Saturday, December 15, 2012

A New Arrival From Dante's Wardrobe

Last week on Dante's Wardrobe Ledeaux posted about Typospherian Miscellany

I commented about her Skyriter tag and Skyriters.  We had a few email conversations and I became the owner of one of her Skyriters in need of some care.

That machine arrived today while I was working on my car.  I took the time to test the machine and in doing so typed a short typecast about a machine that may spend the shortest time in my collection.  Since I now have it working and I will give it a tweak to get the right margin a bit smoother operating, make the needed repair to the platen, and clean the machine I have offered it back if she wants it.  Nothing like owning more than one Skyriter.

I like collecting, repairing and using these machines.  I find them about the easiest of all to work on.  That does not mean there are no problems.  I still have an escapement problem with my 1954 elite.  If I ever take time to work on it I may get it working correctly.  They are easy to take apart, but I do not have another escapement to put in it if that is the problem.  It also needs a few new shoulder screws which could be causing some of the problems.  

Before rethreading the ribbon the top half of the letters were cut off.

After rethreading the ribbon

This is the Skyriter after I unpacked it complete with the twisty tie margin bar repair.  It works.
It is difficult to see and I did not take any macro shots of the left end of the platen.  The platen needs undercut about 0.100 inch about 0.100 inch wide at the ratchet end of the platen.  I'll make that change next week when I can use a lathe.

As like all my Skyriters this machine is a fine typer.  When I get it clean and make the rest of the tweaks I'll install a new ribbon and it may be on its way back to Ledeaux.

It is such fun working on typewriters.  I do not know which is most fun -- working on a typewriter -- using a typewriter or passing one along to a new user or a fellow typospherian.

The box contains a modern Smith-Corona Sterling that will soon be making its way to a typospherian in Ohio.  I was still packing it when the Postman arrived to pick up the one I had ready for Richard P.  The Sterling is delayed a bit.

Finally, I forget who asked me for a backspace key for a Corona 3.  I lied and said I did not have one.  That was because I really thought I did not have the carriage for the one I have for parts.  Well, while cleaning the garage and restacking my pile of parts machines I found the carriage.  I have the backspace key.  Scott K.  for some reason I think it was you.  If you still need it please contact me and I will get it in the mail Monday or Tuesday.

Sorry for my impromptu sloppy typing.


  1. Thanks for sending me the typewriter for WordPlay! You're a good guy.

    What escapement problems is your Skyriter having? If it's skipping, try determining which letters are skipping and then slightly bending out the tabs on those levers that activate the universal bar. (See my recent "Purple present" post.)

    1. I remember that post. I need to check my machine, but mine does not always miss the same letter except it will over strike a letter most often right after a LF/CR, but again, not always.

      It is a very intermittent problem so I relegated the machine to the parts machine pile at least until 2013.

  2. How fun to read about the machine that was, until only a few days ago, residing happily in its case beneath my art desk! Am so glad it's gone to mechanically skilled hands. Much typing joy be yours, friend! ;-)

    1. I apologize I left the x off of Ledeaux in my typecast.

      I also checked the Typewriter Serial Number Database and found the machine is from 1952 or 53.

  3. I had a recovered platen on my Imperial Good Companion 5. It fouled the line feed ratchet. Using a notch on the paper bail and a scalpel, and having already freed the platen clutch, I spun the platen with one hand and held a scalpel 3mm in from the end of the rubber. Two or three rotations of the platen and I had a deep enough slot to continue cutting freehand (and perfectly straight) until I hit the core. Then a 90 degree cut to get the resulting rubber ring off and hey presto! The line feed worked again. The lost rubber was beyond the left margin and wasn't part of the printing surface, so no functionality was lost. I hope this helps:

    1. I remembered reading someones blog about this kind of a problem, but I forgot whose blog. Thank you for the link Rob. Your method is much simpler than taking the platen to work and using a lathe.

    2. Rob,
      I remember your post quite distinctly after I just read it. Your platen had a paper gauge on it. Some Skyriters did have an end of paper gauge. This one is old enough it will not. This can be seen on the paper bail. There is no END|SET on the left end of it.

      The newer platens will work on the older Skyriter. I took the platen from my 1954 and put it on my 1952 machine so I had an end of paper indicator. I have several Smith-Corona typewriters with the gauge I do not need the marker on the bail.

  4. The missing Corona-3 backspace key typospherian in need is in fact Scott Kernaghan. I apologize for mis-spelling your name in my typecast. The key will be packaged and taken to the Post Office to be on its way to you.

  5. Good knowledge in this post. I am learning more and more