The Perils of Migration: Fox 24 Typewriter

This poor little forest creature had a run-in with the postal service.  At some point in time, this Fox 24 had migrated far from its native habitat in Michigan.  It was making its way up the Californian coast recently (tracked by scientists) when it met with misfortune. These little creatures are so vulnerable during migration.


I have admired the standard Foxes of others: Type Oh’s Fox 24, Words Are Winged’s Fox 25, Cambridge Typewriter’s Fox 24 and ozTypewriter’s Fox’s Fox is a sad tale of the hazards that Foxes face journeying outside of their natural territory – though it’s still a beautiful machine. I would love to lure that Fox from its lovely forest glade and see if I could make it better.

When my package arrived, I sensed a disturbance in the Force:


The destruction of Alderaan:



I knew it was risky shipping hundred year-old cast iron long distances, but I had my reasons for luring the Little Fox north:

  • It’s got an interchangeable carriage – it comes apart easily
  • It’s shaped like Santa’s sleigh!
  • It’s got a weirdy staggered double row of typebars – like shark teeth.
  • It’s full of weird old-timey machine controls – many of which I haven’t figured out the function of yet
  • It’s a total fox – so good looking

These mysterious grimy pointing hands are surely worth the price of admission. They are on the typeslug. I believe the symbol is called an “index”, “manicule”, or “fist”.   Also note the pilcrow (¶) and the section sign (§) key.  Was this typewriter used for contracts or other legal documents?


The typewriter also has a Star of David symbol where an ampersand usually is:


It looks like Christmas came early – it’s Santa’s sleigh:


The typebars are staggered – a double row like rusty shark teeth:


Rusty Grist for the Mill

I feel vaguely uneasy when I look at the Fox.  I like my typewriters in “rough” condition, but this is probably the worst I have had the pleasure to own. It’s not typing and it’s rusted and greenly corroded through and through. It will take some time and effort to get this beauty to type again. I am also not sure whether there is other internal damage the Fox may have sustained in shipment.

This is one of those projects I plan to approach philosophically.  While I don’t know what the end result will be or whether I can get this thing to work, the journey will be interesting and (I hope) transformative. I seek personal growth through typewriter repair.

Rust, rust everywhere and not a gleam to see.


I’ll take off the easily removable parts and soak them in Evapo-Rust. I am still thinking about how to approach those rusty parts that I can’t easily remove.

I have a Dremel – described by my father as the most dangerous tool in the workshop because of its misleadingly benign appearance. That thing will blind you and maim you and pull your hair out by the roots before you can say “This is fun!”  The Dremel requires proper eye and nose and mouth and hair protection. Also, you need a light and careful hand so that you don’t end up damaging what you’re polishing.


It was either Emily Dickinson or Uncle Jack from Breaking Bad who said, “The heart wants what it wants” (sorry, Woody and Selena, you can’t claim it).  I am drawn to typewriters with “issues”, and this Fox is a beautiful but complicated creature. The Heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care.



11 thoughts on “The Perils of Migration: Fox 24 Typewriter

  1. Tyler Anderson says:

    I envy the SubSection key, to be honest. And I would have never guessed that there would be a need for tiny hands on a typewritten document. May your adventure with this wily Fox be splendid!


    • Perhaps the typewriter was used for contracts or legal documents and the tiny hands were “sign here” indicators. Or perhaps it was used for annotating documents. The Star of David key is a real head-scratcher.

      I am having an awful lot of fun with this Fox – it’s coming together splendidly.


  2. Wow, a whole busted brace – that’ll be a challenge, but I am sure you will rise to the occasion. The Fox is certainly worth the try anyway. Very, very good luck to you (:


  3. Love the hands!! I think the “star of David” will turn out to be an ordinary asterisk when typed.

    Well, this certainly looks like a big challenge, but I believe you’re up to it. These are wonderful typewriters and I look forward to seeing what you can do with this one.


  4. JustAnotherGuy says:

    Wow! A Fox! I’ve always had my eyes open for one of those. It’s a shame it had to be damaged is shipment, although I have full confidence that you will fix it anyways…


    • It’s a really neat machine – so different from my other oldies. I definitely recommend a Fox – beautiful looks and such interesting mechanics. You can take it apart really easily for cleaning and maintenance which is a huge plus in my book. This Fox was pretty banged up in transit but it’s going to be fine in the end.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s