Sunday, August 4, 2013

Not a Junker: There's hope in this Remington Rand No. 5

Most, if not all, of the blogs I have read with photos of typewriters, at least those that the blogger admits to having paid money for and taken home to incorporate into their household, are of pristine and polished museum-ready machines, that function, if not perfectly, at least with minimal quirks. Same here.

Now for a change of pace.

Rummage sale items at the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum.
Like the arrangement of a fish trap entry, items for sale are carefully arranged to lead the browser to his doom. Quiet spoken and disarming, elderly museum volunteers are cleverly deployed to soften the defenses of the most hardened rummage sale shopper.
On the pleasant drive to the sale through our "rollin', golden hills of California", I told myself that $20 was my limit, and that I definitely did not need another typewriter. I'd even purposely made a pass through our cluttered garage earlier to ink in the note-to-self that no more stuff, especially in the typewriter category, was needed.

The main point of the expedition was to have a visit with my uncle Don, a volunteer at the museum, and just get out of the house for a bit. But once at the sale I automatically veered past the one typewriter for sale. Although an ugly grunge pit, with sticky keys and snapped carriage draw-string, it did appear redeemable. But I have plenty of redeemable typewriters in the dungeon. So, taking myself in hand, I walked on to look at children's books and lamps, where I found at $5 a steal of a craft lamp that would be good for redeeming typewriters. At the cashier the tab was still less than $10. But suddenly the gremlin that sits on my shoulder took control of my tongue, and made mumble, "would you take $10 for the typewriter". The cashier said, "Yes!" with the reflex of a fisherman setting the hook, and even gave me a cardboard box to take the thing home in.

At home on the work bench, in all its grungy glory

There is some light corrosion (let's not use the r-word), but most of its issues - sticky keys, stiff platten - are likely due to a build-up of crud, and should clear up with a good bath.
A test application of the universal cleaning solvent (saliva) reveals this to be the case with the key tops.
Things don't look too bad down here.
These typebars are destined to once again produce that wonderful thwackety-wack - I do believe it, I do, I do.


  1. Great find! That typewriter should clean just fine. I have seen and restored worse. The inner workings look clean.

  2. Ten bucks? A no brainer!

    You will be doing a noble deed by spit-shining this fine machine back into service.

  3. Ditto! I think that one will clean up fine, and hopefully the carriage motor is still good and springy. (:

  4. A fantastic deal, that! Just needs a good cleaning, is all. I bought a Remie Scout portable for $10 at a flea market nearly a year ago...and it is in much worse shape than that!

  5. Think of it this way. You are not buying more stuff you don't need, you are performing a valuable service for the betterment of the typosphere by restoring a cruddy typewriter to a clean and usable machine.

  6. Wonderful find, fellow Sierra foothills dweller!

    You'll be able to bring this baby back to its former glory, I am sure. Be sure to post the "after" pictures when you're done!