Undressing the Demountable (No.2)

SONY DSC

 

It is hard not to be curious about the demountable typewriter. These beasts of the early 20th century is an excellent example of the ambition and ingenuity that the early typewriter designers had during this era. However for all its advances, the Demountable typewriter company would be no more by the end of the great depression, leaving nothing more than a handful of machines that are difficult to find for collectors.

Feel free to press play, to see my Vlog/demonstration of the Demountable typewriter.

 

The Demountable No.2 typewriter in all its glory.

The Demountable No.2 typewriter in all its glory

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.42.21 pm

 

What the Davis brothers describe as the 'action unit'.

What the Davis brothers describe as the ‘action unit’.

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.42.41 pm Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.42.50 pm

A view of the keyboard, featuring the British keyboard.

A view of the keyboard, featuring the British keyboard.

I put the keyboard and type bars under the microscope, and turned up no evidence that either had been modified post manufacture. Both had the same machining marks as the other keys and bars, which implies that the post finishing techniques used at the factory were consistent.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.43.01 pm Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.43.23 pm

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.43.50 pm

 

This is the latch that releases the locks that hold the demountable together.

This is the latch that releases the locks that hold the demountable together.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.44.02 pm

SONY DSC

The right hand carriage lever, and line advance.

Right hand lever

The left hand lever, which also line advances.

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.44.12 pm

The caterpillar bearings in the carriage are a brilliant piece of engineering.

The caterpillar bearings in the carriage are a brilliant piece of engineering.


Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.44.47 pm Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.45.02 pm

 

Post script: The in the dying days of the Demountable, moving the factory to Australia was seriously considered. I wonder if the presence of this machine here in Australia with keyboard that was standard to the local market, was the start of a failed venture to market and ultimately produce the machines locally. I guess we’l never know.

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “Undressing the Demountable (No.2)

  1. Absolutely hilarious!

    The machine itself looks about as sexy as the bored-looking secretary pictured on the paper table. But in my opinion, the typing feels very good. LOUD, though!

    Like

  2. Thanks for creating the moood, it made me chuckle. From what I’d heard of them previously I was expecting to find that Imperial’s ‘demountable’ machines would copy the Demountable but they seem quite different to each other.

    Like

    • Well, I usually play music when messing with my typewriters anyway. Why not use it to set the mood. Yeah, The Imperial system isn’t quite as simple and easy to just pop apart. But that system also has its charms. If anything because it is so much lighter.

      Like

  3. Scott, I sold you Demountable. A little story that went with it. I injured me hand as a Probationary Constable in the NSW Police. To be confirmed as a Constable I was required to complete 60 wpm typing mistake free. The lady who was approved to assess me at Keyboard Connections typing school suggested I buy a typewriter to build my strength typing. I saw that one at a Bus Company that was winding up in early 88 and bought it. After doing a lot of after hours typing on it, I found using the Police Remingtons and the Olivettis a breeze. I passed the test doing 80 wpm and owe that Demountable my confirmation to the rank of Constable. Pleased to see it is giving you as much happiness as it gave me me. Cheers mate.
    *PS great little page you have here!

    Like

    • Hey Scott! Great to see you come by. And thanks for the compliment! That’s a great piece of history you wrote here. This machine has been on my typewriter desk for about two months now, and I’m pretty sure it is going to stay there. Thanks again!

      Like

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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