This Fox under stroke typewriter came to the shop looking for Mr. Montgomery. It was obviously very lucky to have stumbled into the shop, with a snapped leather draw band, frozen platen and rollers. What this kid from 1906 really needed was a soft spot on a living room shelf to wile away its senior years. But no. This Fox demanded to be rejuvenated back into a living, working machine . . . insisted on it.
Well all righty then, let’s get started. Old Foxy needed all new rubber, no surprise there. I always start with the platen, and if you can’t get that beast off the machine no sense going any farther. It took two weeks to tease the shaft out of the platen core. Tap, tap, tap . . oil. Tap, tap, tap . . oil. Wait. . . Repeat. The Fox shaft is internally threaded on both ends so you can’t just call Brute and use his force. It is all about preserving the threads and no way deforming the ends. Once the typewriter gods eased the last of the shaft out, I got working on the paper rollers. I appreciate how all you need to do is drive out a small tapered pin to gain clearance to replace the roller rubber. Easy squeezy! I got the platen packed and sent to J.J. Short to be recovered then got started on cleaning the mechanics.
The bearings and races were in good shape and the ribbon feed and type bars needed the most attention. After that, Old Foxy got new rubber feet, and boy did he need them. The carriage assembly went back on nicely and runs smoothly. Next I located leather material to replace the draw band, closely matching the original black leather strap. Tightening the spring drum gave the carriage a nice back and forth slide. At that, I ordered felt to replace the various cushioning that had degraded in its hundred years of service.
Now I sat down to figure out how best to restore a really degraded paint finish. I wiped off the accumulated dirt with plain water and discovered it had been shellacked some time in its career. Shellack finishes will temporarily brighten paint and protect decals until it oxidizes, say in 50 years. So now I’m faced with a yellowed crinkled finish over what was originally a nice shiny black finish with blue and gold pin stripes. I start in the back and work my way completely around the machine and slowly rub the shellack off the base paint. I stay away from the pin stripes and decals until I have most of that yellow gunk removed. Then it is on to polishing and restoration waxing.
Time consuming, and very satisfying. Too bad this finish will never be back to its original glory.
The ribbon on this model is a fat . . . one and a half inches wide. It was a special order as most ribbon for today’s typewriters is 1/2 inch. Once done, this Fox under stroke works like a champ. After a few additional adjustments for the space bar and ribbon oscillation, it is a nice blind typewriter.