Early last week I had a bit of rare free time before having to make a school pickup, so I stopped into one of the local thrift shops that tends to be on the upper end of the scale for the resale places around town. Over these past couple of years it has proven mildly positive as for typers. I think I got a really nice Remington Travel-Riter there and also a tailed Adler (that has since been re-homed to another writer, I am very happy to say), so I figured maybe I would get lucky.
Tucked inside and made my way to the back of the store where bigger items, such as typers, are kept. And I saw a black, ballistic plastic case up on the shelf, so instantly I knew it was a tailed one. Meh. But, I made it that far, so may as well go all in, right? What could it hurt to check it out, right?
Well, upon opening the case, I was greeted by a sight I had not seen in some years…a Sears Scholar typer. The exact model I had learned to type on, way back when I took that typing class in middle school. In the early 80s. And this one even had a ribbon-strip date on the body from 1982? Yeah, okay. Sold. I made my purchase, completed the school run, and got the new machine down in the typer repair/service/hidethemaway room and up on the table.
Plugged her in and….typey typey. Yay! There’s life! Hit return button. Nothing. Hmmmm….okay. Let’s get her naked and start poking around and see if we can figure out what’s going on under that boringly beige plastic pantsuit of a case, yeah?
Well, she ‘s a bit loose. In the belt area. Just having her run for a second and seeing how badly the belt was jumping, that was the obvious cause of the return failure issue. The belt was still storing enough to make the keys work, but not tight enough to pull the heavy carriage back to it’s original position. Here is just how much play was in the original belt:
Even if I adjust the motor location*, or adjusted that pronged adjuster arm, there was no way that belt was going to still work. Not knowing where to immediately order a replacement (because come on, who is gonna have *that* in stock?), I realized that I would need to start thinking about an easily available, and affordable, replacement if she was to ever reliably type again. Hmm. Small and stretchy. And it was only a quick trip to the bathroom that put the solution literally in my face:
The pessimist in me said there is no way that this was going to work. But, I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything to try. So, off goes the old worn belt and on goes a tight, grippy hairband. Which, if you find the fancy ones, actually have a line of rubber inside of them that looks like this:
Well, it looks pretty good. Let’s stand back and flip on the power switch after taking a close-up look at the new drive “belt”:
Here is a pic, old belt, machine running:
And here is the new “belt” in action:
Or, here are video clips if you prefer your images to, you know, move, here is the original drive-band running:
And here she is running with her tight new black grippy belt hair-tie thingie:
Granted, I did not do *extensive* testing, but it seem like it should work well enough to buy me the time to source a more proper replacement . Plus, they are cheap and easy to find, especially if you are lucky enough to share your dwelling with a girl (they seem to shed them like skin cells).
Overall, an easy fix on an easy machine to work on. I think the pants suit of a case only has four body screw holding on the top and another four on the bottom.
*Oh. If you find the motor needs adjusting at any point, it is a little wonky to figure out. But all you need to do is *loosen* these three screws on the motor:
…aaaand this one on the top, after you slide the carriage out of the way:
Then you position the post that best suits your machine/belt/settings and re-tighten the screws. And BE CAREFUL loosening them. They are very “soft” screws, so please make sure that Mr. Phillips has a strong bite before twisting.
There ya go. That’s how the Typewriter Fox saved a $7 piece of his youth with a $.10 fix.