Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Royal QDL with the "word joiner" function.


  1. teeritz, this is very similar to my Skyriter except the Skyriter will type over top of the same letter or add a space in a word. I never know which it will do or when it will do it. I found a worn shoulder screw and replaced it. No change. I examined the escapement as well as the dogs. They sure look like the ones on my other Skyriters that work fine. I thought about retensioning the main spring.

    On a similar note, I was working on my Olympia Studio 44 and found the carriage feed not as smooth as I thought it should be. It was like it would lightly catch on something. I found the carriage rail was hitting a burr on the drum covering the main spring. That will be my next item to inspect on my intermittent feeding Skyriter.

  2. Wouldn't it be great if there was some kind of open workshop where we could all bring our busted up typewriters and brainstorm solutions. We could leave them on our own separate benches for days at a time without worries about them getting messed with or stolen. Bits of old steel that we could cut down to fashion replacement parts, etc.
    A bar against the wall, maybe a pool table in the middle of the room when you need to get away from typewriter problems for a few minutes, a pinball machine, too.

    It's uncanny in its randomness, this spacing (or lack of) issue that some of these machines are prone to. Of course, Murphy's Law dictates that it can only happen to the typewriters that I enjoy using the most. I picked up my other QDL earlier today and, well, if it was a horse, I'd be loading the pistol right now.
    But more about that in another blog post.

  3. I'm loving your idea there Teeritz! A man-shed for typewriters. Great idea!

    There's just something about the royal machines. I think there's an inherent problem with the escapement design, which seems to manifest in different ways on different machines. And they didn't change that design for a very long time, and all 3 of my Royal machines suffer in some way.

    Sooooo.... which pinball machine should we be looking at?

    1. I "TILT!"ed the KISS pinball machine on many an afternoon back in the early '80s. There was a great machine called "Black Knight". It was the size of a single bed and used a billiard ball instead of steel ones. Cost $2 bucks per game back then when all other machines were still charging 20 cents.

      As for the typewriter shed, yeah, if only one or two of these old typewriter repairers were still in the game. They're getting harder to find in Melbourne-town. I'm beginning to think that I'll have to try my hand at repairing some of these myself. Yeah, I don't fancy my chances either.

    2. I thought you might have a machine in mind! And I even have seen a machine just like what you are talking about. I think Thomos in Essendon used to have one.

      Don't be afraid to dip your hands in. Naturally, give it a shot on a machine you care less for first. I'm not saying it's easy, but it is rewarding when you fix something.

      Except a Valentine. What a f**king waste of day that was for me.

  4. That's frustrating, to be sure. I love the idea of a communal repair space. I'd love to get a little help, even if it's "I wouldn't do that..." and sometimes you need a third hand.

  5. I'm with you on the community workshop idea, hopefully it might be magical enough that little elves come by at night and fix things for us :D

    The problem you describe on your Hermes 2000 is exactly what I have experience with any H2000 i've ever typed on. it eventually caused me to give mine away after many attempts at a fix. However, my Royals *never* have the famous Royal escapement issues that others complain about. I guess I can count myself lucky.

  6. I loved the post, but I loved the idea of the typewriter shed even better! I would definitely set one of these up in my yard...if I had anyone near me to talk about and work on typewriters with. Ugh...

    As to the Royal, I am sorry to hear of the frustration it is causing you. These sorts of problems are what made me swear off of Royal entirely. I love their 20's portables, but I'll be damned if I buy one and have the same old 'Royal pain in the ass' I have had with any of mine. Good luck with it, of course. A good way to forget about it is giving those Olympias some use!

  7. I too, predictably enough, love the typewriter shed / typewriter club idea. There's a place like that for bike lovers a mile from my house. Maybe in the year 2022, when the typewriter trend will have become a robust culture ...

    The "word joiner function," like the "whimsical left margin function," can happen on many machines, and it's very annoying. I do think that typing technique and speed have something to do with it, but worn-out or maladjusted parts can also contribute. These machines we love are often senior citizens, after all. Wish I had a concrete idea to help you out.

  8. Would this be anything like a TechShop for typewirters?

  9. @ Scott K, I'd love to try pulling one of these apart, but space in my house is at a premium. I'd need a little corner somewhere with a small table where the machine could lay in pieces for a week, a month, etc, without bothering anyone else. As my wife and I keep saying, next house we buy will have a dedicated 'craft room' for jobs like these.
    One day...

    @ Ted, yeah the Hermes 2000 looks great, but types shoddy. Damn. As for 1920s portables, my one, while it sounds like an old farm tractor, actually types without any issues what-so-ever. Perhaps all of my Royal good-kharma went into that one.

    @ Ken, I absolutely LOVE the Olympias. I have found, however, that my SM2 has a more noticeable difference in touch control settings than my SM3. And the Splendid 99 that I got a few months ago has become my go-to typewriter when the mood takes me to write something without the ceremony (and possible risk of back injury, been there, done that) involved in reaching for a heavier portable that's tucked away on the typewriter shelf.

    @ Richard P, I think you may be right about 'technique'. I'll have to experiment with how I type on it.

    As for the typewriter repair club, yes, it would be nifty. Everybody gets a key, open all hours (but no drills or loud machinery usage after 10:oopm. The neighbours, you know), but that TechShop idea, Bill M, sounds like it would be perfect. Walk in with a typewriter and everybody else in the room will stop what they're doing to offer suggestions on how to repair it.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, folks, but it seems like the problems with these machines can sometimes be tackled through a process of elimination and seeing what piece links up to which until you get to the root of the problem. Or am I being a tad simplistic?
    It's interesting that my new repair guy, Zack, trained firstly as a watch/clock maker before shifting to typewriters. Some of the repair principles appear the same. Springs and gears and all that.
    Although, I still think that there's a cheap clock-spring out there at a jeweller's supply store that would solve the problem.
    I can dream, can't I?

  10. My 1952 QDL has similar issues. I like to think the typewriter is asserting its personality. The harsher way to think about it is to compare the metal bits inside a Royal with those inside an Olympia. The QDLs do type well, but I'm not sure they ever had the same kind of tolerance and finish level of their German counterparts.

    I have two other brands of machines with what appears to be gimpy mainspring syndrome. As Richard pointed out, these machines have been around for quite awhile.

    1. Good ol' German engineering. Maybe when 3D rendering gets really cheap, we'll be able to get replacement parts made up at our local hardware store.