Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Workshop Ramps Up To Tackle Projects Galore

Relatively warm weather has arrived (between the bursts of rain and heavy wind, at the least), and with it my "workshop" begins to ramp up operations after a rather uneventful winter.

First we have the lovely Fox 24, with 90 some years of dirt and grime. I'm curious where this stuff actually comes from at a point; does dust congeal over time, especially in humid environments? Just one of those things I guess.

Dirty typebars.

Dirty keys.

Dirty everything.

After a short while on the workbench, a bit of steel wool, dremeling, and some glass cleaner, the keys look quite a bit more presentable. They'll never be perfect, as the celluloid has at a core level become faded, and some are cracked, but the nickel is shining and all legends are easily readable.

A bit of work has started to make the longer typebars more presentable as well, though they still have a ways to go.

Though on the operation table, the Fox from the Netherlands met the Fox from Ohio. This little Sterling arrived safely and soundly from the collection of Mr. Richard Polt, and will be getting the full restoration treatment. I suppose I've specialized in Fox portables, honestly.

The main reason I wanted this machine; it's Spanish keyboard.

It's a bit worn, but impressively enough it seems to currently be operational for the most part (Fox portables rarely seem to be). It wont clean up perfectly, as I assume a good bit of the nickeling is beyond saving, but it will gleam again.

One of the best things with Fox's: They're just so dang easy to take apart for cleaning. To this point. Any further and you'll need an expert mechanic to help figure out what the heck to do.

A bit of organization led to this picture of my Shelf of Projects and Parts;

Represented here, we have a Fox Sterling, Fox Portable 1, Fox 24, two Philco radios, a Hammond Multiplex, an Emerson,  an Underwood 3-bank in green, a Royal P, a Royal Deluxe, a Royal O, an Olympia Simplex, an Underwood Noiseless, and an SMC grey machien from the 60s that I cant remember the name of. Sterling, probably.

But though typewriters are my main interest, I grab other objects of interest at times. I picked this particular thing off Craigslist just the other day;

An NCR 313 cash register, meant for smaller shops back in the day. It was at one point nickel plated; I have determined that the nickel plating must have gone to hell, because what you see on it now is actually a layer of faux-silver paint, which I may or may not take off. This machine is near solid brass underneath the paint, so that would look nice as well.

Mechanically, far simpler than any typewriter (though considerably bigger and heavier).

A cool registration sheet of sorts was on the bottom of the drawer; this sucker was made in June of 1916.

I've only cracked one cash register open before, but it made sure to let me know what to expect when you pull the bottom and sides off; more dead bugs and dirt than you can shake a stick at. And, oddly enough, a bunch of pennies from the 70s.

Just like typewriters, these things have nickeled keys which clean up beautifully. Heres the 5 cent key after just a few minutes.

Moving between the Fox and the cash register lets me avoid getting tired of a single task, so there's that. Here's the base cash register.

So many projects. But it's always nice to clean and preserve things like this, and it will make a fine addition to my collection of antiquities.


  1. Back in the saddle! That sure is a pretty cash register - just for a 5 & 10 cent store, I'd imagine. (:

    1. They certainly made them ornate back in the day. It seems weird to have such few "total amount" options when compared with the average purchase today, but then back in 1916 a full dollar was worth about $20 today, so it would work well in a 5 & 10 cent store. Someday when I'm rich I'll open a soda fountain or something with one of these guys actually being used in it.