Sunday, April 30, 2017

Magic Trick: National Cash Register

Want to see a magic trick?




 This cash register can now register cash again.

The original nickel plating was long gone; all that was left was a layer of paint someone else put on the machine, so I had the choice of either cleaning up the old dilapidated paint, scrubbing it all away to showcase the solid brass, or give it a new paint job. I chose to repaint it because getting the old paint out of every nook and cranny would have been a insanly time consuming task. Some day I may do that, or even get it properly re-nickel plated. Until then, here are some pictures of the process I took.

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.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It Came From The Netherlands

Well now, what have we here? A rather large parcel, it would seem.

Portable inner assembly for scale, of course.

After a bit of digging, the treasure peeked out at me... As a side note, I now have more packing peanuts that I can probably use for the rest of the year.

Well, you can probably tell what it is by this point. I mean, what would it be save for an...

Amazingly beautiful, magnificent, and awesome Fox?

This machine comes to me from fellow Typospherian Nick M. off in the Netherlands. Its one of those nice times when you know exactly what you'll be getting. And boy oh boy, did I know what I was getting. One of the last machines to ever be produced in the Fox factory, with its celluloid keytops and improvised decals. I couldn't find one here in the states for years, so I knew I had to jump on the opportunity to grab one from across the big pond. 

Its dirty, but all my machines come to me dirty. After an initial inspection, I already know that mechanically its sound. And honestly, it will clean up nicely. 

This little card came with it, and I must admit that I laughed. Robocop and Fox typewriters will forever go together now.

As a side note, a serious mystery has finally been solved for me. I purchased a Fox 28 carriage awhile back and was perplexed at the fact it lacked a gear on it, since it made it inoperable on all my Fox desktops. I couldn't get a straight answer about if later machines were different from the people I ended up asking, but now I know; Fox transferred the gear to the frame of the machine way late in its life. My Model 28 carriage can be used, should I so choose, on this machine and for that I'm even more thrilled. Not that I know what I would even type on such a bloody large carriage.

See that little Corona special on the workbench? Yeah, it's been pushed back time and time again. And alas, it is now pushed back again. Its time for this workbench to go into Fox Overdrive mode.