15 Jan 2017

Some typewriter work.

The cover image shows the typeface on the 1950s Baby.

Around Christmas I got a Hermes 2000 typewriter, and wrote some about it here. Really though, it was supposed to be a Christmas present for Elijah. So…I had to buy more! They are cheap and offer so much in the dimensions of creativity for the writing, and in wonderful evenings restoring them and learning about how they work. So, to that end I purchased a Hermes 1960s era Baby, and because it was so cheap, also a 1950s Baby.

But NO MORE! I’m gonna write so much on them and make them really shine. The boys can carry the Babys back and forth as they like between the two apartments.

The 1960s Baby has one real problem: the rubber on the platen is hard and doesn’t grip the paper very well. Also, I’m glad I told the boys to save the metal ribbon spools, as they are 47 mm in diameter and anything bigger doesn’t quite fit in the case. Well, it does, but when you try to type with the red part of the ribbon it fails. The Pelikan ribbons I can get here at the store are 50 mm. So I’ll work with the boys to respool the new ribbon on the metal spools.

The 1950s Baby has an “Ö” key that sticks, but the platen is in better shape. I had to respool the new ribbon for a similar reason. The 1950s case has these very cute “bra” pieces of metal that fold over each spool, and there is no tolerance for spools that are too big.

I like both machines. The Hermes 2000 is overall nicer for a day of typing, but as long as you are willing to type pretty hard, you gradually get used to the Babys.

I’ve done some cleaning of the plastic and metal cases, though the segment register needs improvement. I need a degreaser chemical. I have Ballistol now as a light oil. I’ve tried to remove the platen from the green 1960s machine, but haven’t been able to figure it out. Elijah and I worked on it together and I definitely needed his help to get things back in place!

The two Babys next to each other.

On the 1950s Hermes Baby, the spools are cutely held by a metal protector. Very important that the spools not be too large.

Pelikan plastic spools are too large: 50 mm. The Baby can handle 47 mm diameter spools.

Fun with discarded ribbons. Don’t worry, the ink dried on this one decades ago!

The 1960s green plastic Baby. I wonder how to deal with yellowed plastic, and why are the shift keys so incredibly yellowed?

Anyway, removing the platen still lies in front of me. I’ve got DOT4 brake fluid, I’ve got sandpaper, and even an innertube for a bike as components of possible fixes. The first two would serve in an attempt to restore the rubber, and the last to cover the platen with the inner tube. A fourth option is to strip the rubber off completely and use a kind of melt-on rubber to basically create a new platen. I’ve already got x-acto knives for all that.