Lady Royal Aristocrat is looking a lot better after her key top reattachment surgery, and the J-B Weld Steelstik bonds are holding great after a few days of typing – I need to get some neighborhood kids to put her through her paces.
She’s looking good, but has/had a few lingering issues.
Sticky Ribbon Vibrator
First off: I couldn’t see a thing as I typed because my ribbon carrier wasn’t returning to its lowest position with each stroke. The ribbon hid all the typed text.
My online research indicated that the sticky ribbon vibrator problem was probably due to either dirt or binding or both.
I cleaned the ribbon vibrator carefully, scrubbing with denatured alcohol and using a penetrating lubricant (PB Blaster). Things looked cleaner and the ribbon guide began to flicker and move up and down as I typed. Upper case typing wasn’t a problem because the entire basket moved down with shifting, but lower case typing was still obscured by the high riding ribbon.
I read that gentle bending of the ribbon guide could free it so it would move smoothly up and down, but what to bend and which way to bend it?
Let’s Go to TWDB
Because I am a member of Typewriter Database, I can access its documents library. I get a lot out of the manuals. Knowing the name and function of parts helps me a lot; otherwise, I’m just staring at a lot of small, mysterious metal pieces.
One interesting manual that I seem to have passed over in the past is called D. E. Fox Typewriter Repair Manual, 1950. Perhaps I had foolishly assumed that it was a repair manual for Fox typewriters. No – it isn’t. It covers standard and portable Underwood, Remington, LC Smith, Smith-Corona and Royal typewriters.
In the Royal portable section about the ribbon vibrator it says:
“The Ribbon Carrier (Vibrator) must operate freely. Examine the ribbon guiding wings of Ribbon Carrier (1) to make sure that they are not fitting too closely to Type Bar Guide (2)”
D. E. Fox Typewriter Repair Manual, 1950, TWDB Documents Library
Those “guiding wings” were fitting a little too closely to my type bar guide on my machine. Very gently pinching the ribbon carrier forks together at the top loosened the “guiding wings” grip on the type bar guide and the parts of the ribbon vibrator mechanism began to slide freely.
Perhaps at some point in its life the typewriter had take a hard hit to the top, splaying the ribbon vibrator forks open and causing the binding.
Success: the ribbon moved properly out of the way with each key stroke and I could see what I typed.
Off the Rails: Royal Margin of Error
I have heard tell of the Royal typewriters’ reputation for erratic left margin behavior, and now I get to experience the Royal “soft margin” first-hand:
It is said to be fixable.
According to a Yahoo Typewriter Group post:
“The soft left margin was easily adjustable with the margin stop screw.”
And according Typewriter Maintenance, TM 37-305, 1944:
“Margin Stop Banking Screws may be made accessible by moving carriage to the extreme right or left, whichever is necessary, disconnecting Bail Lift Screws, and swinging Margin Release Bails back out of position.”
Ok – I just need to find that easily adjustable margin stop screw. I am still on the hunt for that.
A Little Letter Piling
I’ll admit it. I am terrible typist. I am a two-fingered keyboard hunt and pecker with an inconsistent slamming flail that drives just about anybody watching or hearing me nuts. I type like a high-energy ten year-old kid set loose on a typewriter at Goodwill. You would not trust me with your fine collectible typewriters.
To the point: seven of my typewriters put up with me and my ways. Big Betty the KMC, Olive Dammit the Oliver, Corona McDraggle, Posh Spice, Camper Van Pancake the Skyriter, Mrs. Hudson the Torpedo, Marge the SG3 – they all tolerate my touch.
Lady Royal Aristocrat – not so much. If I type too weird and too fast on the Aristocrat, I get letter piling. It trips, the door opens and then there’s a drunken pile of two letters who snuck in. If I type like a normal person, everything is fine. However, as soon as I show a little “flare”, I will get the occasional letter piling. None of my other typewriters do this to me. Is this yet another Royal hallmark or something unique to my machine?
It doesn’t bother me too much – it’s a smallish quibble. I still love Lady Royal Aristocrat.