A Royal Visitor

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.

motherChild01 motherChild02

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:


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.