Quiz answer

by | Jun 21, 2015 | Underwood | 9 comments

So: what is this piece I showed you yesterday?
It comes from an Underwood no. 5 and is called the line space disengaging cam. Found next to the left platen knob, it allows you to type temporarily between the horizontal lines of your typescript. In order to remove an Underwood platen, you have to remove this piece.
I’m currently working on a beautiful no. 5 made in 1929. I’ve gotten familiar enough with these typewriters that it took me only seven minutes to break it up into these parts:
The typebar rest on this machine has an inscription woven into it that you don’t see every day:

“Underwood pad pat. in U.S. & all foreign countries. Patented & licensed only for insertion in Underwood typewriters. Made in U.S.A. by the patentees.”
Would you like to know how to remove an Underwood carriage and platen? It’s essential for good cleaning as well as for mechanical repairs, such as adjusting the ribbon throw. Here are the instructions, straight from holy writ, the 1945 Ames Typewriter Mechanical Training Manual. (You can download the whole thing on my website—see the bottom of this page.)
Can you spot the line space disengaging cam on one of these diagrams?

PS: Thanks to the Kalamazoo Typochondriacs for a fun visit by Skype today!


  1. Anonymous

    Excellent! Enjoyed me the learnin' — thanks! ~TH~

  2. Anonymous

    That Underwood 5 looks like such a fun project – would love to know what products you are using for cleaning and degreasing of the mechanics – but maybe I need to wait for the book to come out? :)

  3. Richard P

    My go-to products are PB B'laster and Lectra-Motive.

  4. Anonymous

    Thank you! I love PB B'laster and I saw that you had mentioned Lectra-Motive in a previous post. I may have to try some.

  5. Bill M

    I wish I'd seen yesterday's post. I show the same on my blog. Then that would be cheating unless someone else looked there for the answer. I found my Underwood office size machines the easiest to remove the platen of any of my machines except the newer HH or SCM machines which were made with tool-less removable platens.

    Is the manual the same as the one posted in parts in the Yahoo group?

  6. Richard P

    Ah, you do show it, I'd forgotten.

    I don't know whether it's the same manual. This file is one that I scanned from my paper copy a little while ago.

  7. FredMinIthaca

    One good quiz deserves another. I just acquired a '26 Underwood no. 5, and though I'm usually careful about keeping track of parts, I'm at a loss to remember where the one pictured below should go. Assumed it was from the carriage/subcarriage since I hadn't gone much deeper into the machine than that, but I can't find a space to match the screwholes, etc. It's not pictured in the Ames manual, the Navy Underwood manual, or the 1922 Underwood repair manual. I'm stumped. If you have a minute, please check out https://fmuratori.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/underwoodstandardpart2.jpg?w=224 and https://fmuratori.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/underwoodstandard-part1.jpg?w=224. All clues appreciated!

  8. Richard P

    That is the piece that triggers the bell and stops the carriage when you reach the right margin of the paper. (That margin is confusingly set by the left margin stop on the Underwood no. 5.) There is a wheel in the center of the front of the carriage. This piece is screwed on to the bottom of the wheel housing, with the two bumps pointing downwards on the left. Hope this makes sense! Feel free to email me if you need more help (polt@xavier.edu).

  9. FredMinIthaca

    That's exactly it! Thank you, Richard! Now I can finish up the Underwood and go on to the next project, a 1938 Mercedes Selekta that was seriously discombobulated during shipping. As always, your help is invaluable.


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