Correspondence from around the typosphere

by | Oct 8, 2017 | correspondence, Insurgency | 4 comments

I enjoy all the messages I get from around the typosphere. Forgive me if I’m slow to reply! Here are four that have arrived recently.

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From Richard G. in Ohio:

It’s always good to know where our typewriters began their life. Olivetti had a worldwide network of typewriter factories. By the way, if you read Spanish, I highly recommend a recent post on Escrituras Mecánicas where a typewriter tells the story of its perilous life.

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From Klaus M. in Germany:

Can anyone advise Klaus? I think the reinked ribbon works pretty well. Ingenuity will keep our insurgency going!

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Here’s a handwritten communiqué (apparently, more advanced writing technology was unavailable), battered but unbroken, from Agent Bikethru in Czechia:
It’s true, this is my ancestral land (Polt was abbreviated from Pollatschek). I have been meaning to read Pato?ka. Those interested in Czech typewriters should consult ETCetera No. 79.
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Finally, a query from Abby H. in California:


  1. Bill M

    Interesting correspondence. I have used both mineral oil and WD-40 to restore ribbons. I'm still using one of my original WD-40 ribbons in my most used typewriters (Underwood SS). The mineral oil one is in one of my portables that is still packed away.

    Grease pencil can be a pain to remove. I've not come across any on a typewriter. I used to use Ampex tape head cleaner to clean grease pencil off of some equipment when I worked at radio stations. Some people would write on the tape decks with the grease pencil used to mark tape for splicing (the decks were brushed stainless steel) I think the cleaner was mostly acetone. Nothing I'd want to use on a painted surface.

  2. Joe V

    While serving in the Navy in the late '70s I remember they wrote backwards using grease pencils on the reverse side of plexiglas panels in the CIC (Combat Information Center). They erased it with rags and some solvent.

  3. Abby Hogan

    I am glad that the lovely green of that Lettera is preserved! From the photo, I can't see the exposed metal, so it looks really spiffy to me. I think the 2X4 makes an intriguing sculpture all on its' own. I like the idea of you sharing something in a shotglass with your Lettera! That dark print looks great. Dark print really is satisfying.

    I went ahead and tried the goof off on a Smith Corona Sterling with grease pencil. It took it right off, along with some of the grey-green powdercoat texture. I mildly freaked out, but was a little pleased with how clean the area was. That slight powdercoat texture really holds onto grunge- I haven't been able to really get rid of the grunge. So right now I have a patchy clean machine and will need to decide how to proceed.
    I think the goo gone will be ok on the hard plastic and fiberglass surfaces. And I will be cautious on vinyl and other case surfaces. The upside to the grease pencil is that it is on some fantastic purchases I got for dirt cheap!
    Thanks for the feedback

  4. Richard P

    Scrubbing Bubbles is good for removing grunge on many rough paints — but, as the Goo Gone did, it may take some of the paint with it. I doubt that it would remove grease pencil.


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