As soon as I had got the valentine underwood home, I saw that the drawband was so frayed it was about to go. Before I did anything else, (even brewed a cup of tea) I found some strong linen button thread and put some stitches into the strap. However I could see that just poking the needle through would break the strap, so I held it steady with a pair of tweezers. There are no in-progress pictures as it was touch and go. The strap broke after a couple of stitches and I heard the mainspring lose a bit of tension, but the thing held and I finished off with a few more stitches.
I looked long and hard for the serial number and consulted a lot of photos on the database to check I was looking in all the right places. Eventually I discovered this ground down plate under a layer of rust and grime… Thanks to Richard Polt for pointing me to the secret back-up serial number hiding place under the nickelled plate on the right of the carriage!
Everything was stiff and rusty, especially the margin stops. I struggled to get them to shift and too impatient to sort it, I wrote a letter with a rather narrow format. Then in the evening we burned the rice for our Valentine’s Day curry while we tried to work out how to shift the stops. Badly. However with all the windows open to let the freezing night air in, and the smoke out, the air cleared enough to get a screwdriver into action and take the ruler off to clean up the stops…
You might notice the plastic spools on the machine at this point. I was too excited to try typing to be bothered respooling and found that the lettera 22 spools worked ok for a test run. I’ve missed having a filthy thing. On with the cleaning!