New Year, New Phone

Well of course! A 1960s GPO Bakelite from Brighton. Plugging it in (already converted) it received calls but could not dial out. Oh dear.
Searching for clues online, I found advice that recommended checking the wiring and a drop of light oil on the dial spindle to increase dial speed. So I took the back off to check the wiring and find the spindle…

Hmm. The wiring was correct but the whole area underneath was drenched in oil, so I dabbed up as much as I could with cotton buds and slips of newsprint, and added a new drop to the spindle nut, feeling that this was not the answer. And it was not. The dial still returned too slowly. From zero it should return while you say “one, one thousand and one” and stop on the last “one”.

Further searching (on YouTube, the Facebook telephone groups were a dead end) told me to go on in from the front. (Edit: I would have tried to do the next part from underneath but I thought I would have more space going in from the front) The newer (1070s) models make this easy. This model is tricky if it’s your first go. Just take photos at every stage and make sure you do. I did not. These are photos I took putting the phone dial back together.
Getting this enamel plate off is an absolute pain. All the chipped enamel was not my doing, wiggle the number plate off very carefully. Take photos.
Ok we are in. Don’t be intimidated. It’s just like a typewriter only with two bells.
If the dialling is too slow, you need to gently squeeze these two metal prongs, (which have weights on the ends which you can’t see. ) Then test your dial before fitting the plates back on. Plug phone back into socket. Lift receiver, turn dial mechanism while listening. On return the dial tone should disappear when your number has dialled. If not, go back and squeeze a little bit more.
Fit your paper disc in place. This is not my number, by the way, it is the original Vintage Brighton number, and I have not tested it for time travel tickets yet
All done. Thank goodness for that! Radiator cover still needs a couple more coats of paint… Bit for now, let’s have a cup of tea and a biscuit. Happy New Year, all.

P.S! this is the only phone we will be fixing on type the clouds, for this year at least. Back to typewriters now. I have a new Lettera 22 to smarten up …

120 lino prints…

being sewn into a first run of ten little books

This is tank-top guy feeling festive
This is Crow, missing her friend Tank-top guy
Sometimes when you miss someone, you just have to caw them up on the phone…
and work out how to spend time together, in a corvid safe way.

Replacing a paper finger on Underwood 5

A little while ago an eagle-eyed fellow typospherian Bill M very generously offered me a replacement paper finger for my 1909 Underwood 5. I was so excited to receive the parcel and get the screw drivers out this weekend. The procedure for replacing the finger is quite straight forward when you know how and have prior warning about the teeny spring and rod in the finger which have to be held carefully in place. I was grateful for the instructions Bill sent along with the part, otherwise I might have spent a while messing about with fiddly bits!

The screw to release the rod for the paper fingers is located behind the nickelled plate on the right side of the carriage. I had to loosen the rusted in place screw first with some penetrating stuff (ok, ok! it was WD 40, but as you can see I protected the rest of the typewriter with rags)
The rod lifted out without a hitch. Bill kindly sent the replacement finger with a bolt holding the spring and rod in place
Sliding the part into place on the rod. (Yes, my fingers are stained with black printing ink 🙂 more on that another time but I can tell you I’m kind of wishing I had a printing press now!)
Lovely
The rod slides back onto the machine. You can see part of the serial number there which is hidden beneath the nickelled plate.

It’s the little things that make all the difference. The typosphere is a wonderful thing! I’m always grateful to be a part of it.

Printing without a press

This is the first test this evening of a bookplate design. A lino cut of my Underwood 5, and text printed by hand using some type I bought off eBay a few years ago. I made the text block by clamping the letters and spaces together with duck tape. I’m using oil based block printing ink, and rubbing the back of the paper with a bone letter opener. The text block is simply stamped on by hand. I do love making things completely by hand. Don’t let the lack of a printing press stop you from making prints at home.

Distraction

Yes! It’s a photo of a machine I’m happy to be addicted to. Also, I finally got around to taking some nothing else in the background shots of my Underwood Five.

What a massive hunk of machine with only one purpose. “I’m here to serve your every writing need. I promise not to distract you, or judge you. I promise I never even thought about trying to spy on your friends or track your every step around town. I won’t measure your waking hours or interrupt you when you are eating with friends and family or reading a book. I’m yours, I’m just waiting for you. Whenever you’re ready.”

Imagine what the makers of this machine would make of that imagined typewriter dialogue. They would be shocked, horrified. Amused? Bewildered? What kind of world has this machine travelled to? One in which we do still have a choice. It’s worth clinging onto choices.

Getting a handle on it

Probably the easiest handle I’ve made
Jazzy purple shoe leather off cut with a sturdy cross stitch at each side

I haven’t had my Remington Portable on the desk for ages. One of its old issues was letter piling so I typed a page of random words to see what was what. Only a couple of instances of piling. Usually the more I use this machine the less it piles letters

I’m always keen to increase my vocabulary. I remember the first time I heard the word “realtor” and I thought huh?! I must have been about 20. Before that I assumed the Brits and Americans were speaking basically the same language with merely a large expanse of water between us. Then I learned what “rubber” meant and that it’s not for correcting mistakes on your life drawing. Oh no. And how could anyone say “fanny” in public without blushing?! Well probably me. But I blush for others.

The creator of Aunt Fanny used a Remington portable

If we read these books we (my kids and I) usually ended up having a talk about sexism and racism at some point and how different the stories might be today. I would not have chosen the books myself but if you give children free choice at the bookshop I think it’s worth exploring historical texts, and learning to say “Aunt Fanny” and “Dick” without cracking up mid-sentence is a life skill it’s never too late to learn.

Mystery box

We saw this nice old box left out on the street. Since it had a sturdy handle and looked like it would make a nice box for storing LPs in, we took it home.

The handle is also the closing mechanism, the sections of the box are secured by tongue and groove along the top edges

Wow! No way you can store LPs in this box unless you rip out all the original features. And we don’t want to do that! The most interesting detail for me is the printed instruction on how to operate the telephone this box once held. Such a shame only the box remains and in a pretty parlous state of repair ( the front section was coming adrift and we glued that back together straight away) .

Is this where the phrase “get on the blower” comes from?
There are some faint pencilled additions to the diagram here and there

We both searched for information about the telephone itself, and neither of us could find anything that resembled this set up. The box will get a thorough but gentle clean. It looks like it’s been home to a few mice at some point.

It’s the little springs

An Underwood Universal I had the pleasure of dusting and investigating over the weekend
One dodgy and loose key
Culprit: missing spring

No matter how much I fiddled and twiddled I could not get the spring back into place. As it wasn’t my machine, and I had very limited time, I secured the spring to the return lever with a bit of fuse wire for future repair. I revitalised the ribbon with WD40 and typed out the details of two repair people I could confidently recommend. Then I made a quick type sample for the database.

The ribbon was super dry so I was surprised that it managed to come back to life even a little bit!
Lovely green shift lock key

Ting a ling

The Underwood 5 bell before
The Underwood 5 bell now

I would have preferred to polish the bell off the machine but I don’t have a long enough screwdriver to go in all the way from the opposite side of the typewriter. Brasso and wet & dry paper. Carefully, slowly turning the bell. The metal is pitted from the rust but so far it’s looking a lot nicer.