Friday, November 26, 2021

Van Neistat Makes a Typewriter Video

If you've watched YouTube for any degree of time you may be aware of a famous "You-Tuber" named Casey Neistat. Casey earned aclaim when he lived in NYC and blogged every day, come rain, sleet, snow or mugginess, for several years, with a novel style of video that's come to be a standard method these days.

But Casey has a brother, Van Neistat, and together the two of them, before Casey's YouTube fame, once had a show on HBO called "The Neistat Brothers," that pioneered a form of videomaking using consumer-grade camcorders and handheld sponteneity.

Times changed and Casey eventually moved to LA and quit daily vlogging (video-logging, a visual form of blogging). But about a year ago he convinced his brother Van (who some people say may be the more creative of the two) to start his own YouTube channel, which is themed around the idea of The Spirited Man.

Van releases videos at a pace of about one per week, and this week's video was titled "A Computer Supplement." The supplement referred to in the title is the late-1930s Corona Standard typewriter (the so-called "flat-top" model), that's featured in the title intro of every one of Van's videos (and also reminds me every week that it needs an on-feet adjustment, due to shading of the upper half of the characters).

In the video Van delivers five reasons to use a typewriter as a supplement to a computer in the creative writing process. And he does a great job of explaining the joy and usefullness of typewriters, even though he's clearly not one of "us" typewriter nerds. Or rather, he's a typewriter lover in the wild. I'll leave it to Van to explain his points, just click on the embedded video at the top.

Every since I've watched Van's channel I've wondered how long it would take him to talk about his typewriter, since he's also talked about many other of his tools. And maybe, as Van alludes to in the video, the price of Corona Standards will shoot up as a result!


Sunday, November 21, 2021

IBM Executive Model C

IBM Executive Model C

(The following typecast notes were made on the Canon Typestar 4 using thermal EKG paper.)

IBM Executive C, Part 1
IBM Executive Model C - Test Typing

Here's a look under the hood - literally, as two clips under the front of the machine permit the entire top to fold back, for easy access to the internals. In this view, we've already removed the platen, quickly done by flipping back two clips on either end of the carriage.

IBM Executive Model C

Notice too the feedrollers are divided into five smaller rollers, on both front and back sections. These are lighter colored synthetic rubber and still feel very soft. Also prominent is the carbon film ribbon, feeding across from the large spools on either side of the machine. On the lower left you can see the rubber driver rollers for feeding the ribbon. To the left of the segment you can see one of the large shifting bolts, with it red-colored dampener washers for both upper and lower case. Here's a better view of the lefthand side ribbon takeup spool, with those rubber drive rollers:

IBM Executive Model C

This view under the machine reveals some important components. First is the motor, to the lower left. Much heavier duty than those found on 5- and 6-series Smith-Corona electrics.

IBM Executive Model C

The large plastic gear with thick cloth band is the carriage return mechanism. Very impressive, compared to the Olympia Reporter mechanism, made by Nakajima, for example. You'll also notice the large black cylinder in the upper right, that's geared to the carriage return sprocket: that's the dampener that regulates the speed of the carriage return.

Here's the heart of the machine, the roller that activates the typebars. Unlike other brands, this one doesn't use a metal toothed spindle, but instead this rubber roller, that looks like a platen roller.

IBM Executive Model C

Each type bar linkage is activated by the grooved plastic curved foot that touches the rubber roller, seen in the photo as the off-white pieces touching the top of the roller. These offer a certain, solid typing force while dampening the sound of the type slug's impact. Purposefully made for quiet operation. Impressive indeed.

The repairman that Kevin used replaced the rubber drive roller with a new-old-stock unit; but I supposed JJ Short may be able to resurface one, although the hardness needs to be softer in Shore hardness than a platen, in order to properly operate the plastic drive feet of each typebar linkage.

Here's a shot of the keyboard.

IBM Executive Model C

Notice the "1" key, instead of to the left of the "2", is to the right of the "P" ! I mistyped this character in my test typing above. Also notice the split spacebar, the right half moves two units and the left half three. There's also a metal pointer mechanism for aiding in backspacing or otherwise manually repositioning the carriage. In the very upper left of the photo you'll notice a lever, angled at 45 degrees, to the left of the ribbon vibrator. If you pull this lever to the left, it raises a tiny, stiff wire up from the middle of the vibrator, to serve as a pointer indicating the center of the printing position. Very clever, but something only needed with this proportional spacing machine.

One interesting feature is the right margin setting only moves the position at which the bell dings, but doesn't stop the carriage movement.

IBM Executive C - Part Two

One of the members of our local ABQwerty Type Writer Society tells us the story of using these IBM Executive machines in her professional career, years ago. She preferred the "C" model over the later "D" model, and says they were her all time favorite machine to type on. I can certainly see why.