Moe’s friend Tim has some wonderful old typewriters. I cleaned up a couple of his beauties a while back. Tim called me on the phone to thank me – such a super nice guy. He’s a semi-retired newspaper reporter. He recalls an article about typewriters that he wrote in the late 1990s or early 2000s. He said it was one of his most heavily commented upon articles. He’s going to try to dig it up for me.
Tim has this gorgeous Remington 5 which needed a dusting and a new ribbon, so I brought it home for a few days.
I took the top cover off – two screws in the front and two screws in the back. I cleaned and polished the cover.
It was a beautiful day on Saturday, so I worked out on the back patio. Everything is in bloom right now: lavender, lilacs, geraniums, anonymous blue flowers:
Cleaning the type slugs was very easy. With the cover removed, the type bars are completely exposed. They lie flat, making it easy to scoot a towel under them. I draped the machine and got to work with a tooth brush and mineral spirits.
The red accent pieces like the paper scale and red keys are so attractive.
“Self Starter” is a key that tabs in five spaces – for indenting paragraphs.
The feet are in very bad shape. If I owned this one, I would probably buy or make a new set. It’s a rather low-slung machine and could probably use the extra clearance.
This Remington 5 is such a fine typer. It’s got a big, beautiful typeface:
I don’t think I held onto this one long enough – I didn’t have much time to play with it and do comparisons with other typewriters in the house. I hope that one day another Remington portable (a good junker) comes to stay for a visit.
Oh, you beautiful thing. It is high time I returned you to Tim’s loving embrace.
Moe called me last night and left a message. A hauler she works with had been cleaning out a house and found a typewriter. It was jammed, so he doused it with oil. It was still jammed so he was going to throw it out, but Moe stopped him. The typewriter was really broken, so she was leaving it outside her shop and I could pick it up any time – it was FREE if I wanted it for parts or whatever.
I swung by Moe’s this morning to drop the Remington off at Moe’s for Tim to pick up. I took a look at my FREE typewriter.
Wow. I brought it home, and it is currently sitting on my kitchen counter dripping oil. It’s comically greasy.
I can’t get the carriage to move, even when I try to disengage the carriage centering lever.
The top back panel is missing. Perhaps someone tried to repair it at some time?
I think I have several pleasant hours of tinkering ahead of me this weekend.
24 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning: Remington 5 and a Freebie”
huh.. all but 9 of the tabulator pins are punched hard out and the tab set/clear is all bent up. I’ll wager the carriage will move if you push in all those tabulator pins by hand and ensure the jammed tabsetter is unjammed.. (:
Looks like just your sort of machine!
Reverend, I think you may be onto something. The tab setting and clearing mechanism is mangled. I am going to get that straightened out and see if I can get that carriage moving.
What a treat, seeing that Remington all shined up. I look forward to seeing what comes of your tinkering on the forlorn freebie. Generally I think of SCMs as fairly indestructible. I do wonder what this one has been through.
These do seem indestructible – I *think* I’ve solved most of its mechanical issues. I can’t wait to move onto cleaning it up – it just looks so deliciously terrible.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The Remington 5 is a real classic. Somebody ought to make a big batch of replacement feet for it (and similar models).
Tony Casillo sells Remington portable replacement feet in his eBay store – they look really nice. If this Remington belonged to me, I would buy a set.
LikeLiked by 1 person
For that typer, a $40 investment in feet would be worth it. I’d do the same. Maybe Tim will want to do so!
Those are the feet I got for my 5! Was definitely worth it – puts the machine on an even keel again and it no linger skids across the table at avery carriage movement 🙂
(Still pondering the platen – rock-hard and LOUD…)
I recently typed on a 100+ year old Underwood with a new-ish platen and it was revelatory – sound and feel were wonderful.
Something to definitely consider then 🙂
Just stumbled on this blog-looking forward to reading it as my Grandfather just brought us a couple of my late grandmother’s typewriters, and… HIS GRANDFATHER’s 1927 Remington portable model 2 (I think) other than a musty smell (which I’m trying to work on) it seems to be in perfect working order! So excited to get a new ribbon for it, and trying to get my grandmother’s working too.
Congratulations on your new/old typewriters! Sometimes the old ribbon can be very stinky and musty – replacing it can do wonders for the smell of the typewriter.
Thanks! I’m looking to buy a ribbon, good to know it can be a source of the smell. Some of this one is the case (which is amazingly intact, top with handle, and baseboard), considering-if we can’t get it out (asthma and allergies are common in our house)-detaching it from the wooden baseboard and getting a new board to attach to it, and just save the case.
Cases can be very smelly too, but I have found that mild soap and water and putting a case out in the sun can help get rid of that musty smell. I would try to keep the typewriter in its case when you’re not using it because it will protect the typewriter from dust, dirt and damage. Of course, they are so beautiful, they are just asking to be displayed.
Richard Polt has a collection of typewriter manuals on his Classic Typewriter Page:
There is a Remington portable 2 manual in his collection:
Indeed ribbon, likely moldy. (Rewind onto the old spools!) Cases can be revived well. (Had a smelly one too..) Clean with damp cloth (soapy or scrub gently if very bad), a good airing (days) and after patching up any damage, apply shoe polish on dry case. Puts color back and the wax restores+seals the leathercloth.
Congratulations on your family’s RP2, these are super little machines! 🙂
(Oh, by the way – also a nice, clean PDF of the user manual is on the Archive.org.)
That is a nice, clean PDF!
Thanks for the all the info, congratulations, and links to manuals. The smell seems to be getting better, now I just need to decide where to get the tape from, there’s so many options on Ebay, Amazon, etc at different price points, hard to know which to get!
I buy my ribbons from an ebay store, Oregon Toner Company:
They sell nice 1/2″ nylon ribbons that work just great.
The price is very reasonable with free shipping – even for just single ribbons (I buy in bulk because I work on a lot of typewriters). You could get a single ribbon for $4.50 with free shipping.
Just make sure you re-wind your new ribbon onto the old metal spools.
Thanks for the recommendation on ribbons, sounds good!
Okay, this is crazy, was just looking at one of my Grandmother’s typewriters, and it’s a Smith-Corona, looks a lot like that one, but pink. What are the odds of two of the tree typewriters I just got being so close to the two in this post??
Oh! Lucky you! Those are very cute. I think the color is called “Coral Pink”.
Wow. That Clipper looks like it went through the wringer a bit. It’s sure to have an interesting story arc chart.
I love the look of the Remington 5. Art Deco is my favorite aesthetic period, and this is one of the only machines that tried to truly go with it. I just dont like the geared typebar mechanism all that much, as it feels off to me
The Remington 5 is so beautiful, but I am having much more fun with that beat up Smith-Corona Silent-Super (I think that’s what it is). It is so messed up.