A little fix on a Hermes 10

So my Hermes 10 had a little problem; the ribbon vibrator was not dropping down after lifting the ribbon into place. That meant my deathless prose was obscured. Given how many errors I make that may not be a bad thing, but still…

Bitmap image of the typewriter.

Hermes 10 electric typewriter with the upper casing removed.

 

bitmap of the problem part with the part highlighted

Sticky ribbon vibrator indicated by the red arrow.

I tackled it two ways, both at once, so I don’t know which was more important.

First, I just very lightly lubricated the various bits of the mechanism, working from the ribbon position all the way back to the various lever arms and whatnot near the keyboard.

In doing this, I noticed that while there was a spring drawing the mechanism back (and the vibrator down) attached near the top-right of the keyboard, there was no such at the top-left.

bitmap image showing the spring that was already in the machine.

The arrow points to the spring near the top-right of the keyboard. It draws back the ribbon vibrator mechanism, causing the ribbon to drop out of the way.

Now, in most manual typewriters the vibrator is not symmetrical — it’s operated from one side or the other but not both, so such an arrangement would not be that much of a surprise. But on the 10 the mechanism is more symmetrical, with levers and rods on both sides and the ribbon holder moving perfectly vertically on a rail rather than being lifted up by a lever arm from one side. So it seemed reasonable that there should have been a spring on the left, especially since there was a little pin there with nothing to do but hold the end of the absent spring.

bitmap showing the spring

The mismatched spring I added to the mechanism on the top-left.

 

To cut a boring story a little short, I found a little spring in my parts bin (not matching, but that’s OK) and attached it, and an the problem went away.

The 10 is not a bad machine. It combines the evenness and regularity of an electric machine with the satisfying thwack of typebars on paper. Its gentle hum is not disturbing. It is a heavy beast — portable only in the sense it is not bolted down — and the key tops sit high due to the electrical paraphernalia underneath. But typing on it is effortless and the result is very tidy.

And now, thanks to my fiddling about, the ribbon vibrator gets out of the way and lets me see what’s going on.

Here are some more pictures.

image of the typewriter, without its upper case.

Some more pictures of the topless Hermes 10.

It certainly isn’t the most invisible fix I’ve done, but it works and makes the machine much more user friendly, so worth doing indeed.

10 10 10 10.

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About Darren

I'm a scientist by training, based in Australia.

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