To Type, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth...

A man of the cloth and the steel he wields

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  1. I’d never seen that either but now I must have one!

    1. Heh, I spent a good part of last night googling Signature 500-series machines, which is the machine that the dial-a-type is made for, and is the one that many people including the Davis brothers rave about. I found that the 510 and 513 *do not* have the changable slug, while the 511, 511D and 513D apparently do. (can be seen (can be seen in most photos as the far right typebar having lots of extra space in the segment and the red +/= key).

      Now I really want to find one of those Signature 511 or 511D machines! :D
      (and all 4 of those “Dial-A-Type” dealies!)

      1. gah! I just broke my “no-eBay” vow and snagged a Signature 511D for, well, more than I’d pay for a thrift store machine. Not too bad, though. Now I will have the set, and I’m in the market for Dial-A-Type slugs! :D

  2. I heard about replaceable slugs – one at a time – on a single typebar (worked by a blank key – reminds me of blank tiles in Scrabble) but DIAL-A-TYPE! That’s really impressive. Can’t wait to see more!

    1. The Dial-a-type is incredibly cool! I hope they turn up where a Typospherian can get hold of them. I’ve been trying to avoid the Signature series, but you are wearing down my resolve.

  3. That’s a good-looking line of typewriters.

    Here is a little more about Dial-A-Type, from “The ‘Small Office Typewriter’ from Brother,” by Will Davis and David A. Davis, ETCetera no. 100:

    An interesting variant in this line which
    appeared somewhat later was the Signature
    510D. This machine was unique because it
    had been modified to incorporate Brother’s
    patented “Dial-A-Type” replaceable type
    head on the rightmost type bar. Since this
    device was larger than a conventional type
    slug, the machine had a modified segment
    with the rightmost typebar spaced far apart
    from the next adjacent one. On the 510D,
    a wide space is thus left unmachined and
    easily visible in the segment. A red key top
    on the +/= key lever indicated this feature.
    (The smaller JP-1 series machines when fitted
    for Dial-A-Type installation simply have
    no room for such modification, so they omit
    one type bar and one key and also have an
    empty slot in their typebar segments. These
    are quite uncommon.)

  4. Years ago I bought a Burroughs bookkeeping machine with under-carriage typing. One of the keys was a date key which could be adjusted. It had 5 or 6 disks which could be rotated on the end of the typebar. The type basket was a full circle and this key was at the 9:00 position, so that it would type the date in a horizontal line. It is the only part I kept of the machine when I decided it was taking up too much room and dismantled it. I remember I paid $30 for the machine. It was sitting over in the corner of the warehouse where I worked.

  5. I just got a Brother Pro-Line 715 that has a “dial-a-type” element (the one for accents).

    I also have a Signature 511D that can take the “dial-a-type” element on its + = type bar. However, the instruction manual makes no mention of dial-a-type and how to remove the installed + = slug. It turns out that prying gently outwards on a spring steel band on the sides of the + = slug allows the slug to be removed.

    The only other Brother Pro-Line I’m aware of (one that Will Davis has and used for a short video segment about dial-a-type) also has the element, so I’m guessing it came standard with the Pro-Line machines. However, I haven’t been able to find any substantive information online about the Brother Pro-Line series. Does anyone know anything about it?

    1. Not really, except what the Davis Brothers have found out and what we can glean from the Sears catalogs. I haven’t heard anything about the Pro-Line series, but you could at least buy the dial-a-type slugs separately from Sears. I’d like to have a couple for my Signature 511D too! (:

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