Cracking the Caligraph & poem #14

by | Apr 14, 2016 | Caligraph, poetry | 5 comments

I’ve started restoring my new Caligraph. Here are some “before” pics:

When you remove the front plate, which has the remnants of a Caligraph decal, you see the front half of the long, wooden key levers.

The plate is filthy. I’ve wiped it dozens of times with Pledge furniture polish and a cotton rag. I’m painting the chipped areas with auto touch-up paint.

Some of what looks like rust is just ancient, coagulated grease. That’s good news, as the metal underneath is in relatively good shape.

The painted areas are also covered in old grease, which can be removed with Scrubbing Bubbles and Soft Scrub.

The same products also help to reveal the keys.

If you think QWERTY is irrational, try the Caligraph keyboard.

Here I’ve removed the front row of keys. Each key fits onto a stem that fits into an attachment on the wooden key lever.

This is one of the stems.

Some parts respond well to steel wool.

The platen is faceted to handle flat types. Periods have indented the rubber. Amazingly, the rubber still feels soft.

The platen can easily be removed, and hardware can be unscrewed from it. The platen itself, as on many typewriters, consists of a wooden core sheathed in rubber.

An Evapo-Rust bath:

The serial number, 37387,  is stamped on two places: the upper right front corner and the lower right front corner (visible only when you remove the name plate).

I’ll post more updates as I proceed with cleaning and restoration.

Here’s today’s poem.


  1. Anonymous

    So lucky – that looks like an awful lot of fun. If you get it running, think about creating a short video. I'd love to see the Caligraph in action.

  2. DonN

    To find a machine that old that can be made to work is amazing. For you to be able to restore it, even more so!

  3. Richard P

    Whether it will type remains to be seen … but I am optimistic. The poem was typed not on the Caligraph, but on an Underwood Deluxe Quiet Tab.

  4. schrijfmachine

    I read somewhere that on the wooden thing that is resting horizontally above the wooden key levers, often a date is written. I can't find the source anymore. Did you find any date? Good luck restoring, I look forward following the process (just like with the Sholes Visible, I really enjoyed those posts).

  5. Richard P

    No, I didn't see any date, unfortunately.


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