I am a very indulgent middle-aged mother of two who works from home.  I procrastinate at work by reading celebrity gossip online and puttering around the house.

When my daughter found the Remington typewriter on our neighbor’s curb, I was all “Uh-uh-no-way-Jose.” But then, I locked my eyes upon that metal beast and I was smitten.

What seemed irredeemable found new life in a loving family. I am now a firm believer in mechanical redemption. I thank the internet community of typewriter fans for providing the information I needed to bring our Remington Rand KMC back to life.

Thank you, internet.  Maybe this blog will help someone else.


96 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Mary – I hope you read these comments. Because there is a type-in coming up very soon – this Friday – in Berkeley. Richard Polt has convinced the long suffering Permillion family to once again host a type-in. The last one was just after Christmas 2013. It would be a treat to meet you there.

    Here is the info from Richard:

    It’s on!

    Once again, Carmen Permillion has kindly offered to host the type-in at California Typewriter, 2362 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley.

    The time will be one week from today, Friday, July 17, 5-7 pm.

    I hope to see lots of you there.


    • Unfortunately I am going to be out of town that Friday. It’s really killing me that I can’t be there – I would have loved to meet you. You are kind of a rock star in my book. I would have never been able to get my Oliver running without the excellent posts on your blog.


  2. Mike says:

    Hi – I bought a Smith Corona Galaxie 12 for my daughter, and she loves it. There’s one nagging problem I can’t seem to fix, which is that the paper bail doesn’t rest against the paper on the left side of the platen, it floats about 1/8″ from the platen. I’ve searched high and low and can’t find anything to give me an idea of what’s wrong. I’m very mechanically inclined, but would like to find some guidance before i just start pulling it apart. 🙂 Any guidance or advice? Many thanks,



    • I don’t have a Galaxie 12, but my guess would be that you have a bent piece, missing piece or incorrectly placed piece in your paper bail set up. I always find it helpful to compare dysfunctional typewriters to functional machines and try to spot trouble areas. You may want to consider joining the Facebook Antique Typewriters Collectors group or Typewriter Talk. Both are very friendly and helpful groups. If you take detail pictures of your bail set up and post them to either group, you could request detailed comparison photos of the paper bail area. Good luck!


  3. marcelobrites says:

    Hi Sir, i bought an Underwood nº5 and in the begining the typewriter works in very well conditions; but someone in my house decide to touch everywhere on the machine; now i have a problem, wich i don’t know how to solve, and don’t know english enouth to understand – if you could, please help me with pics – the machine doesnt advande when i write or even when i press on the space bar. can you help me, please? Thank you so much!


    • I hope that I can help you. I will translate into Portuguese (via Google Translate):
      Espero que eu possa ajudá-lo. Vou traduzir para Português (via Google Translate) :

      It may be that the draw band (also called the draw string or carriage strap) on the typewriter is broken.
      Pode ser que a banda sorteio ( também chamada a cadeia ou cinta de transporte sorteio ) na máquina de escrever é quebrado

      When you pull gently on the carriage to the left, does the carriage advance with each typed letter?
      Quando você puxa suavemente sobre o carro para a esquerda , faz o avanço carruagem com cada letra digitada ?

      If yes, then your draw band may be broken.
      Se sim, então sua banda empate pode ser quebrado.

      If the carriage band is broken, you may see the broken strap hanging from the bottom of the carriage.
      Se a banda transporte está quebrado , você poderá ver a alça quebrada pendurado no fundo da carruagem.
      broken strap

      You may also see a broken band at the attachment point on the main spring of the typewriter.
      Você também pode ver uma banda quebrado no ponto de fixação na principal fonte da máquina de escrever.
      strap at main spring

      These pictures are from my 1948 Remington standard typewriter. The Underwood standard typewriter is similar.
      Estas imagens são de minha 1948 Remington máquina de escrever padrão . A máquina de escrever padrão Underwood é semelhante.

      If your carriage strap is broken, it can be repaired. I wrote about the repair of the carriage strap on my Remington:
      Se a sua alça de transporte está quebrado, ele pode ser reparado . Eu escrevi sobre o reparo da alça de transporte na minha Remington :



      • marcelobrites says:

        Hi Sir! Big Thank you! It was Helpfull! After a few readings in your blog, and with this photos, i realize, and repaired the problem! Applied more tension on the carrirriage.
        I wish to share some photos with you:
        underwood 5
        underwood 5
        underwood 5
        underwood 5
        Mine have a French Keyboard, wich is strange doesn’t have the number 1…i have the realease button that you say you don’t have, but don’t know what is for… i think mine is from 1917, since is the last date on the backside.
        Really thank you for your usefull help and blog!


      • I am so glad! You must have only needed to wind the main spring for more tension. I am glad your draw strap was not broken.

        You have a very beautiful old No. 5. It looks like it is in wonderful condition despite being 99 years old.

        Many old typewriters do not have a number “1”. People used the lower case “L” for the number “l”.

        You have a margin release button that was missing from mine. It is used when you get to the end of the line, you push the margin release button, and then you can type a few more characters in the line.


      • marcelobrites says:

        Oh nice! Don’t understand much about typewriters. Mine, now is working very well, i’ve cleaned it very well with caerefull, and nest week i wiil buy oil, that type of oil for instruments, like trumpet, and will put on the mecanics, some of them are slow and need to be lubrificated. Really thank you my friend!


  4. Achille Toupin says:

    Hello !
    I have read with attention your post about the olivetti praxis 48 you have repaired, in hopes of finding a solution to my problem, but didn’t find what I was looking for…
    I purchased this typewriter a few days ago, but the keys do not work. I can press the letter keys while the motor is on (it works) but it won’t do a thing. The carriage return keys and the space bar key don’t work either. I am pretty desperate now. I oiled every bit I could reach, but the keys simply don’t seem to be connected to anything.
    I hoped you could help me with my problem as you are one of the only people describing this machine online.
    P.S. I come from France and consequently I own the French version of this typewriter. Maybe it would be of some interest :


    • I love the Praxis 48 – I gave mine to a young man with mechanical interests and will probably get another Praxis 48 to replace it. It’s such a weird and wonderful machine.

      It’s hard to say what could be wrong with your Praxis. It does have an interesting feature: if the machine jams (eg the typebars collide) the keyboard will lock up. Pressing the backspace key unlocks the keyboard. I doubt that your Praxis problem is that simple, but it’ s worth a try.


  5. Garrad Mathews says:

    This is a shot in the dark, but I happened upon your blog while searching for some ideas of how to repair my Royal Quiet De Luxe. I was hoping you’d be able to help me! I had a key that snapped where the pin connects the key to the striker. I think I managed to fix the key (time will tell), but am now at a loss of how to insert the key back into the machine without taking the entire typewriter apart. I would love to send you some photos to get your opinion!


    • Hi Garrad – I haven’t run into this type of problem before. I took a look at the DE Fox repair manual that I downloaded as a “Typewriter Hunter” at Typewriter Database (I definitely recommend becoming a Typewriter Hunter as you will have access to extensive documentation at TWDB). Anyhoo – here is a screenshot from the manual:
      Key Levers

      You can post images on a photo sharing service or send images to maryech at g mail d ot c om. I am traveling right now and may be a little slow to respond.


      • Thanks for the response! I appreciate the image from the repair manual. I had not thought to try to insert the key from the top of the machine instead of the underside… but I am still running into the issue of the bar that runs from side to side that is not allowing me to insert the now bulkier key between it and the slots in which the keys sit. I would prefer to find a spare intact key rather than the bulky one I have repaired, but have not found parts for this particular model of the Quiet De Luxe. I’ve uploaded photos of the underside of the machine and the ugly (but strong!) repair job I have done on the key to this address. Like I said, I am trying to avoid tearing down the entire machine to insert this key but am finding no way of removing that bar on the underside – which is attached to space bar. I’ve spent many, many hours hovered over this machine to come up with a solution but to no avail!


  6. John Sacks says:

    Boy, am I glad I found you.

    Recently, I had a need to write a fake old letter, and some labels that appeared to be from the fifties (another, unrelated story) So I went hunting for someone, anyone, who still owned a typewriter. Alas, it was not to be.

    Determined, I started haunting flea markets and such, and was able to acquire two lovely machines;

    1) A Sky-Riter portable in its original funky case. In pretty darn good shape. Workable, if dirty.
    2) A 1957 Royal FPE with a 16″ carriage. Dirtier yet, but not rusty or damaged. It looks like someone got it from Nanas’ estate and stuck it in the garage.

    I’m excited about them both. As an added bonus, any future faux-document forging, or ransom note writing can now be accomplished either at home, or on the lam! I have a feeling, more of these are in my future.

    What’s his point? You are likely wondering.

    Well, I’ve been concerned about trying to open the case of the FP in order to further clean and investigate the works. You have given me a bit more confidence. In your post about the FP, and in particular removing its case, you didn’t sound at all terrified, astonished, or intimidated about the disassembly process. This has encouraged me.

    Should you have any words of advice, or warnings, I’d love to hear about them. Meantime, with an abundance of confidence, and very little competence, I’m going in! I’m looking forward to making this FP a regular daily driver as it were…

    I’m glad to know that I am not the only one fascinated with old typewriters. I’ll look forward to reading more of your blog. Also, I’ll hope for the best with my new machines, and I may just have the nerve to write to you again requesting advice and guidance.



    • I apologize for the slow response. I am in the midst of a very slow transcontinental move and proceeding at a glacial pace.

      My advice when tinkering with these old machines: take lots of pictures. I can’t tell you how many times I have been saved by photos I have taken while dismantling. I also use ziplock baggies to organize the parts and carefully label everything. Try to take things apart, clean and put back together in one session, as you may start getting foggy on the details if you dismantle and set it aside for a couple weeks. Another bit of advice: place a white sheet under your work table. Those teeny little screws and bolts have a tendency to jump from the table.

      Lastly, create an account at http://typewriterdatabase.com/. It is an invaluable resource, full of pictures and documents that you can access if you are a member.

      Good luck! Have fun with your Skyriter and FP. My little Skyriter is one of my very favorite typewriters.


  7. Fraser says:

    Hi there, I have brought a Olivetti Lettera 22 that works apart from the little wire or spring that is attached to the bottom of the carriage return lever is missing. I can see where it is supposed to be attached but I am not sure if it was a spring or a wire and where it then attaches to at the other end…

    any idea?


  8. barbara jaffe says:

    Hi– You’re amazing.

    I have a Corona 4, looks just like yours, but I’m missing the “/ 3/4”
    keycap. Do you know a source for such things? Many thanks!!


  9. Imogen says:

    Dear Mary (if I may!)…I have a Royal Companion Portable that is exactly the same as the one on your blog. I got it on eBay and it works quite well. In fact the serial number is quite close to the one you show, so I was really happy to read your restoration story. But…where is the ribbon reverse function? This small, obscure question has driven me crazy for years. On the left hand side of the “dashboard” up front, there should be a ribbon reverse lever (on other Royal models). This model doesn’t have a ribbon reverse function that I can find anywhere. My ribbon doesn’t automatically rewind after I finish typing the spool, so I have to manually rewind it by hand. Surely this must not be what Royal intended. Surely I am missing something, or something is broken. I just wonder, with your great attention to detail, whether you have any thoughts on this matter, or whether you have experienced this type of situation (ribbon won’t rewind). I simply can’t find anything on the Web on this one issue for this model. No one has uploaded its original manual, either, so I’ve been in the dark for years. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. By the way I cleaned up my typewriter, inspired by the pictures of how you cleaned up the Royal Companion! Many thanks! – Imogen


    • Hi Imogen – that sweet little Royal Companion belongs to a friend of a friend and I don’t have it at hand. However, as I vaguely recall, there are little buttons on the right and left side of the machine that when depressed change the direction of the ribbon. I tried to dig up a Royal Companion manual to confirm this, but you are right: they are hard to find. If you don’t have the side buttons of your machine, you may want to pose the question in the Facebook Typewriters Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TypewriterCollectors/. They are friendly and very helpful.


      • Imogen says:

        Dear Mary, oh my God, you are amazing. I located the buttons right away when your email popped up, fiddled with it, and YES they are in fact the ribbon reverse buttons! I had inspected the machine everywhere several times but never understood those buttons (and I’ve used the machine for 8 years). From their appearance, it is not obvious that they even have functions. I thought they were screws or studs of some sort. You have completely made my day. I am in awe of your powers of memory and observation! You are definitely the patron saint of vintage typewriters. After reading (and benefiting from) your blog, I took the trouble to make a profile and to upload pictures of my typewriter on http://typewriterdatabase.com/1940-royal-companion.8655.typewriter. In hopes that my contribution will help someone in return. Your blog and the Typewriter Database website helped me in the past with my vintage typewriter questions. Thanks so much! Keep saving old typewriters. – Imogen


  10. That is so great! I am glad that my foggy memory did not fail me in this case. So glad to hear that you have entered the Typewriter Database community. It has provided me with such good information.


  11. Dim says:

    Hi, i found an old Adler (image url below) but i have no information about it. There is only one picture of it online, which says something about Hitler’s Secretary and the movie Downfall. Do you happen to know the model or at least the year?


  12. Evan Noch says:

    I have a few questions about my Oliver #9 that I just obtained. The bell doesn’t seem to “ding” when I get to the end of a line. What might be the cause of that? I replaced the ribbon but not sure I did it properly and how the ribbon is supposed to automatically wind as you type? Does this happen automatically? And when I type lower-case font, it seems that the upper-case keys also touch the paper so that half of the upper-case font also appears. Do you know why this would be the case and how to avoid that? Thanks so much!


      • Regarding the bell: what should happen is that when you approach the end of a line, the carriage trips a little metal finger under the carriage that in turn raise the handle of the hammer that strikes the bell.

        bell mechanism

        If your bell isn’t ringing, you may be missing one of these parts, or the parts are misaligned or frozen.

        Regarding the ribbon: here are instructions for replacing the ribbon:

        Oliver 9s originally used 9/16 inch ribbon and were wound on little wood cores. I have found that common 1/2 inch ribbon on regular spools works fine as long as the spool spindle is inserted into one of the ribbon spool holes. If your ribbon isn’t moving, check to see if the spool spindles are rotating. If not, the spooling mechanism may not be engaged. There are metal buttons on each side of the typewriter. On the side with the empty spool, the button must be pressed in completely.

        If it’s still not spooling automatically with typing, you may have inserted the ribbon incorrectly or you have dirty, frozen or missing spooling components.

        Regarding the upper and lowercase printing – that’s a tough one to figure out without the typewriter in front of me. Olivers are notorious for having bent typebars because of their unprotected situation. Many have been dropped on their “heads” leading to mangled typebars that print their letters in unusual positions on the page.


      • Evan Noch says:

        Thank you for your reply! Regarding the bell, yes, I have all of the parts. The hammer and finger are there. My question is, what part of the carriage is supposed to hit the finger? There doesn’t seem to be a part on the carriage that hits the finger on my machine. Also, when the finger is tapped on its right side and deflected left, it turns the rod which lifts the hammer, but not when it is hit on its left. On its left, it just wiggles loosely back and forth. Is this supposed to be the case? It seems that everything on the finger and hammer part are there and functioning properly. It seems that when the carriage is moving towards the right, that the finger should be deflected on its left side and moved left? Just wondering how the mechanics of this are supposed to work.

        Regarding the ribbon, I will work on this. The button is indeed pressed in on the side of the empty spool, and both spools turn the rods that they sit on. Is there a mechanism that turns the rods from below when the keys are pressed because it doesn’t seem that the rods turn when a key is pressed down.

        And regarding the lower-case keys also imprinting the upper-case keys, the issue is that since the lower-case keys are in the middle of the key between the figure and the caps, when the key is pressed down, it seems to also imprint the upper-case keys. Maybe this is because the ribbon is too wide (though I got the replacement ribbon from a site that said that the ribbon was for the Oliver typewriter). I will check the width tonight. Other than that, the keys do type in a straight line so it doesn’t seem to be as much an issue with the displacement of the keys but more so either with the width of the ribbon or the distance to which the ribbon moves upwards when a key is pressed before striking the paper. Thanks again.


      • Hi Evan – I took some pictures and have a few comments about the bell and ribbon spooling.

        There is a little projection under the carriage that pushes the “finger” that activates the bell as the carriage nears the end of the line:

        finger pushed down

        Once the carriage clears the projection, the finger swings up causing the hammer to ring the bell.

        finger up

        The finger needs to swing freely. Test the bell by going to the very end of the line (when you can’t type anymore) and pushing down manually on the finger and releasing. The bell hammer should raise, strike, and sound the bell.

        Regarding the ribbon spooling: one of your spool spindles should rotate when typing (which one depends on which button you pushed in):


        Underneath the cup is a rod that should be rotating very slowly.


        And if you flip up the machine and look underneath, you’ll see the spooling gears that are activated by typing.

        spooling gears

        Regarding the lower-case and uppercase printing problem, I am stumped. Without seeing the typewriter in person, it’s hard to say what exactly is going on. Another possibility besides bent typebars is that your carriage or your platen is not seated properly causing a misalignment.


      • Evan Noch says:

        Hi Mary. Thanks for you reply. Is it possible to send pictures on here or to you by email? Regarding the bell, I think I may be missing the part on the carriage that deflects the finger. The finger and rod and bell seem to be working properly but doesn’t seem like the part is on the carriage. I took a picture to show this. Regarding the spooling, yes I got that to work. I believe that when I press one of those buttons in on the left side, the gear doesn’t move close enough to the mechanism, but on the other side, it works okay. So that seems to be fine. And I took pictures of what I meant by the keys striking upper case and lower case at the same time on the ribbon. So maybe I could send you those pictures? I think it’s an issue with how far the ribbon gets deflected when a key is pressed. So maybe just needs an adjustment because the ribbon seems to be the appropriate width. Thanks again!


      • You can send pictures to maryech (at) gmail (dot) com.

        I may not be able to answer in a timely way since I am in the process of moving and need to pack up the Oliver.


  13. I apologize for the slow response. I’d like to take a few follow-up pictures for you detailing the bell mechanism and the ribbon spooling mechanism, but I have been sidetracked in packing the house for a cross-country move. I will try to get pictures and follow-up comments posted tomorrow or Thursday.



    Hello, I just bought a 1949 Royal Quite Deluxe and I would like to know what products do you recommend for cleaning the outside and the inside. Is not rusted, just some weird web type things around they look like fiber mold. I dont know how to describe it.

    Any suggestions? What have you use before to clean the outside and inside?


    • Love thoise Royal QDLs!

      Do your keys look like this?

      If so, I have seen this weird white residue on several 1950s Royals. It may be a chemical precipitate of the plastic keys. I have used Goo Gone with great effectiveness to clean the keys.

      goo gone

      I like to use mineral spirits to clean the internal mechanics. I like to use Scrubbing Bubbles to clean the outside shell of the machine. Here is a blog post about a very dirty Royal QDL:

      Tim’s Royals and Other Visitors


  15. R. Roman says:

    Hello – I am a college student that truly loves typewriters. I have slowly been learning about them for some time and have a Smith Corona “Standard” which works wonderfully though it has some damage. Recently I had the bright idea to email one of the monks on my campus about any typewriters bubbling around in the monastery. There were about a dozen!!! I had hoped to grab a Royal of some type. Two that I saw there that really caught my eye were a Royal HH and a Royal KMM or KHM. That style anyway. I’m torn!!! Any suggestions???

    They both seem to be in fair working order. The HH has what seem to be scratches in the paint along the top while the KMM was a just a bit dusty. The KMM had very cloudy keys which I didn’t know if it was dust or damage. The next step I can think of personally is to ask to see them again before I choose and type on each one for a while to see if they both do truly work and if I like how one feels more than the other. HELP!!!


    • Good detective work – I bet many college campuses have hidden troves of great typewriters.

      You have a couple great choices – the solid, smooth typing experience of a Royal standard is superb. Based on aesthetics alone, I would lean toward the KMM/KHM, but I would make the final decision based on how they type. They both may feel a bit gummy due to disuse, but thoroughly test them for broken functionality (all keys striking? carriage return working? line spacing working?)

      You’ll probably need to clean up the one you bring home – the Royals I have known were very gummy before cleaning. A little mineral spirits on the segment and rail can do wonders.

      Have fun!


  16. Belle says:

    I love your blog such much!! I am so impressed with all of your work on these typewriters 🙂 I, too, found a forlorn typewriter (smith Corona clipper), on the curb and that’s what started it for me! I am working on and all of her number nine right now which is new to me. It is in really good shape except backspace is kind of wonky. Next time I get up, I’m going to see if the spring is around the lever or if it is missing.

    I can’t wait to see what you will be working on next!

    Thank you so much for this block. It is very helpful, beautiful, whimsical, & heartwarming.


  17. Amy DeLaBruere says:


    I just happened across your blog while looking for typewriter repair help! I’m hoping you might be able to give me some advice about a beautiful 1948 Royal Quiet De Luxe that I’ve acquired recently. It seems to be in perfect working order and is nice and clean for the most part, but it has a serious alignment issue due to the type basket not sitting in the proper position. When I caps lock, everything seems to look good. When the keys are in the sitting position (lower case), it is incredibly out of alignment.

    This is my very first typewriter, so I’m not sure how to proceed. I’m a college student studying English at Yale, so I’m at home taking online classes with not much else to do given the COVID-19 situation. Do you think you can help me?


    • Hi Amy – congratulations on your Royal QDL. Such wonderful typewriters. They are wonderful company during a shelter in place.

      Could you type out samples of upper/lowercase typing? Type out caps and lowercase on a single line so I can see how they are lining up. Include typed “HhHhHhH”. You can post the pictures in the comments or email them to me at maryech at g mail.com.

      My hunch is that you either have a typewriter that is way, way out of adjustment or you have an obstruction preventing the basket to go to lowercase position.


  18. Spike says:

    Hi Amy. I just found an SCM Coronet Super 12 electric typewrite at an estate sale for a good price. It works great and all functions are working. I just don’t know what the RP above a lever on the right end of the carriage is for. Could you enlighten me?


      • Spike says:

        Thank you for your reply. The Coronet manual was helpful. The manual was for a different Coronet model than mine, but may have given me an answer. It referenced a Platen Release Latch which this may be (Release Platen?). How can I send you a photo?


      • Spike says:

        Thank You! I had Googled and searched for info on my model but did not find the video you referred to; it was great! That typewriter was a little different than my electric, but it definitely answered my question.


  19. spike says:

    Hi, again. You have been so helpful I have Another typewriter question. Are you familiar with the Blickensderfer typewriters? I bought one at a thrift shop a year ago. It seems to be in pretty good condition but I am kind of afraid to try typing with it. I am sure the small ink pad is dry. What kind of ink would you use on the pad?


  20. Moriah Williams says:

    Hi I have hopefully a quick question. I have an oliver no. 9 that I trying to clean up but the pull cord came loose, after an hour I was able to reposition it but now the bell to my typewriter seems to be off (Ringing too early or late) do you have any thoughts?


    • Hi Moriah, hmmmm. There is a rod that operates the fish-shaped bell hammer. It should run underneath your pull cord/drawstring. It may be that the pull cord is interfering with the bell hammer rod. Here is a picture of what my Oliver 9 looks like. Let me know if you need more pictures.
      oliver 9


  21. Clay Allen says:

    I feel so fortunate to have stumbled across your work. Currently miserable in my job (in-person teacher during a pandemic) and I dream of having the typewriter repair-person’s life. Maybe some day… In the meantime, if you’d like a penpal, I’m an excellent letter writer to both friends and strangers, all written on my various machines which are in excellent repair.


    • Typewriter tinkering is such a nice way to unwind – I’m glad it’s my relaxing hobby and not my job though.
      Please send me your address:
      and I will send you a typewritten letter – maybe even a hand-sewn mask. I can’t promise much in the way of brilliant correspondence, but I like to give my typewriters exercise.


      • Amado Navas says:

        Very amused and impressed with your website, my Typewriter hobby just started, month or two ago. You lady are amazing! My name is Amado Navas, live with my Wife at 36304 Delta Gold Court, Zephyrhills, Florida. 33541.


      • I am so glad that you’ve found the site entertaining – I get a lot of pleasure from my typewriter tinkering. Since I have your address, I’ll send out a typewritten letter for you and a couple homemade masks for you and your wife. Mary


  22. Hi, Mary!

    Thank you so much for your blog.
    I have been given a beautiful Royal 10, made after they put in single glass windows.

    It truly is in wonderful condition.
    The only issue I could find is that the carriage does not advance. I found the carriage strap / draw band disintegrated at the left-hand wheel.

    Using the old metal attachment loop, I sewed on a strong ribbon.
    But, now I have 2 questions:
    – Where do I attach the strap to the carriage itself? I have looked online and not been able to find a picture of where the non-wheel side is put on. I tied the ribbon to a little nub that seemed to have no purpose, on the far-right underneath of the carriage.
    – The carriage advances somewhat fluidly until it gets halfway through, then comes to a stop. Is that because of the ribbon I am using, or some other issue? When I say it advances fluidly, I mean it does not have that crisp, regimented advancement that my other typewriters have, but seems to just be pulled along like I had released the carriage and pushed it a bit.

    Do you know the solution to either of my questions?

    Sorry, I haven’t been able to find out the answers other places.
    Thank you for your time and the wonderful information and stories here!!

    Anna Leah


  23. ethan says:

    Hello, I found your blog after I purchased a lettera 22, I am having a similar issue to one you dealt with where the ribbon would be too high when typing. When typing on the black/blue setting the ribbon will rise up way too far and the letters with occasionally print in red or miss the ribbon entirely. I adjusted the typing tension on the side to the highest and it had some effect but the issue still remains. do you know how to go about stopping the ribbon rising so high when typing?

    Many thanks,


  24. S. M. Clark says:

    Hi, I just found your post regarding your Rheinmetall. I just got one exactly like it but with a different color scheme. I found your spiff-it-up tutorial very helpful in dealing with dismantling the thing! You mentioned that it requires special 33-hole spools. Is there a source for these?
    Are you still in the Bay Area? I’m in the North Bay…


    • Congratulations – what a great typewriter! My Rheinmetall is one of my very, very favorites in my collection. When I first got it, I had ordered some 3-hole ribbon on eBay that didn’t quite fit, but a friend had some orphan 3-hole spools kicking around that she gave me – they fit perfectly. I see this on Amazon that the seller says is compatible with the Rheinmetall KsT:

      I am in Arlington, VA right now. Before COVID, I was spending a lot of time in San Mateo, CA where my son and many of my typewriters live. Hopefully after everyone gets all vaccinated up, I can get back there.


  25. Amy says:

    I live in St. Louis, Missouri, and have a 1939 Royal KMM Typewriter that needs repair. If anyone is interested in it, please let me know. It was my mom’s, and it would be nice to donate it to a charity or have it go to someone who can repair it an actually use it.


    • Too bad you’re not in the Washington, DC area where I am. Consider posting it on your local Nextdoor or Facebook or even donating it to Goodwill. Many typewriter collectors frequent shopgoodwill.com.


  26. Bob says:

    I have a Royal 10 and in need of 2 ball bearings and pinions for the carriage rail. Please let me know If there is some place I can pick them up. Thanks Bob.


    • Hello, Bob! I had a Royal 10 that was missing ball bearings and pinions for the rail. Fortunately, someone had a parts machine that I was able to harvest them from. However, before I came across that parts machine, I was racking my brain, trying to figure out a work-around. I looked around online for flat gears that would work. I found some flat washers with external teeth at the hardware store that were similar in size to the pinion gears. I thought I might epoxy glue a couple of these washers together to make the gear of the correct height and perhaps add a center washer to hold the ball bearing in place. The ball bearings I *think* are about 1/4″ in diameter and easily found at the hardware store. I never had a chance to try my kludgy fix since I found a Royal 10 parts machine. Here is a picture of the toothed washers I found at the hardware store:
      washers that could be used for pinion gears


  27. Christian says:

    Hi! I just bought my first old typewriter, it is a Remington rand 17, but it doesn’t have the KMC buttons on it, so I don’t know how to adjust the margins on it…

    If you could be of some advice on this I would be grateful! Or if you have general advice for that type of typewriter I will take it all! I’m only beginning in that domain :3

    (Btw, your articles are very helpful!)


  28. Jonathan Surridge says:

    I noticed in a posting above that you are in Washington, DC. I too live in DC and have my grandfather’s Royal KMM in need of repair. Any chance you would have the time or could refer me to someone? The KMM is a beautiful machine and I would love to start using it again. I actually learned on a mechanical typewriter in high school. Something about the sound and the feel that you just cannot replicate on an electric and most definitely not on my Apple keyboard. Hope to hear from you. I can send you photos if you wish.


    • Hi Jonathan – I am right here in Arlington, and I would love to take a look at your grandfather’s KMM and help you get it running again. Drop me a line at
      and tell me a little about the typewriter and its problems and we can coordinate a drop-off. Mary


  29. Danny Mills says:

    Hi, I bought an old brother 215 mechanical typewriter yesterday, and I was exploring how to change the ribbon, as it was quite faint). In doing so, I have somehow done something that means the ribbon does not move upwards and hence the stamps don’t touch the ribbon, but just hit the paper.


    • Hi Danny! It may be that your ribbon selector is set to “stencil”. Look at the ribbon selector lever on the right. It should be on black or red. If it’s in the middle on white for stencils, the ribbon won’t go up and down:

      ribbon selector


    • So glad to hear that you got the drawband repaired. Those old LC Smith standards are truly lovely things. That War Department manual (and different versions of it) has been an invaluable resource to me.


  30. 🙋‍♂️ Greetings.
    Gallagher here, from Ludwigslust,..in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. 🤔
    ….north-east Germany.
    Kind of near the Baltic sea. 🙂

    I was,..HAPPILY surprised to find such a website, as this!

    I have one question, however.
    Before I read thru the entire site,. 🙃
    is there a ‘simple’ article about ‘General Cleaning’,
    of an old maschine?

    I’m about, to enjoy, an old ‘Remington Portable’.
    It is complete,,..and I believe fuctional,..
    but pretty dusty.

    I am thankful, for any advice,..
    I’m really thankful for your GREAT site!
    (It’s inspirational, FOR ME, in more ways then one.)

    A pleasent day, I wish you.
    Auf weider hören,
    Gallagher Hayes


    • Ha! I don’t think I have any “simple” posts – I am a bit long-winded when it comes to my blog. I will say that over the years, my cleaning techniques have evolved and gotten much more conservative. I don’t dismantle unless I really, really need to. I use the very mildest of solvents on the mechanics (usually mineral spirits) and take great care to protect painted surfaces. Solvents can eat through paint in the blink of an eye. So here’s my usual process:
      1. Dusting and debris removal – I have an air compressor, but you can use canned air, a vacuum attachment, stiff brushes, rags, or Q-tips
      2. Cleaning mechanical parts with mineral spirits, focusing on sticky areas and avoiding painted areas at all costs – Especially the decals!
      3. Cleaning the outside painted shell with water, or soapy water. Sometimes something a little stronger is needed, but test in a discrete area. 100 year old paint is so fragile.

      Richard Polt has a page describing cleaning techniques and supplies that you may find useful:

      Viel Glück, mein Freund! Schreibmaschinen sind wunderbare Unterhaltung.
      (credit: Google translate)


  31. Britt says:

    Hello Mary! What a great website, so many great resources for those who just got a typewriter!

    I just picked up my first typewriter: a Remington Rand noiseless model 10 (1941 dated by the serial number) at a local flea market for a super steal. Working condition, just needed a good cleaning which I’ve done, and now it looks almost new in areas!

    But alas, a major issue struck just three days later. I was returning the carriage after completing a line of test typing after cleaning when I heard something snap and the carriage suddenly had no resistance. Turns out, the carriage spring return strap gave out after 82 years. I know that isn’t a terribly hard fix, but the problem is that I think the spring in the drum might have either 1) broken or 2) become dislodged by the force of the strap breaking because I cannot wind the spring drum the direction it should be going. It just spins freely. I’m fact, it seems to wind the opposite way it’s supposed to be going.

    I’ve been using an original Remington Rand model 10 manual from 1943 and taking some things apart to get to the drum 0 and get the broken strap out. Getting the back off the typewriter was easy, and getting the carriage assembly off was a bit more time consuming, but I was able to do it. I do tinker with electronics and restore things, so that helps here. But looking ahead, getting to the drum might mean a lot of things need to come apart.

    So is there any suggestions you might have in this case? Am I, most likely, going to have to get that drum out so I can inspect the internal spring? The strap repair seems easy, but I’m worried the spring might mean I need to get a new one and/or taking a lot apart to get to it. Any tips would be great!

    Thank you!


    • Hello Britt – Congrats on your Remington and I am sorry to hear of your drawband/mainspring problems. The drawband replacement is fairly straightforward as you said. Here’s a post from the blog that’s about 8 years old, but it’s basically the same method I use today:
      I have come across two broken mainsprings: both on Olivers. They have exposed mainsprings that make them vulnerable to people winding them the wrong direction and breaking the spring. If you wind a mainspring the wrong direction, you will break the spring. Ha Ha. Ask me how I know! Here’s a post on a mainspring I broke:
      The mainspring on your Remington standard is going to be more difficult to access. I don’t have any Remington standards with me now, so I am not sure what the best approach for removal would be.
      If you are successful in removing the mainspring, you can reform the broken end. Be VERY VERY CAREFUL if you open up the mainspring. The coiled metal is sharp as a knife. Wear gloves and eye protection.
      I found this interesting video from Phoenix typewriter in which Duane from Phoenix Typewriter rebuilds a broken mainspring on a Royal portable:

      Good luck! I am sending positive vibes your way in the hopes that you get your Remington running again.


      • Britt says:

        Thank you for all the links and ideas! The spring appears very similar to how the springs work in 1940s crank portable turntables. I opened and fixed a spring in one of those (with care, those springs are very powerful!), which might work to my advantage. The biggest issue now is trying to get to the drum and getting it off, that’s going to be the toughest part, it’s really in the middle guts of the typewriter. I guess the silver lining is with each thing I take off the typewriter, I can take it and give the parts a very good cleaning I wouldn’t have been able to do with it all together.

        Thanks again for the fast reply!


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