Saturday, February 10, 2018

Dissecting Typewriter Model 60 & the Imperial Underground Railroad

As the clock struck twelve, I could feel my fingertips swelling from typing for so long. In section one, I noticed the margin scale a tad bit off, this was after I had just checked my margin indicator but I had to keep typing. Poor Scarlet had just got word that two of her slaves had been caught trying to escape, I scrapped that page. At that moment, I put my paper locating guide a slight bit more to the left. My report had to be brief. The line space adjusting lever seemed a bit rusty but it's getting the job done. I then took notice of the line spacing adjustment indicator. This report was critical. The history of the underground railroad was recorded with every letter that I punched. With every sheet of paper touching the platen roller, I had little time for mistakes. I then proceeded to flip the carriage release lever and then the platen locating release. Struggling to get the paper out, frustrated because I spelled Harriet's name wrong, I fought with the platen clamping lever and the platen clutch release. Feeding the typewriter with a new sheet of paper, I quickly turned the platen turning knob and tapped hard on the carriage clamping wedge. I had to finish this paper, I was getting thoughts of plantations all over the south freeing slaves. On the last word, in the second paragraph, I hit the line space lever. Sweating from the heat, I took the hem of my shirt and wiped off the hinged ribbon cover. Some loose threads from my shirt got caught on the stencil switch and I made a mistake and hit the color change lever. There was no time for this, I was reporting on colored folks and the damn ink had to be black. In frustration, I mistakenly flipped the type-unit release lever. In the process of correcting my mistake, I noticed two initials engraved on the type unit's front plate. The initials were "A.L." how ironic, I wonder if they stand for Abraham Lincoln. I have little time to think, I have to keep typing on this old typewriter that I purchased from some new generation abolitionist to help them raise money for weapons. I punch the back-spacer, quick, then the shift lock next. Locating the feed roller release lever, I hear someone screaming my name. "Get in here and shut that damn door, don't you see we're on the break of another civil war," I shout back at my daughter as the door slams. I then tap the "Quickset" margin lever and adjust the paper shelf. The bail bar lever is in place and the auxiliary feed rollers keep rolling as I shift to the next paragraph on the page. I notice good indentation measurements on the bail bar, I'm cruising now, and I'm almost done. Punching letter after letter, I can't help but feel the rhythm as my line indicator stays put, while the paper rolls through. The ribbon center guide allows the letters to imprint on the paper and there is no need to adjust my line indicator locking lever. The sound of the type bar fork keeps me in tune with every word. Deep in my thoughts, I have an inkling to hit the ribbon reverse lever. I pass on that thought and adjust the tabulator setting key, concluding the last section of the report, I hit the touch adjustment control, then the margin release. I look at my checklist and finish-up. I hit the type-unit runner, the writing point indicator looks good. The paper is almost done, so I hit the tabulator bar then period and space bar. I use the shift key for the last line, now all I need is a signature. I notice that I have a typo by the names: "Moses and John." The first page of my black history project is done. I followed all of the instructions given to me by the teacher and used one of the oldest typewriters that I could find. Realizing that I'm going to loose points with the type error, I take a blot of black ink and correct my mistake. In the midst of my correction, I then realize that I've got black ink all over my shirt. In my own little cleaning ceremony, I realize that there's nothing I can do about the past, but I can make the future better.      

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