The Naked Lettera

You know how it is on a Wednesday lunchtime, when your tiny bit of dust removal turns into a thing with screwdrivers. Here is what happened with my Lettera 22 and Lettera 32. A few days ago I was gnashing my teeth over how on earth to get the base (and body) off the Lettera 32. Thanks to Uwe on Typewriter Talk and to Tom Lucas The Typewriter Man (who also sold me some spiffing grommets for the Lettera 32 which have ended up on the 22 because it needed them more in the end) I finally got the 32 (and 22) naked. The simplicity of the 32’s base attachment foxed me. You literally lever it off with a screwdriver, and I should have been able to see that for myself. The evidence of others’ levering is there on the base where excessive force was used and the corners bent up slightly. But there I was, thinking, “Hmm, I wonder what blasted secret typewriter mechanic tool I need to get those bolts off.” (yes, I’m laughing now, too) Onwards.

Side by side. not so different?
Side by side. not so different?
Lever it up gently, with the typewriter on an old cushion.
Lever it up gently, with the typewriter on an old cushion.
Lifts off the rubbery fat grommets and bolt arrangement. See the previous gbh?!
Lifts off the rubbery fat grommets and bolt arrangement. See the previous gbh?!

Once this is done, you lift the back end up and the front end of this kind of base has two tabs that fit into slots and it all comes off. Simple! The lettera 22 has a more obvious 4 screws on feet on the base which even I could fathom.

Ok, next foxy bit. Extend carriage all the way to wriggle the shell off. Goes back same way.
Ok, next foxy bit. Extend carriage all the way to right to wriggle the shell off. Goes back same way.

I found that for some reason the Lettera 22 wanted its carriage extended to the left to get undressed.

The screws are different. In fact once the shells are off, everything starts to look very different...
The screws are different. In fact once the shells are off, everything starts to look very different…

22&32c22&32d

Lettera 22
Lettera 22
Lettera 32
Lettera 32

22&32bJust a cursory glance tells you the innards are quite different. But then I also noticed when cleaning the type basket that on the 32 I can depress the basket with my little finger. It is a jiggly joggly basket. On the 22 the basket is firm and unmovable until you engage the shift keys. The 32 has a twanging sound, thanks to the shift mechanism springs, while the 22 is solid and silent in comparison, even though the actual typing sound is slightly louder (on mine). Strangely, even though to me the 22 feels more solid in construction, it is actually about 0.4 kg lighter than the 32.

And I don’t fancy having to repair a drawcord on the 32, the 22 looks a lot more accessible. Hope I never have to!

The Lettera 32 had arrived in working order, but then it had developed a sudden zippy carriage and non-functioning escapement. This resolved itself in the process of trying to get the thing undressed, and I hope that my cleaning and sewing machine oiling will keep it from returning.

11 thoughts on “The Naked Lettera

  1. The most dramatic difference is in the carriage motion. The 22 has a thick cylinder that rides on wheels (like the Studio 44 and Lexikon 80); the 32 has a more conventional set of carriage rails. I wonder why they changed. Cost?

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  2. Neked Letteras! I thought this was a family blog!🙂 Seriously though, your detailed photos of getting the base and shell off the Lettera are very helpful.

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  3. Good explanations on taking apart the Letteras – I wouldn’t have figured out the 32 by myself either. I love my 22, but I don’t have a 32. Which do you like better?

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  4. ahh yes, the pressure-fit bottom pegs. I’ll admit when I took mine apart, I replaced those with screws so I wouldn’t spend 2 hours next time trying to figure out how to get them out without bending the bottom plate up.

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  5. My remove-the-Lettera-32-bottom trick is simpler still: use a binder clip to get a proper purchase on the rubber feet, and then rock them gently fore-and-aft to remove. No levering required, mercifully. I can’t trusted around semi-sharp implements.

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