The Quick Black Fox
To begin, I would like to discuss titles. My previous entries have begun "The Quick Brown Fox", and many of you may believe that to have simply been due to my desire to draw the connection between the famous key-testing phrase, and the Fox Typewriter. Quite truly, even though the two do make a nice connection, the "brown" was left in for another certain reason; The machine was quite truly brown. And not by design. Rather, just as with most of these antiquated machines, it was covered in a veneer of tobacco residue. But Lo, after many an hour scrubbing and scrubbing and crying, that which was once Black turned Brown is now Black again. And in an impressive fashion, if I do say so myself:
The platen, having been more solid than a rock, is en-route to being recovered, and so this machine will have a final, "new" finishing touch to it to make it work wonders. Over the course of many hours, dozens of issues were dealt with on this machine, from the shifting sticking to the escapement catching, the keys not returning properly and the ribbon vibrator getting caught on the upwards movement, the list goes on.
When I first acquired the machine, many of the nickel plated parts had appeared to have been worn down to the copper layer underneath, and I had almost lived with this fact (Was it what is considered "Patina"? Its the first time I've encountered it). But after vigorous scrubbing, the filth came off, and revealed perfect nickel plating still shining brightly. I may or may not have jumped for joy.
Although the issue of whether one should or should not take apart a machine depends wholly upon the circumstances and condition of the machine, and the ideology of the person making the decision, I find that choosing to do so allows me to thoroughly clean a machine to an appeasing degree.
The dirt and debris was not visible until the platen and paper-bail plate was removed, again reassuring me of my actions. There were dead bugs under the carriage as well, leading me to believe that this machine had either been stored in a barn for twenty years, or some similar such location such as an attic or basement. (I would bet a whole $10 that there's a Sholes and Glidden shoved behind a steamer trunk in someones attic somewhere.)
I do believe that upon installing the newly recovered platen in the near future, this will quite truly become my favorite machine, though I will be deathly afraid to take it anywhere.
Special thanks once more to Mr. Richard Polt and Mr. Robert Messenger for their help in understanding certain functions of the machine.
Words are Winged
July 16, 2014