I've been after one of these babies for some time, now. I blame that blue-eyed blonde kid in "Atonement" (Dir: Joe Wright, 2007).
I love the 1920s Art Deco aesthetic of the Corona Four. I love the compact size of them. And, even though these were available in a bunch of colours, I preferred the sleek, black, Model T look of this one. It came up on eBay at a time when I wasn't looking to add to my collection. If anything, I'd been spending more time thinking about what to get rid of rather than what to add. But this one was at a cheaper price than what I'd seen them go for in recent years, so I tapped the "Buy It Now" tab.
It arrived in its case that was missing its handle. No biggie. I opened it up and saw that the seller had crammed styrofoam packing into the type-basket. Spent some time fishing it out with my Swiss Army knife. Not just for Boy Scouts, folks.
Fed a sheet of paper into the platen and cranked the knob. Machine made an awful scraping sound as the paper fed its way reluctantly through before appearing over the platen with some dirty black stains across the page. Yeah, I think this thing hadn't been used since that big gorilla took Fay Wray to the top of the Empire State.
I started taking a closer look at this machine. And this is what I found;
Those little feed rollers were flat along one edge. Probably what was causing the paper to jam up. 'Spoonman' Bowker suggested I hunt around for replacements. Good idea. Made perfect sense. But since when did the words 'teeritz' and 'perfect sense' belong in the same sentence?
And so, I cleared the dining table and got to work, with the help of Mr. Leatherman and Messrs. Johnson & Johnson.
Two or so hours later;
I had to remove the ruler contraption, or whatever it's called;
I figured it could use a clean anyway, and that's where I found another feed roller. This one was thinner than a pencil, but thicker than a toothpick. Oh yeah, and it was flattened along one edge too. That's what was causing the paper jamming. A scrape with a blade, some mild elbow grease with the Leatherman file and it looked about as round as it was ever gonna get.
A little rub with some fine grit sandpaper and it was now feeding a sheet of paper through the way it did 89 years ago. Or close to it. Good enough for me.
I gave the whole thing a rub-down with some sewing machine oil. This thing now gleamed like a '21 Stutz Bearcat.
Ribbon vibrator did what it should, after a cleanup;
Although, the ribbon has probably seen better days. Still, has a little life left in it. I think the serial number dates this one back to 1925, when my Dad was just a gleam in his Mother's eye;
Took me a fifth of bourbon to find the ribbon colour selector. The colour on it had faded like Jolson's career. Lucky I had a couple of Magic Markers and a reasonably steady hand...despite all the bourbon.
Here's the mug-shot profile. Definitely sleek.
Types pretty snappy now, but still a little rough, although the rubber feet are that in name only. Makes this a noisy one. Reminds me of the '28 Royal Portable that I got.
But the keyslugs and keytops are pretty clean;
I even gave the case hardware a light going over with the sandpaper. That old paint came away without a fight;
Now all I gotta do is make up a new handle for it. And I'm all out of belts. Actually, I could use a belt right about now.
And I think this will be the last of the 1920s or 1930s models that I get. I've kinda' gotten used to a smoother typewriter in recent months and this one seems a little rough for long-term writing. Still, I think some new feet and a new ribbon should work wonders on it. And if I ever get some platens wrapped up to send to JJ Short, this one's rubber will get a makeover.
Still, this Corona Four bleeds an atmosphere that's through the roof. Would make a nice display model.
Next to my Colt .45.
That is, if I had a Colt .45.
Okay, bub, I gotta run. Phone's ringing and I'm expecting a call from Clara Bow. Got a late supper date at a new place, The Stork Club, tonight.
Thanks for reading!