Typewriters under the microscope

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Welcome back to ‘Filthy Labs’! I don’t really need a lot of words to introduce what this blog post is about, as the title is rather self explanatory. So welcome to the interesting, and microscopic world of the typewriter – under a somewhat dodgy and cheap 60X microscope.

 

 

 

Type Stubs

A close up look at the identifying marks on a type-slug.

A close up look at the identifying marks on a type-slug.

 

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A filthy type slug. Notice the ‘ribbons’ of filth being pushed out the sides of the letter in a stream?

See it now?

See it now?

Perhaps you can see it now on this one.

Perhaps you can see it now on this one.

Crinkle Paint.

I observed previously that the Orbis, Orbis-Olympia and Olympia SM1typewriters all have different grades of surface texture on them, so I decided to put them all under the Microscope to have a closer look.

Could the real Orbis please stand up?

Remember these guys? The SM1, Orbis and Orbis-Olympia.

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The Olympia SM1’s ‘Fingerprint’.

The Orbis-Olympia's somewhat glossier fingerprint with deeper canyons.

The Orbis-Olympia’s somewhat glossier fingerprint with deeper canyons.

The Orbis's sharper and deeper texture.

The Orbis’s sharper and deeper texture.

Guest appearance from the Olympia SM3

Guest appearance from the Olympia SM3

 

Ribbons

The coarse nylon weave

The coarse nylon weave

 

The clash of the red and the black.

The clash of the red and the black.

 

MISC.

Here's some typewriter cancer eating up an Imperial Good Companion.

Here’s some typewriter cancer eating up an Imperial Good Companion.

A terminal tumor?

A terminal tumor?

A platen prepared with the 'John Lavery' technique.

A platen prepared with the ‘John Lavery’ technique. Note the criss-crossing lines.

Another platen showing the original machining marks

Another platen showing the original machining marks

The strike point on the segment's anvil, where the type bar has worn at the metal over many years of typing.

The strike point on the segment’s anvil, where the type bar has worn into the metal over many years of typing.

The textured section of the Olivetti Valentine case, which has attracted substantial amounts of dirt.

The textured section of the Olivetti Valentine cover-plate, which has attracted substantial amounts of dirt.

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The chromed ‘P’ from a Triumph Perfekt badge.

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The groove from a segment screw.

 

These are just some quick pictures I took of my collection while I’m still trying to get to grips with his this thing works. I’m expecting some better results down the track as I master it. That said, it is pretty much just a toy microscope, which cost me a whopping $5.77 Australian – posted from China. It attaches to the back of my mobile phone with a specially made case, and has its own switchable light source that goes from bright white LED to back-light.

And we all know how much I love my black-light!

I’ve already started to see some interesting results from using the black-light, but more about that soon.

The iPhone microscope - in all its cheap-arse glory.

The iPhone microscope – in all its cheap-arse glory.

 

26 thoughts on “Typewriters under the microscope

  1. That’s an awful lot of design, machining, and transport for ≈ $6! The result are definitely interesting. You have good ideas, Scott.

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  2. Wonderful pictures. I’m going to have so much fun with the one I just bought… shipping from the USA even!

    The crinkle paint differences, especially, I want to look into. I want to know what texture makes the blackest blacks.

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    • I’ve done a few tries with the 120 frame a second slow-mo that I have, but sadly it is too slow to be worth-while. But that is something I have indeed contemplated. Next? Blacklights!

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  3. Not such a wild idea, Rino, when I worked for Imperial in London, the head mechanic was working on an Imperial Electric, just like the Imp 66 but bigger and much heavier. He told me that they were having problems with keys clashing and that they were currently using a high speed camera to try to solve the problem.

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  4. Pingback: Typewriters, Up Close And Personal | Wrong Way, Write Way

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