Vera Menchik

Vera Menchik, 1906 -1944 first Women’s World Chess Champion, 1927

This is Vera aged 16 in 1922, one year before she joined the Hastings Chess Club. Vera had come from Russia the year before, to live in St Leonard’s on Sea with her mother and sister. Vera could not speak English at the time, and so threw herself into playing chess.

Little Red Invicta

Adam & Eve Mews today is a very posh residential street, the old typewriter shop is a private residence now.
the shop in Old Town, ‘Goods Depot’ I love the Georgian postbox – still a fully functional postbox.
the typewriter in the shop some months ago
the typeface is pica -10cpi

My contribution to Margin Releases

A few years ago, I started making a piece of typewriter art. I am so grateful to the editors of the final edition of Cold Hard Type for selecting that work for inclusion in Margin Releases. It feels like the perfect place for the artwork after years of not being able to decide how to get the pieces out into the world.

I don’t want to give too much away, because I hope that people will buy the book and enjoy all the contributions fresh, with no big spoilers.

And so I will just share some photos of the machine I used to make the artworks.

The machine itself became part of the artwork.
The week I acquired this machine, I received the results of my dna ancestry test. The results, showing that I have European Jewish ancestry contributed to my desire to make the artwork.

Little blue 22

A week of cleaning and tinkering. This one stank to high heaven, as the Letteras often do. I scrubbed the case inside and out. Its case linings had come loose so this made cleaning easier and also revealed the flimsy nature of these soft cases: the linings are merely cardboard and cloth. I used stain remover made into a paste and applied with a toothbrush in small sections, allowing each cleaned part to dry off in the sun. I was worried the cardboard would disintegrate! I fixed the linings back into place with strong wood glue. Irene’s name sticker also gave me worries but actually it just peeled off easily, and the remaining gummy parts cleaned off with washing up liquid. The felt inside the base of the machine was treated to anti-bac foot spray, which neutralises the deep aroma coming from inside the typewriter.

Cleaned up and ready to go to its new home. I polished everything with Renaissance wax to finish off. The scuff on the space bar was fixed with clear lacquer.
Not forgetting the original dust cover! This also needed a careful laundering with mild shampoo. Left to dry out in the shade.

Phew!

What have we here?
Upcycle Project?!
That’s better! I gave the person at the till a quick tutorial on how to unlock the carriage and raise the return lever. Never mind about the strange word for ribbon! They were very happy to discover they had a functional machine to sell.

In which we learn from our mistakes and have some fun

This is my sled-made magnetic chess set. There’s no end to the lengths to which I will procrastinate sometimes. However it is a very useful learning tool. I can type and ponder my London opening at the same time without sending pieces flying with every carriage return.
Everyone should have this!
Well that wasn’t hard, thanks to the Repair Bible! This is the spares machine with its own original washer wedged in place between the platen and carriage hub. My machine had been fitted with a different kind of washer, of incorrect depth and diameter. The washer I found must have been dropped into the case by the mechanic… I took this nice washer and swapped it out. The two incorrect washers sort of work in the spares machine to take up the slack and stop platen jiggling.
Once you start, you can’t stop. The spares machine gets a makeover. Look at the filth on those keys! I had assumed that the white legends had been worn away by time, but no! I used eco friendly bathroom cleaner and the typewriter now smells of peaches.
Here’s those confounded fraction typeslugs again. See how ridiculously shiny they are! Highly likely to never have been used until I did a type sample!
Google does not have the answer about the five eighths keys…
Not a fan of the grey crinkle paint. Makes an interesting close up shot though. A bit like a brain coral?
Oopsie! Damage in transit. In a banana box. Hoping I can find a replacement because I’m not sure my Kintsugi kit will do the job on this.
Besties! 1941 made in USA, 1951 made in Britain.

The Truth about Knobs

On the Remington De Luxe 5:

The variable line space button shaft inside the left hand platen knob looks like this:

See that little thing down there next to the main shaft? That’s what I’m calling the mini-shaft. It allows the button to be pushed and turned and held in place, letting you keep the platen in free-rolling mode. This is a replacement left side platen knob I harvested from another Remington De Luxe 5 I bought this week. Replacing the knob could not have been easier. (You just unscrew the knob, holding the right hand knob firmly in your other hand. )My Remington De Luxe 5 is now back to being a fully functioning artist’s typewriter.

The original platen knob shaft was, on inspection, slightly bent out of shape, and also and strangely enough, missing the little mini-shaft.

When I put the orignial, now defective, platen knob onto the parts machine, I was able to reproduce the problem I had found on my original machine, after its sojourn in Bexhill.

I know one should not type anything in anger, but I’m still pretty annoyed about this whole ruddy thing.

The Truth about Knobs is out there. Don’t let them mess with your mind.

P.S (Knob, here, is invoking the British slang. It’s just occurred to me that my non-British readers may be misled over my funny title, which isn’t as hilarious if you’re not British or are not aware that a Knob in the UK is a rude word for a stupid man. )