle in their ability to work consistently. I did a beautiful three hour repair on my Olympia SM4, replacing the silencer spring and yet as I tested it today, the spring has clearly relaxed in storage and is now rasping again. Funny enough, the only machines I've ever been able to consistency use without issue is the Lettera 22 and 32 (portables that is, my standard machines ALWAYS work each and every time). I do like the Silver Seiko variety of machines, but are pretty soulless to use and the touch is a bit uninspiring. I think if I had to choose out of all my machines, I would go for the 22 for its small size, feature rich gizmos, appearance, type quality, convenience etc. My huge Royal KMM however, is used for display purposes, never covered and works every time I type on it. They really are workhorses. I'm quite fond of my medium sized Remington Quiet-riter and the Smith Corona Galaxy 12 has been reliable and I love my Smith Corona Super :)

1:55 PM  

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