Grist for the Mill from Herman’s

Last weekend, I drove out from DC to West Virginia to attend the Spring Typewriter Jubilee at Herman’s. About 50 typewriter enthusiasts were getting together, and how could I say no to that kind of good times energy?

I stopped by antique stores on my way out to West Virginia and saw lots of adding machines but not too many typewriters.

Cumberland, MD

I got to Herman’s in West Virginia, and lots of things happened. My recollections of the Typewriter Jubilee are a bit scattered: I remember typewriters and conversations about typewriters and generalized nuttiness.  As often happens at these typewriter festivals, I may have been under the influence of PB B’laster fumes. I took a few pictures with my phone, so that will help as I try to piece together a coherent report of the event.

When I first got to Herman’s, I helped Kansas Typewriter (Alison D.) set up her tent for the night. It was enormous.  The tent package said it could hold up to 40 Boy Scouts.  Here is Alison swooning about halfway through the set-up:

Alison had arrived from Kansas with a trunk-load of cute typewriters. She had this:

It is Adobe Rose‘s twin sister, and now she is mine. I christened her “Adobe Rose East”.

I toured Herman’s fabulous collection:

This is our host, Herman. This is not Gerald Cha:

On Saturday, there was a panel discussion on typewriters:

And there were presentations:

  • Mike B. on ribbons and spools – lots of great information and tips
  • Evan B. on keytop removal and replacement. I wish I had those specialty tools.
  • Jonathan P. on the Hammond—so many twists and turns in this story!
  • Richard P. on the Hogar, a rare Spanish index typewriter

Mike B. and his collection of spool types

Evan uses a 1/2″ punch to cut out his keytop replacement legends. Brilliant!

Of course people brought some gorgeous typewriters to Herman’s.  Nicholas J.  arrived with a carload of beautiful German typewriters.  One of them was this Olympia 8.  Here he is demonstrating how easy it is to remove the carriage:

I was mesmerized by the silken shine of the Olympia and got into a long discussion with Nicholas about his polishing techniques.   He made me a cleaning cloth impregnated with shavings of polishing compounds.

Herman’s wife had wisely skipped town while the Typewriter Jubilee was going down, and Herman’s friend Ginger stepped in to help out in the kitchen.  Ginger eyed the cloth impregnation with some suspicion, but while Nicholas worked she told me about the 15 foot python that was  terrorizing Sabraton. Ginger was mollified after Nicholas cleaned her sink and faucet area and polished it to a mirror finish with his impregnated cloth.

There was also a typewriter beauty contest, and the Olympia 8 tied with this incredible Torpedo.

And there was a speed typing contest.  I was horrified to see Richard P. hauling the Crushed Lettera up to the contest table, but he crushed the competition and got first place in the speed typing contest with the Crushed Lettera.   Big WHEW.

Two of the three editors of the Cold Hard Type volumes (Paradigm Shifts and Escapements) were at the Typewriter Jubilee, and they kindly signed my copies:

I stayed through Sunday morning, and before I left, Herman gave me the requisite fly fishing tutorial. The correct positioning is “11:00 O’Clock, 1:00 O’Clock”.  I now feel confident packing my cooler and heading up to Alaska for salmon.

There are more pictures of the Jubilee on the Antique Typewriter Collectors Facebook group.

Besides Adobe Rose East, what did I bring home?  A bunch of typewriters that need some tender loving care, that’s what. There is a beautiful Underwood De Luxe Quiet Tab with a sliding carriage that doesn’t catch. It’s on my work bench and I am making progress – though I have no idea how technicians ever serviced these things.  The escapement is hidden deep and inaccessible under the carriage.

I also got a Consul 232 with a missing ribbon cover. I think I will fashion an artsy replacement out of paper maché.  Though kind of rusty and beat-up, this Consul is amazingly strong and solid for an ultra-portable. Because of its size and condition, I thought it would be sort of rattly – but no, it’s very good typing.

This Royal Safari has a broken key lever.  I haven’t played with a Safari before, so that will be an education. If anyone has a parts machine Safari that I can get a key lever from, let me know.

Mr. E told me this Royal KHM has “issues”. Come on in, KHM!

And I got a good and dirty Remington portable – a type I have limited experience with.  This should be a really fun project:

I have some work to do here.  I’m starting with the Underwood portable and Consul 232, and that should keep me busy for a bit.

14 thoughts on “Grist for the Mill from Herman’s

  1. for the Remington portable there are some great videos on how to change the feed rollers. rubber tubing from lowe’s works great, I switch my out. as for the Safari there are cheaper machines you might be able to use as parts like sears that royal made models for. is a good place to get parts machines.


    • Thanks, Matthew. I am really fortunate that there are good online resources for these typewriters. I might try the Facebook Typewriter Maintenance group to see if anyone has a key lever for the Safari.


  2. John Cooper says:

    It won’t make you feel better, but I had an Underwood De Luxe Quiet Tab with an escapement problem (I learned later that a catch had slipped off the star wheel). I took it to my typewriter guy and he flat-out refused to work on it. Loathes the things. I had to send it back to the seller.


    • I am doing some research on this type of Underwood portable and the consensus is that they are a pain in the neck to work on and not very popular among persons in the repair community.


  3. Y’know, them beautiful-looking Underwood Quiet-Tab basket-shifters were a brand new design in 1956, and by 1959 had killed Underwood to the point that some upstart named Olivetti was able to buy them out. The design was buried immediately afterwards, never to be seen again. I keep one around mainly for the Stymie typeface.


    • I’d love to find a repair manual for this thing. It seems to be very different from the Underwood portables of the 1946 service manual. I’m tempted to take the carriage off this thing. I know, I know – I shouldn’t go there. Without a manual, I’d be operating in the dark.


  4. I had one of those Underwood Quiet Tab typewriters I left in Florida (in pieces). They are just too much of a problem for me to work on.

    Now an impregnated polish cloth sure would be handy. I soak mine in Bright Boy and let them dry.

    Good to see you enjoyed Herman’s. One year I may make it to one of his gatherings.


    • That Underwood portable with the escapement problem – what a pain in the neck! I can’t see a darn thing and I’m not going to try taking that carriage off. I keep wandering out to the garage and cleaning and probing hopefully. These Underwood portables are not popular among people who have tried fixing them.


  5. Greg L. says:

    Great photos, Mary. It was great to meet you at Herman’s. Your photos of my 1931 Torpedo are better than mine. Do you mind if I borrow them, if I credit your blog?


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