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1886 Caligraph No. 2 Typewriter- From Barn to Bookshelf- Restoration

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    Posted 5 years ago

    (19 items)

    Hello everybody, I would like to share a story of an old typewriter and its history of 130 years. This is my 1886 Caligraph No. 2 Typewriter, currently in the Piedmont of North Carolina, found in a barn in Northern Pennsylvania. It is by far the oldest typewriter I have ever seen in person and is the pinnacle of my collection of typewriters and computers; it's old enough that I wouldn't be surprised if it's the oldest typewriter in my town or county. I bought it from a fellow who found it in his grandfather's barn in Northern Pennsylvania, where it sat in the bed of a truck for decades. Given its age, it has likely not seen regular use for over a century. As a result of this, it was in rather poor condition when I purchased it, but I had great interest in it because it had great potential and was very complete. As you can see in images 2 & 4, it was very rusty and covered in dirt and dust. Its parts were so locked up that they were nearly welded with dust and corrosion in areas. But with some time and elbow grease, I managed to get it polished up again. The entire machine was cleaned and all painted areas were re-lacquered for preservation. I even managed to find a new-old-stock 1 inch width ribbon from the 1890s to put on it. The toughest part was the front panel, which needed to be very carefully sanded to remove rust, and the paint touched up and re-lacquered smoothly to preserve and revitalize the original decal. The golden pin striping also needed to be redone on the panel as well. It shows that even some of the roughest and oldest of such machines can be saved and have great potential, even after all of those years; all it takes is some knowledge, time, and perseverance. Thanks for reading!

    More information about this machine can be found on my main page.

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    1. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      If you collect old computers, come down with a truck. I've got a present for you ! I would hate to have to start again learning again using the location of these keys ! Good find.
    2. SweetViolet SweetViolet, 5 years ago
      Ha, I have my fair share of old computers and electronics (aside from the vintage gaming ones in my collection) piled around my place too! Nowadays with all of the new gadgets all the time, its really hard not to. Also, it certainly would be quite challenging learning to type on a Caligraph given the unusual key layout. Thank you!
    3. fortapache fortapache, 5 years ago
      Very cool old typewriter. I would find space to put something like that.
    4. SweetViolet SweetViolet, 5 years ago
      Thank you!
    5. pollyperkins pollyperkins, 5 years ago
      No typing errors here just great aesthetics!
    6. SweetViolet SweetViolet, 5 years ago
      Thank you!
    7. Mystaplers, 5 years ago
      A Little history for you: The owners of the Caligraph Co. challenged the Folks at Remington to a contest. Both companies had extremely fast typist, as there were contest all over the country to determine who was the fastest typist. Well, Remington took them up on the challenge. The Remington typist was able to manipulate the single set of keys much faster than the caligraph typist trying to manipulate two sets of keys. Remington won.

      You have a fine machine there.
    8. SweetViolet SweetViolet, 5 years ago
      Oh, I have never heard that story before; thank you for sharing. It definitely seems like Remington had the right idea, considering that shift keys are still used today. Thank you!
    9. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
      AMAZING-- great restoration!

      It doesn't look "overdone" which is MY chief complaint with most restoration jobs.

    10. SweetViolet SweetViolet, 5 years ago
      Thank you!

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