This article is mostly for the typewriter repair person, so skip over this one if you’ve got funner things to do.
A typewriter repair person faces few hazards on the job. Mostly back strain from those oh so heavy lovelies that you lug from bench to cleaning station to bench to shelf. One shop hazard that I’ve come to recognize is lead. Yes lead, that gray colored, soft, heavy metal that is potentially poisonous. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning
In the older machines, many manufacturers used lead to reduce noise. You see it in type bar rests, such as in the Underwood 5’s and in the Coronas and L.C. Smiths adhered to the side panels.
When lead has been in service for decades it begins to degrade (oxidize), often in the form of white lead oxide. In type bar rests it seeps from the fabric tube as a gray powder.
As a repairman, when you encounter powdered lead in any form, my advice is this; step back, assess if you have any on you or your clothes and bench. Wash your hands, put on at least a N95 respirator and disposable gloves. Lightly mist the work area with something such as Windex or other mild soapy cleaner to reduce the amount of dust you may create. Do I sound a bit alarmist? Damn straight. Small amounts of lead absorption is not a good thing. Everything I do in the shop is for my customer, so listen.
Now to the typewriter. Wipe down any of the panels with the soapy cleaner, either removing the lead or sealing it with paint. I use a latex fabric repair product called “Tear Mender”. Water soluble and easy to apply. This I use for the collector as most natural latex products were still being used before 1950.
After you are done, throw out the gloves, respirator and any disposable towels you used to clean and seal the panels.
Now the typewriter is safe to service and the customer has a machine that is safe to use in their home. Can you imagine returning an heirloom machine back to a family without reducing the risk of home lead exposure?