Remember this Voss
? I brought her home on Thanksgiving Day last year, but there was nothing to be thankful about once I tried her out. It looked pristine, clean and glossy with no signs of rust, but it simply refused to type. The type slugs hovered just shy of the platen, and despite several attempts
at repair, even cracking open the case to get to the inner workings better, we just couldn't get it to work. It seemed we were lacking some vital tools needed for the job.
So, in March of this year, I took it up to Basel to give to Georg. I figured if it was beyond hope, he could use it as a parts machine. But, within a few hours of taking off its case, he fixed it! And sent me pictures of it typing - I could hardly believe it. I was sad not to have gotten to use it - I still couldn't say I had ever used a Voss - but Georg seemed attached to it, so I resigned myself to letting him keep it. But then, last week, as Peter traveled from Basel to Geneva, Georg gave him the Voss to return to me.
Reunited at last! Except, all was still not well - in the image above, you can see how the carriage return lever scraped on the ribbon cover with each use, so seriously that it was rubbing a groove in the paint and I could not even use the lever to return - I just pulled the platen instead. In the comments on my post describing this problem, Richard kindly suggested that I pull up the lever to its original position. So this morning, I got out the typewriter, and did my best:
SUCCESS!!!! Finally, I get something right for once. It was a simple fix, but still felt odd at the time - I was sure I was breaking off the lever and didn't think what I was doing could possibly work. But I kept at it, gently but firmly, trusting that I would feel when it really was going to fall off. And after each attempt I would test it again to see whether it cleared... and finally, it did. I can return the carriage using the lever, as intended. It is still a bit close, but the few millimeters is enough to save the (rest of the) paint finish from further scratches.
Despite all she has been through, she still looks pretty good. Debating on whether I shall keep her, though. I am in a different frame of mind these days from when I got her and I'm not quite sure where she fits in the (downsized) typewriter collection I am envisioning for myself. Still, at least now I can say I used a Voss. I also changed the ribbon:
Selecting a new old stock Kores red/black cotton ribbon that a reader sent me from Portugal last year. But, what should I find when I opened the cellophane package:
Mold! Unfortunate, but I suppose I could see how it happened. Still, this has never happened to me before and I wasn't sure whether to discard the whole roll. In the end I figured there wasn't much damage a moldy ribbon would do to the inner workings of the typewriter (type slugs can always be scrubbed) and so I cut off the mold and used it anyway.
Test of ribbon. Looks fine, all things considered. I should spend some more time coaxing the letters into alignment - the top of the "h" never seems to print well and the "v" still sticks, but we are really 98% of the way there to having a solid B+ typer, maybe A-.
What I loved about this typewriter when I received it: the original duster and cleaning brushes. I might repurpose this cleaning kit for my sewing machines; it is too nice to be left to linger in the box (all my Hermes brushes are shut up with their respective typewriters, for example, and are rarely used for anything).
I also liked the plaid lining of the case - so stylish! Reminds me of another case with a plaid lining that I will be sharing with you in a later post...
And, finally, the case itself. Handsome, bulbous, and really quite large. Seriously, I have sewing machines that take up less space. Voss S24, old chap. Good to have you back. For now, anyway.