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So, continuing my run of actually fixing things that I’ve been intending to fix, I decided to attack Kathryn’s typewriter. See, a while back I obtained a Remington Compact Portable – from somewhere between 1932 and 1938, apparently. I was under the impression that this was the typewriter Hemmingway used. I was wrong. But it’s still a very nice typewriter :)

The poor beastie was somewhat foxed when it arrived – and the carriage return string was broken*. So I spent a little time today with fishing line and guesswork, and worked out where the path of the wire was, and how to retension the spring, and how taut to make it, and playing “no please don’t wind yourself around that”.

Success was eventually obtained (5th attempt I got the tension right, I got the adjustment right on the spring and it didn’t manage to wind itself underneath the spring/returnwheel/thingie**). However, then I spent an age trying to work out why the ratchet mechanism wasn’t engaging. I could see the lever that should operate it, but it seemed wedged in a position that was… unhelpful. And then, with seconds until I was due to leave to collect Kathryn I realised that if I pressed in a pin, which I have no idea what it’s meant to do, the lever would be freed. I had no idea that this pin even moved until that moment. The ratchet engaged, and lo, the typewriter works.

Sadly I didn’t have time to switch to the new ribbon before collecting Kathryn, but after she got home I spent some time getting down-and-dirty with the old ribbon and the new (two colour) ribbon. So, it’s just a bit of lubrication required (it’s a bit sticky, so tends to not move the carriage very reliably) – although that might just work out with some use, anyhow. But I can now, finally, say that I gave my beloved a portable typewriter :)

Exploded ink

* As with my valve radio’s tuner thread which broke shortly after it arrived in the house.
** Highly technical term, that is.


Kate's a human mostly built out of spite and overcoming transphobia-racism-and-other-bullshit. Although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, it's all good.