Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Just Bought An Olympia SM9...Which Might Need Repairing.

I think I'll use...'Courier', for this post.

Hi all! I did a quick "Buy It Now!" purchase on you-know-where yesterday, even though the seller stated that it was not in full working order. The listing stated this:

The reason I bid on it was because I began to think that perhaps the carriage lock was engaged. This would cause the symptoms mentioned in the listing.
Best-case scenario; The carriage lock is ON and this is what's causing the above-mentioned stuff.
Worst-case scenario; The typewriter is indeed not working as it ought to and will require a trip to my repair guy who 'should' be able to get it working properly.
Anybody out there who owns a SM9 able to shed some light on this? What happens when the carriage is locked? Does the back-space key work?
Based on my SM2 and SM3, the back-space key doesn't work when the carriage lock is on.
Hopefully, it's not a major problem. Otherwise, I just bought a nice, large, mid-Sixties, German-made paper-weight.
In times of potential crisis or disappointment, I like to adopt a wait-and-see attitude.
This is one of those times.
Not a major disaster.
Just possibly irksome.
I'll report back once it arrives.
Thanks for reading!


  1. Actually, I think the carriage lock scenario is quite possible, as I have seen this before. But - how would they know it had tension?

    The backspace wont work when the carriage is locked. But what they may think is working - may not be 'working'. If you press the backspace with the lock on, it sort of pushes the carriage but the carriage just forces back into place.

    That said - I'm going with a jam in the escapement or linkage. I reckon the ring that pushes out from behind the type-bars is either jammed (I've seen a stack of rubber shavings jam this mechanism up) or has been knocked out of adjustment, and isn't pushing the lever for the escapement far enough.

    That's the theory.

    The escapement is at the rear of the machine. See if you can trigger it by hand when you get it by pushing on one of the levers you should be able to see from under the typer. If it triggers, it will most likely be where I was suggesting.

    Don't be afraid of the escapement.

  2. Good luck, I hope it's a simple problem.

  3. Well i just sold a 1969 SM9 to a local flea market here in arkansas with that problem. The problem was partly because of a bent piece of sheet metal covering the carriage

  4. Here's hoping you have a "carriage-lock special". Scott's probably right, though. Fortunately the Olympia escapement seems pretty solid, so your chances are good. (:

  5. Storing machine on end in case aggravates the escapement problem. I would jiggle stuck part and EASE machine down. Carriage house might also drag

  6. The backspace is a physical pull of the rods and levers connected to the carriage - so MAY work even though the machine (ie the carriage and what it is attached to) is sitting a little too low on its bushings to overcome friction caused by carriage drag on the rear casing. Replacing the bushes has solved this problem on two of my similarly afflicted SMs - though admittedly these were models 3 and 4. Viewed from the underside, if these rubber spacers between the case fasteners and the main skeletal frame are not chubby little plump cushions of rubberiness, replace them as a fist move. I use half inch tap washers with a little extra reaming to get the bolts through them. The 'rubber' is harder than the original but will raise the whole works to where it needs to be. Replace them by slackening all 4 screws and then remove one completely, ease out the dead rubber and insert new and re-insert the screw. - repeat x 3. This also is the fix for Stephen D's last comment above. It may also have rescued Anonymous's SM9 from its fleamarket fate.

    Carriage can't be locked if the backspace works unless it is in some sort of half-on, half-off state. Also, I agree with Scott's comment, it is worth checking out.

    Only other big issue I have had with SMs is the escapement ratchet pawl not engaging. With the carriage strap unhooked, it just slid in both directions only stopped by the space bar. This tiny comma shaped appendage sits on a very lightly sprung pivot next to a coarse-toothed cog (the escapement wheel). A quarter of a drop of lightest available lube (OK, I fess up, I used WD40) to the pivot of the pawl sorted that instantly and, so far, permanently.

    If all else fails, talk quietly to it. Offer it a saucer of milk and in the morning it might just wake up purring.

  7. Just realised my comment is longer than your original post. Ooops.

  8. Thank-you all for your advice. Rob and Scott, special shout-out to you both for your detailed responses! In the original listing, seller states that the machine was working originally and there is even a photo of a writing sample. All other photos show the carriage sitting dead-centre, which leads me to believe the carriage lock is on. Although right now, I'm leaning more towards an escapement issue.
    I'll find out soon enough. Exciting times!

  9. Where is the number 1 key on the SM9?

  10. Am I an idiot? I can't find it.

  11. There is no number 1 key. You use the lower-case letter 'L' instead.