To be honest, I would have been disappointed if my Oliver No. 9 from eBay had arrived in functional condition – it would have deprived me of many hours of pleasant tinkering. I chose this Oliver primarily because she didn’t work.
However. It does break my heart a bit that she was dropped on her head sometime during her trip from the Midwest USA to California. She arrived in a loosely-packed and damaged box with a bent right tower.
Fortunately, her cast iron hide saved her. At the base of the typebar towers are cast iron pillars that I hope protected her delicate insides from harm.
I have gotten the Oliver to a point where she is almost typing. Despite a repaired mainspring and new draw cord, her carriage is not advancing on typing. I have noted that her ribbon vibrator does not freely jump forward and back the way the ribbon vibrator in this video does.
However if I manually nudge the ribbon vibrator forward and back during typing, the carriage will advance.
I made a couple long-winded videos documenting my problem. Here’s my video of my partially disassembled Oliver that describes the problem:
Here’s another video showing the under side of the machine.
OK – that’s five minutes of your life that you will never get back, but maybe you can help me. There’s an audible click when I push the universal bar up (and when the ribbon vibrator moves back). What is the source of that click?
For reference here are two pictures of the Oliver’s original condition on arrival. Remember: she was really bad.
After cleaning and de-rusting, the escapement mechanism seem to be turning smoothly. The rusty spots under the machine are cleaned up, but I am not sure how much movement I should expect under there.
Here are my two questions for the Typosphere:
- What is the most likely cause of the stiff ribbon vibrator problem: obstruction by dirt / grime / rust or a piece of the mechanics interfering?
- Could something important have bent or jarred loose when she was dropped?
- If you think it’s a gunk problem, which product should I use to get things moving? I have been using denatured alcohol and PB Blaster.
- Where should I look for a culprit if my ribbon vibrator is not moving freely?
- What is the likely source of that audible click heard when the universal bar moves up and when the ribbon vibrator is pulled back?
If you have any thoughts, please let me know in the comments. I am determined to sort this out with help from the typewriter community.
And finally: I know that this is probably some form of typewriter abuse and that somebody will call the Society for the Ethical Treatment of Typewriters on me, but I threw a ribbon in the old girl and typed out a message by nudging the ribbon vibrator with each character:
Those are some very bent typebars.