Sunday, October 21, 2018

How To Build A Standard Folding Typewriter: Part 1

Like the Pheonix (or perhaps, due to the season, the Undead), this blog rises from the beyond to fulfill its promise: to prepare the Typosphere for mechanical surgery.

Today's series focus's on this guy here, the Standard Folding Typewriter:

But we don't care about it already being fully assembled now, do we? No no, lets set this right.

There we go. Torn asunder, all parts cleaned, lets begin. Grab your frame!

You will note that the shift harbor and two spring plates are already attached. We proceed by completing the frame, with the front bar.

Next, we throw on the universal bar assembly which consists of two large harbors and the universal bar plus associated trip bar.

Lovely. Please at this point (because I certainly forgot to) add the shift lock on the left side of the frame. Adding it later as I had to do will be a bit more of a pain.

Now we add the shift keys and associated rod. Slip it in, scew the main screws a bit through, put the nuts on, and tighten the whole thing up.

We now place the carriage support arms into their spots, and run the thick rod through them, the shifting arms, and the universal assembly.

Now we add the shift limiter, which stops the carriage at the appropriate height.

Now, proceed posthaste to the next sub-assembly we need; the key-lever assembly.

You will need to start by making the bottom row first so that you get the spacebar into its spot. From there, place the other two rods into position, and slip one key on at a time through the gaps in the first row. Always remember that on 3 bank machines, the order goes from left to right: QAZWSX and so on.

Place the spacers onto their rods. You will slide the assembly in from the front, carefully, and maneuver it into position. Screw in the rods as they fall into place.

Now we put in the keylever-spring rod. It runs through from the right hand side and screws into the left. Once its in, start attaching the springs.

Go ahead and put the main carriage spring into position.

The arms should now stay up high and out of the way. Next you will add the linkages, remembering that on the left half of the keyboard the opening should be to the left, and on the right, towards the right. Otherwise, they will slip out of place during standard use.

Once they are all in, attach the typebars by connecting them to the proper linkages, and screwing in the two screws on the back of the machine. Do not yet bother with alignment, as that will be better served at the end.

It's starting to come together. Next we throw on the front plate, with the typebar rest attached. Hold the typebars up as you shimmy it into place, and screw it in.

It's starting to look halfway decent. Take a break to thank RoboCop.

We now progress to the carriage assembly. The carriage arms just need to have the gear thrown on, and the ribbon cup added.

The carriage rides on its base without ball bearings; rather, it glides over screw ends and a rail of sorts in the back. This bit goes in, and is the front lock-down.

Now we add the escapement. Don't bother doing it how I did, because in a few steps I'll finally realize I put it in upside down! drat.

Next is the bell ringer.

The ribbon vibrator activator!

The ribbon vibrator!


Ok, too much excitement. Lets put the escapement on properly now.

Next we take the carriage, and the back anchor. Slip the carriage into place, and screw the anchor in.

Now we add the carriage arms.

We proceed to the assembly of the whatchamacallit. Slide the paper bail onto the rod, slip the margin stops onto their appropriate sides, throw the ratchet onto the left side (which has a rounded end for it), and screw the assembly in place while making sure to attach the drawband catch on the right side.

Now its time to add the motor. I use 14lb fishing line to substitute the broken string, but a stronger line would probably be better just because. The plate goes on first, then put on the motor itself and screw it in.

That concludes part 1. Part 2 will primarily see finishing touches done, as well as final adjustments and troubleshooting. The platen and feed roller have both been sent of to California to Mr. Dade for recovering, so I'm hopeful the finished product will look and type like a champ.

Stay tuned!


  1. Beautiful work - you are an inspiration. I just got a freebie 1916 LC Smith No. 8 that was a solid rusted block of metal at Herman's. Would love to get it into the sparkling clean condition of your Standard.

    1. Knowing you, that LC Smith will be typing away like brand new in no time. I got lucky with this Standard Folding, in that it was dirty, not rusty.

  2. Excellent work! I'm amazed at each of your restorations. I only wish I had the time to even attempt one with one of my typewriters.

    1. Thank you! It does take a bit of time, that's for sure. This has been a quicker, easier restoration and it has so far still taken about 12 to 16 hours to this point.

  3. Wow, this is pretty much a master class in assembling the little folder! Very clearly explained and excellent illustrating photos. (:
    Can't wait for part 2! :D

  4. Impressive. And strangely enjoyable to read :-)

    Nice to see also that the Corona 3 (even my 1934 specimen) is mostly exactly like the original Folding Portable - enduring engineering in more ways than one.

  5. Amazing work. I just bought one. Don't know if I'm game to do what you did.