I temporarily fostered a Royal KMM from Moe’s shop – it cleaned up nicely. I blew out the insides, doused the internal mechanics with mineral spirits and repeated the blowout. I then lubricated the sticky rails and the tab system with a little PB B’laster and scrubbed the outside with Scrubbing Bubbles. Lastly, I threw a new ribbon in her.
What a charmer! No wonder David McCullough loves his KMM so much.
Her gumminess banished, the KMM is as giddy and spry as a new colt that’s found its legs.
The only problem is that the line lock fails to engage at the end of the line. The space bar locks up nicely, but the typebars continue to strike at the end of the line.
I think the line lock issue is somewhere in here. I cleaned and lubricated around the Line Lock Lever and Center Stop (see arrow), but that did not seem to fix the problem. I didn’t have time to skin the machine since I needed to get the typewriter back to Moe’s shop so she can try to sell it. If it sits longer, I’ll bring it home again and remove the cover plates, so I can get a better look at what’s going on inside.
And oh yes, and there’s that Royal left margin issue I keep running into – so quirky.
The erratic left margin seems to have worked itself out with lots of typing, so I think there’s a disuse/gumminess factor involved. Almost every Royal I’ve worked on seems to have an erratic left margin issue, at least initially.
Despite my earlier reservations, the Royal KMM and my Remington KMC got along great. They hit it off immediately. Well, they have a lot in common: both are heavier than hell, both have charcoal crinkle paint, both are superb mechanical typewriters. They have almost identical footprints though the Remington is slightly taller. The Royal is four pounds heavier than the Remington. I can’t say which is the better typewriter because I am loyal to my Remington KMC which is such a solid, good old-fashioned thumper.
Make sure you read Richard Polt’s post on a KMC vs. KMM showdown. It’s entertaining and chock-full of informed observations.
Mother and Child Reunion
I brought my little 1939 Royal Aristocrat out to meet the big KMM.
After the photo shoot, I took the KMM back to Moe’s shop. I made sure to send the KMM off with care and feeding instructions.
The typewriter drew immediate interest. I think I almost talked a guy into buying it when I dropped it off. I’m a pretty smooth talker. It’s amazing what a little cleaning and a new ribbon will do for a typewriter’s self-esteem.
This KMM would be a good typewriter for a serious writer. Solid but fun for the fingers and gentle on the hands. I typed and typed several pages of nonsense (hunt-n-peck) as I worked out the erratic left margin issue – and my hands didn’t tire at all. I could see a serious person sitting down at her writing desk and generating 5-10 pages of good writing each day on this machine.
Several internet sources say that Joan Didion used/uses a Royal KMM. There is this photo of Joan Didion with what appears to be a KMG – but perhaps it is a pale KMM. She did use a Royal KMsomething, so I leave you with a favorite quote: