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Monday, March 15, 2010

Hot Rod Typewriter

About a year ago I stumbled upon a rather plain looking Olympia SM5 typewriter. I love the Olympia SM machines. The early models epitomize the style of the 50s with smooth lines and plenty of chrome. This one was a 1964 model. The chrome was all there, but years of neglect had dulled its shine. The paint, originally a glossy cream color but had become yellowed with several decades worth of nicotine. I cleaned it up as best as I could, but even so, it would never a prizewinner.

So, once again I found myself stripping a machine down and sending parts off to Troy for painting.  I wondered when I would see the parts again.  Troy does great work, but I never know how long it's going to take.  It's not that he is really slow, he runs a professional shop he can't afford to be slow.  But he has to wait until he gets enough left over paint of a color and shade that will look good and sometimes that can take a while. 

In the mean time I am left with this:
And a few odd parts that would have to be bagged up till it was time to put the whole thing together.  The chrome trim was particularly nerve wracking to remove.  It was made from thin chromed steel strips.  There are several metal tabs that are folded over to hold it in place.  Chrome plating can often make steel brittle so I had to be very careful to bend these bits carefully otherwise there might be very little to hold them in place once I put it all together again.  And I would have to be very careful storing them.  Two gremlins I have referred to in my other blog ( would be very much attracted to the bright shiney objects.  I used a magnet to keep all the loose screws and other bits in the bag. 

Fast forward to three weeks ago.  I walk into my wife's office to see that the parts had finally arrived.  Eight months later. 

For those of you familiar with this machine you might already have noticed that there is a part missing.  The paper feed tray and paper table.  This part was left in Troy's truck for about three weeks.  As you might imagine my patience was by this time wearing pretty thin.  This is really a bit of an understatement, but I will refrain from further comment as I really don't want to risk losing his painting services.  I will say that it was worth the wait. 

Yesterday I got the last peice I spent the evening carefully putting the Olympia together.  The chrome trim went on easier than I expected and I am proud to say that I did not scratch or chip the paint at all in the process.  

It still needs a final cleaning, but it looks fantastic.