The Filthy Platen – FP project

Now – speaking of filthy platens, I acquired this Royal FP a little while ago dirt cheap on eBay. Unloved amongst the other more collectable friends on the seller’s eBay page, it sold to me unchallenged at its minimum price.

Fine by me, I thought… Fine by me.

The seller naturally had no guarantees that it worked. Actually, I’d dare say – convincingly the seller was too young to have ever actually used a typewriter. I had collected this unit at their home, and it was a shell filled wall to wall with junk.

The items had clearly been bought at several deceased estate or suchlike auctions, and I felt like I was walking into some Oprah Winfrey special on ‘Hoarding’ when I arrived there. Having just moved house, I felt like I was shifting around an awful lot of junk. But after being at this place, I felt positively functional. I wanted to take a photo, but I felt there were eyes hiding in the mountainous assorted piles of garage sale debris that I felt that such a thing was impossible.

In its 1960’s heyday this machine would have been burning up pages of extremely dull documentation. I’ve heard people describe this machine’s colour as ‘battleship grey’, and to be honest it feels about right for it. I’d seen one of these before on the Strikethu blog (amongst others) and generally they seem to be indestructible.

This machine is a tank. Even more-so than my Quiet-riter. It’s clearly had a lot of bangs and scrapes over its lifetime – and there’s so much gunk in it that I’m surprised it worked.

But work it did. Sort of. The seller indicated that the keys were stuck. This wasn’t the case, but that’s alright. With the exception of 1 or two they were perfect. And even then the it only took me a minute or two to get it working.

However, the carriage was not moving. Or at least wasn’t till this afternoon when a bit of oiling, forcing and prodding got it to sort of start moving. Before long the whole thing started to show serious promise that it might start operating. By this stage I had stripped off a large amount of the outer shell – in order to start on part 2 of the project.

…… Stay tuned.

Anyway, I really want to get this typewriter working. I’ve been developing a story for about a year now that has been set in the 70’s, and I like the idea of playing the narrator telling the story on a machine what would have been seen thumping out reports in some dark an sordid office somewhere.

Till we next meet.


One thought on “The Filthy Platen – FP project

  1. It's fascinating how these seemingly frozen, immobile machines can be brought back to life, often times with just a little poking and prodding, and application of some sort of de-greaser (kerosene works great, by the way).

    Once you get a typewriter to function reasonably well, it's amazing how it only gets better with use. It's important to exercise one's machines regularly!


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