Royal Model 10
Around the turn of the century, two men named Hess and Meyers came up with the idea for a frictionless ball bearing track. This invention caught the eyes of investors who helped the up and coming inventors into starting Royal Typewriter in 1904. Their first model, the flatbed, was wildly successful, and was one of the predecessors to the Model 10.
The Royal Model 10 was a desktop model, and it weighed between 30 and 40 pounds. Production on these machines began in late 1913 and ran until around 1931. The first variation of the machine had open side panels to display the intricate mechanics. This later changed into two beveled glass panels on either side in late 1915. The final change to the overall design was single glass bevels on either side replacing the double ones in 1923. By 1931, the company had produced over a million machines, though on October 9th of 1926, the company announced their millionth machine in total: not just the Model 10.
In 1927, the company purchased a small airplane to deliver typewriters and demonstrate their durability. Nearly 11,000 machines were dropped with little parachutes, and only 10 were damaged.
The machine I own, pictured thoroughly, is a 1930 Model, possibly 1931. The previous owner of the machine somehow saw fit to take a hacksaw and carve out the serial code. It has single glass bevels on either side, and weighs in at 35 pounds.
I got the machine in fair cosmetic condition, with plenty of chips and surface rust. Most of the decals are worn, but the Royal emblem on the paper table is in near mint condition. The rubber was hard, but it gripped the paper. Among the issues were sticking typebars, a broken vibrator, damaged index detent, improper shift mainspring tension, lots of dirt, rust, broken tabulator, misaligned type, and a plethora of other tiny things. This machine also happens to be the first typewriter I ever personally laid hands on, and definitely the loudest.
The sticking keys were fixed with some solvents, in this case Alcohol (Which, as experience has shown me, is a bad idea) and some gunsmith lubricant (which came later, after I cleaned our the WD40 I was wrongfully told to put in it). A tiny bit goes a long way. Additionally, the tab was fixed with a paper clip, the spring was tightened and the chrome was polished, the glass was cleaned and the body was scrubbed, then waxed. I used some mineral spirits, putty, and a brush to clean out the slugs, and placed a new ribbon (from Office Depot) on the old spools (only have two right spools). This project did not require intensive disassembly, but over the years it has been taken apart and reconstructed so I could learn the basics of repair and maintenance. With the knowledge I gleaned from that machine, research, and other machines, I have been able to apply my knowledge to fix many other machines, and give much advise to other people. I have used this machine extensively for years, and it has never failed me. Occasionally one letter will print out of line, but it goes away after a time.For one reason or another, I never really documented the full extent of my work. Some of it has been photographed, but was lost to the sands of time (or the dust of CPU’s). For the most part, I was so engrossed in my learning experience in those first couple years that I didn’t think to do anything of the sorts. I never thought that there would be other people interested in these old machines, or at least not to the extent that I was. Man was I wrong. There is a real strong community of people who share a passion for these amazing pieces, some fix, some collect, and almost all of them use them.
Polished chrome and glass
Serial Number cut off. You can see the hacksaw marks
Mainspring and detent
Glass panel with a Sufjan Stevens quote behind it
Repairing the tabulator
One of my favorites