Wednesday, April 18, 2018

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming: the Erika 2

Spring has sprung, and its time to tackle my backlog of typewriters in need of repair. First up is the little folding Erika I picked up in Bremerton. Based on its serial number, its a very late model 2 or 3 or something.

RIght off the bat, upon initial inspection of the machine, it was once again confirmed that even if the design is based off an American machine, the blasted Germans will do their damnedest to over-engineer what they can. Its a nicely built machine, but there's far more that can go wrong with than its competitor, the ol' Corona 3.

 It took me a few minutes to get the rod out of the platen because its got a jut in it to keep it in place rather than set screws. Keep that in mind for your own Erikas.





A lot more engineering action going on to get it to shift compared to the Corona.




I decided to try and get the Z and Y swapped out, but found that either the typeslugs are on there by some means other than solder, or the solder was simply laughing at my namby pamby American built solder gun. The surgery ended before it even had a chance to begin, as I can safely say I hit max temperature on the slug and it just didnt care to budge.



Back to more worthwhile issues, I found that the ribbon advance ratchets had worn away enough over its life to the point it couldnt function anymore. I ended up using a stopgap solution of a tad bit of electrical tape to improve the tip of the main arms, and for now its working again.



The machine was already really clean, I just had to de-gunk some areas where a bit too much oil had coagulated over the years and apply some new oil to the keylever pivots to free up the mechanism. I'm left with a shiny Erika in moderately O.K. working condition. The only real problems stem from it needing a bit more oil, and an adjustment to its margins so they stop at the right spot.






It took me a moment to realize where the period was. Turns out, this machine does not simply have two semi-colons for the fun of it.


Its a 1922 machine, so I thought I would bust out my 1922 Corona for a quick comparison.








And why not throw in a 1920 Fox for giggles.







My overall impression of the Erika is this; it's a well designed machine that improves some of the bluntness of the Corona 3 as a writing instrument, while at the same time allowing itself to have inherently more issues than a Corona might have. 

To sum my opinion up, the Corona 3 is a Ford Model T and the Erika is a Mercedes E class. The Mercedes is very nice, and will do amazingly when in top notch shape. But if something goes wrong, it goes wrong rather severely and repair costs will run you the same amount as a new car. The Model T works well in new shape, and it works well after its been driven off a 100ft cliff. If it runs out of gasoline, you can throw kerosene, alcohol, or whatever you have on hand that's even remotely combustible into its fuel tank and it'll keep on trucking.

There's just something to be said about American machines being built ruggedly with less pure perfection that allows them to function well enough even in rough shape.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Time for a FoxTrot

Typewriters are my first and primary hobby, by an unbeatable margin. But my interest in them stems from my overall interest in alot of the antiquities that are from the turn of the 1900s, and so I delve into quite a few other items as has been shown on this blog from time to time.

I was recently lucky enough to find a Victrola in really good shape for quite an affordable price, and cleaned it up and got it working. I've been working on recording the more worthwhile records that came with it, and uploading them to youtube.

Just like typewriters, there's something about Victrolas being an independent, self-driven machine that just makes me smile.

Here are some of my favorites so far;


"Wa Wa Waddle Walk"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6YxV7bf6Wk

"Stein Song"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N_WzW3AXAk

For the first dozen or so I recorded, the speed was actually set a bit too high (due to a missing speed indicator arrow). Using a bit of paper under a record, I had to set the speed by scientific study!


Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Trip Through Washington

All my life, I have made multiple trips per year over to a little town called Forks on the western coast of the Washington peninsula. 500 miles to and 500 fro has allowed me to hear 90% of all radio songs played in the past two and a half decades, as well ensure that I can sneer at my friends when they complain about a 3 hour drive to Moses Lake or what not. However, due to recent events this past year, there no longer exists the primary reason I have made the journey for so long.

This last trip, on my way back to Idaho, I decided to take a few dozen pictures of the wonderfully diverse nature that the state of Washington offers, being one of the only ones I imagine with such diversity in all the Union. I'm not a great photographer, and all these pictures were taken with the vehicle in motion, so bear with me there.

On the way over in the first place, I did manage to finally stop in Bremerton to check out Typewriter Fever and the Bremerton Office Machine Co. I was able to meet Paul, who owns and operates the BOMC. It was a wonderful experience being able to finally meet another typewriter collector/repairer and talk about machines for a short bit (though he did mention that he doesn't think very highly of the Fox as a usable machine). While Mr. Feldman was absent from Typewriter Fever, I did manage to snag a little Erika folder that, according to the tag, needs work. I'll see to it that it gets running again right quick (Erika picture at end of post).


I only decided to start taking pictures after getting around Lake Crescent, meaning I missed grabbing photos of the more rain-foresty part of the peninsula.



Port Angeles is lucky enough to have one of the original Carnegie Libraries, built when Andrew Carnegie had more money than you could even use and so decided to get philanthropic.


Port Angeles has some old buildings in it, but it's lost a lot of its glory ever since the mills started shutting down. Way across the sound, you can see Victoria in Canada..



Logging was and, in some ways, is the dominant industry on the peninsula, and here we have a field that was logged a while ago, and is probably about to be replanted.



The Hood Canal bridge floats on the water, and has a section that opens up for boats and submarines to pass by.





The Tacoma Narrows bridges. The older one on the left was built after the first one shook itself apart in high winds, and the newer one on the right will be charging a toll (now up to $6) for another 12 or so years until its paid off.




This is, as far as I am concerned, the entrance to traffic Hell itself. Tacoma is notorious for its horrible traffic.



 The Tacoma Dome, in all its glory.


One of the only amusement parks in the area, but it has nothing on Silverwood in Idaho.



Part of Tacomas industrial area 

















As far as I am aware, if anyone in the Washington/north Idaho reagion mentions "The Pass", they're of course refering to Snoqualmie Pass.








Once you're pass the Pass, the trees start to die down, and you enter the flat lands of middle Washington where you have farms and just about nothing else.





I mean there's just nothing else but farms out here.


You eventually hit Moses Lake, the only moderately large city around for quite a few miles.















Once you get within about 30 miles of Spokane, the trees appear again.




The camera doesn't do it justice, but coming down the hill into Spokane is a hell of a sight. Especially at night, when the lights are all on.



 Spokane is known for its wide range of architectural styles ranging from 1890s to modern.





And that's the end of Washington.