Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Creating a Centralised Typewriter Repair Resource

Collectively, the typosphere has made great progress in solving many of the age- and repair-related complications plaguing our typewriters, finding out that major problems often have simple solutions. These fixes often are not specific to the one typewriter that has been fixed, but apply to all within that model range. It's about time we set up a way to keep these repairs organised by brand and model in a central location!

Imagine this: you've discovered a beautiful Olympia SM3 with a fantastic typeface, but it is plagued with a carriage problem that you don't know how to repair. Maybe you've seen someone post on it before and can't remember where or when. Perhaps somebody has solved this problem, but you just don't know about it. You could Google it, and you might find what you're after. Suddenly you remember! (How could you have ever forgotten?) You look up "Olympia SM" on the Typosphere's repair page and scroll to the "carriage" section.  After checking out the linked blog posts, an hour later your SM3 is functioning perfectly.

My first thought was to create a page on this blog, listing typewriters alphabetically by manufacturer, then chronologically by model. Underneath each section would be links to various helpful repair blog posts. (As well as a separate area for fixes that apply to multiple typewriters.) That is my suggestion. Let's hear yours!

After it is decided, I'll make another post where you can submit your own repair posts for inclusion. For now let's just focus on how to best host and arrange them.

—N Beland / Philosophothought


Bill M said...

Great idea Nick.

It'll sure beat searching each blog or many pages of on-line search returns.

Richard P said...

Your proposed system would work for me. This is an idea with lots of potential.

Will Davis said...

We can contribute, if you are interested in including repair and rebuild information on ridiculously bad or highly unusual typewriters!

Seriously, I'm interested by this and await your findings on how to proceed. It looks to me as if what you're planning is really an attempt to preserve repair / upkeep knowledge, which in itself is a good thing.

teeritz said...

I've often thought about something like this. I made a similar suggestion on a wristwatch forum that I frequent and I was shot down pretty quickly because I was told it would require too much time and effort to put together. Regarding typewriters, it would prove to be an invaluable resource. Perhaps start with the more common and recognisable brands, with maybe sub groupings according to models. Or break it down according to parts of a typewriter, such as "carriage issues" or "platen removal" , etc.
A vast undertaking, to be sure, but I have been most grateful to those who have provided repair/adjustment information already, which has saved me from tearing out what's left of my hair.
Yep, a repair/maintenance database would be highly regarded in the Typosphere. Throw in scans of instruction manuals and it'll become some kind of typewriter encyclopedia, but with info that is relevant to maintaining these machines.
That's my 2c, anyway.

Sololicalli, La Casa de las Chácharas said...

This would be a very useful project!

How about starting a Wiki on this subject? It's free, it can be edited by all the members of the typosphere, and it is mature enough as to have a very useful structure for the pages and their contents. It also includes ways to link and redirect between pages, perform searches by multiple keywords, host multimedia resources (including pictures, video segments, PDF documents and such).

Ted said...

If we're just linking to repair posts on blogs/youtube, I could add a "Repairs" section to the links area of each manufacturer page on typewriterdatabase.com, where links to these repair articles and videos could be posted for each manufacturer.

Rob Bowker said...

last year Georg suggested a wiki approach, which hasn't taken off exactly. since the 'list' already exists on The Typewriter Database, Ted's reitterated suggestion of adding technical fixes in some wa to that site would avoid reinvemting some parts of the wheel at least. Just because we use it to date machines doesn't mean it has to stop there. I know some people use searchable text to accompany their How To Fix features, I usually type mine and scan. I have linked some fixes to a couple of typewriter galleries on the 'base. It is easy, self-curating and it pleases the webmaster. It doesnt cater for generic fixes though, so although it is good as a search repository, additional front end means of adding metadata to links (or even hosting files?) would be required. It is a lot to ask of Ted though I suspect his platform would be able to cope with it. I wonder if there's a better way of chewing this over than a comment thread? Backpacker? Or a forum somewhere?

Michael Clemens said...

Wherever it's hosted, I would certainly consider a "topic index" arranged with subjects like:

- recovering platens
- replacing feet
- character height adjustment
- threading ribbon (really!)
- carriage issues

...and not forcing someone to pick a model. Ted's recent posts on adjusting the shift is generally handy, even if I'm not looking at the specific model he's working on.

Second the notion of an open, Wiki-style product to organize it. Something like this could easily overwhelm any single editor. At first, through, just gathering up all the links would be helpful. I'm more than willing to toss up a page here to gather them. If maintenance becomes an issue, I'll be sure to whine. :-)

Scott Kernaghan said...

To add to the mix of ideas and suggestions, is there a way of perhaps creating a 'Playlist' of videos of Repairs on YouTube. There's no reason that we can't video tutorials on repairs like other DIY resources do.

imrational said...

I'd love such a resource!
Maybe a wiki style page/site with discussions in the background?