Monday, July 25, 2016

Holy Rust-oli: The Emerson From Idaho Falls

In what is thus far the oddest way I came to actually possess a typewriter, I had purchased this Emerson off of ebay (it had been listed as being in Oregon) only to have a message come saying that, lo and behold, the seller was actually based out of my own town. Drove 3 minutes down to grab it, 3 minutes back, and wala. Here she is, in completely abysmal shape.

This little peice of awesomeness, according to the seller, was dredged up out of an old industrial building in Idaho Falls, a city that back in the day dealt mainly with agriculture and assorted heavy industries. It makes sense that an early 1900's Idaho industrial business owner would choose the cheaper Emerson over a full priced Underwood or Remington. The nature of the office and related work was not quite so prevalent out here.

Because it was first used in Idaho, it is thus to me a naturally adopted Idaho typewriter. Which means I'll be doing everything within my power to make it shine and type once again.

However, it seems like when it comes to machines I want, I can only get them in a dilapidated state. Oh well, I've ample supply of steel wool on hand ready to do its best.

The carriage was frozen to the rail with so much rust that I found it easier to take the rails off (taking the carriage along with them, of course). Its missing its left side typebar cup, the back left of the machine is pure rust (It must have been partially submerged in water or something)

Dont be fooled; the paint in many spots is peeling and flaking off, and rust hides behind everything.

Not sure what I'm going to do about that left side cup. Maybe I'll make one out of hopes and dreams.

Ok, I hadnt realized, but this puppy uses a  BASKET SHIFT. Thats right. Freakin' ingeniously well done as well. Or so I imagine. This machine cannot shift with so much rust.

I'll forever be curious as to what happened to that left side. Rust, Rust, Rust.

In the shadow of its own profile, it doesnt look so bad. But...

Think again. Rust.

Back rail and thus also carriage off. The actual escapement was rocking properly, so theres that.

First prize to the person who can tell me what this serial number is!

Ok, so I'm rarely actually disgusted with anything I find or deal with on typewriters. But this... this takes the cake. The poor spring drum never stood a chance.

And after around 2 and a half hours of trying to work out how they built the bloody thing, here is where it is at.

I will be doing Complete and Ultimate restoration on this machine, which means new paint, new decals, new pinstriping, possibly even new nickel plating if I can find a local place, new platen and feed rollers, EVERYTHING. I want an Emerson I can use.

As a final note, I would like to say that this machine was well designed, with a lot of interestingly cool features. Someone somewhere compared it to a Hammond for some reason, and to them I say "no". A kink in the typebar vertical rod where the linkage attaches is how the typebar swings. Very unique, nothing else like it. 

If you have any questions about the workings of an Emerson, let me know. I'll do my best to answer with my new-found knowledge.


  1. Super, super cool weirdie machine - congratulations! That looks like such a fun project typewriter. I can just make out the serial number: RU5T.

  2. I admire your determination! Actually the full serial number is 1RU5TDSOB

  3. I also find many of the old machines I'd like are in very poor shape. I do not have the time to restore them so I pass. I too admire your determination in restoring an old typewriter from the ground up. Quite a challenge. Best of success. I'm sure before long we'll be seeing a post of the 'new' Emerson.

  4. Yikes! Are you sure you want to do this?

  5. He's sure. Might even prompt some research into Emerson to collect what bits are known for TWDB. we been getting the yearn to poke at the more antiquey machine pages lately. Always seems to be some new info to scoop together. :D

  6. Looks like quite the challenge, but you're up to it. It is in good hands.

  7. Inspiring, such rarities still pop-up. Probably spent half a century (or more) shoved into a corner of a closet against a leaky wall. Another century it'd have been fossilised :)

    That serial number probably readable with an x-ray only - though that left-side typebar cover looks 'manufacturable' from the right-hand pattern cover.

    Good luck - that's a sizeable (and likely very rewarding) project!

  8. Thanks, Obama.

    Im doing similar work with my Victor #10, although its luckily not THT bad. Yet.

    1. Hey, would you look at that. My comment actually published this time.