Thursday, April 13, 2017

Vulpes Mechanica

Oh, hey Winged. What's up? 

What is that you're doing.... 

Oh no.... OH NO!!!


Ok wait no. It's not what it looks like. Ok, its partially what it looks like. But it's not. I swear.

You see, I've made a hard, but worthwhile, choice. With the restoration of the Californian Model 24 on the backburner (I plan to really get going with it this summer, once I get some other machines finished up. Forgive me, Mary.), its special keys and characters were just sitting there in a drawer. And being an accountant, and loving business and law, I decided to finally just go ahead and get some of those special characters onto a machine I actually can and do use. The three I picked off of the 24?

The Degree and slightly skewed line (I forget what its purpose is), the Hands of Doooooooooom!, and most importantly, the Subsection and Pilcrow. I really, really wanted a subsection machine. So I'm making it.

The donee to this madness?

My Fox Model 25.

Now on most machines, type replacement can get a pick hard and scary. Not on Fox's! You see, both the keylever caps and the type's themselves just pop right out. Ok, for the type you'll need a pair of pliers to gently wiggle them first, and they'll help give you leverage under the caps to pop them out. Anyway. Lets get the surgery underway!

This is my Fox after about 30 seconds. You can get all the stuff out of the way incredibly quickly. Really helps when cleaning.

The current keyboard. I have used the fraction keys for a legitimate purpose 0 times, and don't think I ever will. So they're the ones to get taken off. 

The type comes out, and the bar is ready to accept a replacement.

The new key caps pop right back on, though they're a bit less glossy than my normal ones. Funny story; the Hands of Dooooooom! wont actually work on this machine. The type is too wide to fit through the typeguide (which I assume is trimmed a bit on the M24). So back in went the 1/2 and 1/4 key. The only fractions I would probably ever use.

Getting the type's in is easy. Just push them in place, pull it up to the typeguide to align it vertically, and use the pliers to push the type in with a bit of pressure.

Brought all back together in about 30 seconds again, the Fox 25 can now do some business legal work!

I have a bit of adjustment to do. The slanted line isn't properly slanted, and the subsection key doesn't print the top half quite well enough. Easy enough for me to do, it will just take a bit of care and time. I could use a new ribbon, as well. This ones pretty old.

So, I know some people will say I've just desecrated this machine. Yes, yes, I've already been told I'm going to hell anyway, so there's nothing left for me to fear.

 But here I ask you, and I would like to know, what your thoughts are on something like this? I see it as something that, 100 years ago, the Fox factory would have gladly done for a paying customer. It's a machine with interchangeable parts, why not customize it in a way that it was intended to, at times, be customized? 

In the end, I'm thrilled I can use these characters. And I figure that my restorative efforts in relation to the dozens of machines I've brought back to life have earned me this tiny blemish on historical accuracy. On top of it all, should it ever need to be done, I still have the original type and keytops. I can just as easily put them back in place.

This has been your look into minor cosmetic surgery on a Vulpes Mechanica.


  1. You are absolved of all sin. Go forth and apply the multi-pliers.

  2. You are absolved of all sin. Go forth and apply the multi-pliers.

  3. Seems like they *intended* such a switcheroo to be trivial. Respecting the original intention. (: