Thursday, December 12, 2013

Metal Reforming Mends a Monica

Do you subconsciously conjure up an image upon hearing a woman's name, without having met her? To me, Monica is a level-headed, steady friend. Not a ship launcher, nor a ship breaker, either, the girl in the movie secretly in love with some guy who hasn't a clue, until later, you know, when he finally sees the light.

For me, typing on one of these is like going home.
The late 1950's and early 1960's Olympia SM series are like that. Nothing fancy, but solid and always functional with no dramatics. Of course, I have a special attachment to them, having been given an SM3 by my parents as I was finishing high school. It took me through college and graduate school and then more graduate school. And then it ended up in one of those plastic storage bins until I saw the light just about a year ago.

Now I guess I have about four SMs of that vintage. The last was acquired when my wife and I came upon it in an antique shop yesterday. Since I already had a 1962 ivory and teal SM-5 I was going to pass on this Monica, even though it was only $25. But my wife suggested we get it as a gift for one of the grandkids.

The margin release looks like a die
A quick test in the shop (sans reading glasses) suggested that it was perfect, but of course there is no such thing with typers. And, sure enough, when I got it home I found that the mounts for the paper bail were distorted to the point that the bail when closed would still hang half an inch above the platten.

Perhaps you will recall my disatrously successful (successful disaster?) of a recent operation on my lovely 1936 Underwood Champion. But I realized that disaster was not an option in this case as I poked my needle nose in, and very gently bent the mounts back just enough to let the bail touch the platten. Success!

Tidied up platten, per the McTaggart method
I followed up by blowing out accumulated dust with my air compressor, spraying xylene onto the parts that tend to gunk up and then working them furiously, and gently lubricating pivot points with silicone lube and a toothpick. I also took McTaggart's suggestion to refresh the platten by giving it a good scrub with fine wet/dry sandpaper and a solvent. Installed a new ribbon, and now I have another typer to place under a Christmas tree.

Purdy innards, too
Oh, yeah - it types, too. Eleven CPI elite. No nonsense font, steady, well-aligned and even impressions. Atta girl, Monica!


  1. Very nice! Great price for a solidly attractive machine (:
    Lucky grandkids!

  2. Beautiful -- that will make a great gift.

    Soft Scrub also works very well to refresh a platen.

    1. Good suggestion. I should also mention that either way makes a mess, especially when done without removing the platten, as I did. Next time I will roll in a couple of sheets of paper towel to keep the crumbs from falling into the machine, thus requiring another trip to the air compressor.

  3. Yes, I could definitely fall in love with a girl like Monica. :)

  4. Replies
    1. You know, it did seem there was a bit of a secret glint in her eye ...