Another Foster Royal

I have been a bit under the weather since the holidays – some kind of feverish fluey-kablooey, but I stirred myself when a comment came in from my last blog post.  The commenter told me that someone had put Baby Blue on eBay. Not only that, Baby Blue sold!


As soon as I was able to pull myself out of bed, I headed over to Moe’s shop to get the whole story. After her clean up, Moe had sold Baby Blue almost immediately for a good price to a friendly fellow dealer, and he had promptly listed and sold the typewriter on eBay. Baby Blue is pretty sweet, and I am glad that my efforts fed the chain. I hope her new owner will love and cherish Baby Blue in the way she deserves.

Golden Gone Girl

Sadly, the golden Olympia Monica was gone by the time I got back to Moe’s shop.  I had wanted to take detailed photos of her for the Typewriter Database.  I fully expected to find the Monica curled up on Moe’s couch in a zipped jumpsuit and smoking a Virginia Slims, but no. A regular shopper at Moe’s had scooped her up almost immediately. This buyer is apparently interested in All Things Orange, and he had found the Monica entrancing.  Moe and I both agreed that the Monica was not orange and not yellow but a color Moe dubbed “Marigold”.

She was formidable in her golden glamour. I want to install her in a beach house in Malibu.

Formidable in her golden glamour, the Monica should be installed in a beach house in Malibu.

While I was at Moe’s shop I asked her if I could clean up her Royal KMM that has been wasting away in the shop since before Thanksgiving. I love fostering typewriters because I get to poke around in something new without threat of excessive typewriter accumulation at home.

The KMM is very dirty with a sluggish carriage and dry ribbon.


When typing, there is considerable letter piling because of the sluggish carriage.


But there is so much potential under all the gummy dust. It’s just like David McCullough’s typewriter! I cherish the greenish-blue keys.

I admit that I was nervous about bringing the Royal KMM home because I have a Remington KMC in the house. Who can forget Richard Polt’s KMC vs KMM shoot-out of 2013? By bringing the KMM home, there was marked potential for a catfight.

I slipped the Royal KMM in the door as quietly as possible, but the Remington KMC saw us together. Oh well, here we go.

Suspicious minds: the Remington KMC pretends to nonchalantly leaf through a zine while she chekcs out the competition

Suspicious minds: the Remington KMC pretends to nonchalantly leaf through a zine while she checks out the competition

First off, I weighed the KMM for Magic Margin’s KMM weight survey.

1940 Royal KMM
Serial number KMM-2590373
weight: 36.5lbs

Woofie! So heavy.  The Remington KMC is a relatively petite 32.5 lbs.

This KMM is very dusty and feels pretty gummy.  My plan is to blow out the insides, clean up the internal mechanics with mineral spirits, repeat the blowout, lubricate the rails, scrub the outside with Scrubbing Bubbles, and throw a new ribbon in her before sending her back to Moe’s shop. With a little pampering, the KMM is going to be swell.



15 thoughts on “Another Foster Royal

  1. Tyler A. says:

    Oh god, the humour. I couldn’t help but laugh, seeing that you set up the Remington in the background with the book all nonchalant.

    I hear great, terrible things about those KMM’s. They type faster than Jerry Lewis, but once caused a thousand reporters to be defenestrated when they refused to transition from Underwoods. I wish you luck in your cleaning of this monster!

    As a side note, your cleaning up of the R-QD, the subsequent sale to the other vendor, the sub-subsequent posting of it on ebay, the sub-sub-subsequent mention of such on your previous post, and the subsequent^4 curiousity of me perusing that individuals shop on ebay ended up netting me an awesome new-old-stock Fox Machine Co. serial number plate made of brass. Thank you for unknowingly setting that all up!


  2. Ryan will be pleased for the data. Boy, howdy – those pastel QDL’s sure travel like jetsetters, eh? The thing I really noted bout the KMM is how small it looks in person compared to pictures. A very sturdy and densely-made machine.


    • The KMM has a smaller footprint than the KMC, but wowie, is that thing DENSE with mechanics. It’s very heavy. I am going to take comparison photos with the KMC and also with my 1939 Aristocrat.


  3. Paul says:

    Hello there! I stumbled across one of your older posts from last August wherein you related that Moe had given you an old Underwood user manual that was missing the cover but had the address of the company and a picture of the building. Believe it or not, I work in that building! I was wondering if you still have that manual?


    • Oh my goodness! What a funny world. Have you found any forgotten closets full of typewriter ephemera? Do you ever eat at the deli next door? I do still have the Underwood manual – would you like it?


  4. Paul says:

    My closet search has come up empty, but I plan to search the basement next. Haha! I would absolutely LOVE to have the Underwood manual. Working in the building and researching its history sparked my interest in these beautiful old machines. And yes, I have eaten at the deli next door 🙂


    • Send your mailing address to maryech at, and I’ll mail it out early next week. Hopefully the mail will get through to the frozen blizzarding tundra of NYC. It gives me great pleasure to send it along to someone who can truly appreciate it.


  5. dustinb33 says:

    Hi! I recently came into ownership of one of these Royal KMMs and the dust of many years binds her up very much. I’m 24 and working on my first novel and would love to continue doing it on this machine but I neither know anyone nor have seen anything helpful on the Internet that pertains to total refurbishment. You loosely mention the process but, being as I’m typewriter illiterate, would like to go further into the detail of it all with you, perhaps via email? With pictures and beautiful descriptions so I don’t kill my newest machine? I enjoy reading what you have to say, on the few topics Ive seen thus far, for the record.


  6. Congratulations on your KMM – such a terrific machine. It is likely that after a cleaning, it will type like the wind.

    So what’s involved in cleaning for sticky keys and gummy mechanics? Generally, I do very little dismantling and just pop the lid and start with cleaning the segment.

    Here’s a link to an old post of mine with pictures and videos:

    I recommend that you use mineral spirits rather than denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol is terrific at cleaning out gumminess and congealed grease, but it will eat through paint in seconds. Mineral spirits are more forgiving, but you will still need to carefully drape your work area so that you minimize contact with painted surfaces.

    Also, Joe Van Cleave has a nice video on cleaning type slugs:


    • Ross, I haven’t removed and re-installed the carriage on a KMM – sounds like a big job. What seems to be the problem with your KMM? I am in Arlington.


  7. Shae says:

    I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog! You did a fantastic job in restoring the Royal Mother. My 14 years old daughter and I recently acquired a 1938 KMM. It is still in good shape considering the age. We plan to give it a good clean up and lots of TLC.

    Only thing is we are now facing the bell issue. It seems to be missing the little pawl that triggers the bell. I’ve search everywhere to see if I can find a picture showing where the pawl should sit so that maybe we can fix it. Would you take a picture or better yet a video of the bell mechanism? We would appreciate it so much.


    • Hi Shae, good to hear that the typewriter bug is hitting the next generation. The bell is one of the best parts of the typewriter experience, so let me see if I can help you. While I don’t have a KMM right now, I do have a KMG which is very similar machine. I can pull it out this evening and get some pictures/video. You may find this old video from Curtisz Typewriter helpful. It has very clear shots of the bell mechanism on a Royal portable which is similar to the Royal standard:

      Here is another video from Phoenix Typewriter about bell repair on a KMG that may have helpful information for you:


    • And I finally finally finally created a video of the little silver finger that hangs down and engages the bell mechanism on a KMM:

      The little finger should swing freely and is often very gummy.


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