Typewriter Repair 101: Adjusting Vertical Typeface Alignment (Carriage-Shift Typewriters)

In part One of this Typewriter Repair 101 series, we discussed adjusting the typeface alignment on Basket/Segment-shifted typewriters. One question that came up pretty quickly was the basket-shifted Royal QDL, which has a more complex 4-point adjustment system that is similar to Carriage-shifted machines. Today, we’ll examine some examples of these carriage-shifted machines, and adjust one out:

First up, the carriage-shifted Hermes Rocket – although for the purposes of the demonstration, I’ll substitute my identical Empire Aristocrat. This typewriter is extremely easy to adjust, although its 4-point system is slightly more complex than the usual 2-point system on Segment-shifters.

Note that when *both* upper and lowercase letters are out of adjustment (as is the case here) it’s important to adjust the *lowercase* letters first, because they have descenders. First make sure that letters like “h” print nicely and evenly with the ascenders not fading, then *make sure* to double-check letters like “y,g,j,q” to ensure that the descenders also print clearly. Then you can go ahead and adjust the uppercase letters to line up with the lowercase letters. I tend to use the letter “h/H” to check this because they are exactly the same size and are easy to line up.

2013 08 01a Typewriter Repair 101: Adjusting Vertical Typeface Alignment (Carriage Shift Typewriters)

IMG 2987 Typewriter Repair 101: Adjusting Vertical Typeface Alignment (Carriage Shift Typewriters) IMG 2987b Typewriter Repair 101: Adjusting Vertical Typeface Alignment (Carriage Shift Typewriters)

Small travel typewriters like the Rocket tend to have “rocking” carriage-shift mechanisms, where the carriage rocks up and down on a single pivot, a design that makes it easy to have the adjustment points right on the ends of the carriage rails.

In sharp contrast, other carriage-shifters use a mechanism where the carriage shifts straight up and down on a sort of rail system of it’s own. These tend to have the adjustment points either accessible from underneath the rear of the machine or, in some really annoying cases, buried deep inside the machinery in such a way that they are extremely difficult to get at. Here are some examples:

IMG 2993 Typewriter Repair 101: Adjusting Vertical Typeface Alignment (Carriage Shift Typewriters)
The Corona 4, which uses full-head screws, has to be accessed from below the machine, and needs a small,bent crescent wrench to loosen the locknuts. Inconvenient, but not horrible.
IMG 2987c Typewriter Repair 101: Adjusting Vertical Typeface Alignment (Carriage Shift Typewriters)
Carriage-shifted Olympias. sheesh. I would *hate* to have to adjust out one of these. Not only full-head screws, but you have to flip the machine back and forth because one set is accessed from the bottom and one set is buried deep under the top ribbon cover.

8 thoughts on “Typewriter Repair 101: Adjusting Vertical Typeface Alignment (Carriage-Shift Typewriters)”

  1. I’ve adjusted the uppercase letter position before on a few carriage-shited typewriters, but never attempted any lowercase adjustment. I’ve got a few that are quite out of alignment that I think I’ll try to get aligned perfectly. Thanks for the pictures! If and when I do the same, I’ll post photos on my blog as well.

  2. This thread reminds me so much of valve clearance adjustments I used to regularly make on motorbikes. Especially the push-rod Honda CX 500 and BMW R80RT. And I have tried and failed to adjust an Olympia SM. Turned out it was OK anyway and that all I needed to do was take the looseness out of the carriage run.

  3. Thanks to your very instructive story, I just managed to adjust a Groma. No, not a Kolibri, *just* a Modell N… So, now this machine is almost ready for typing a typeface specimen for the database. And I will, again, try to find out how the lowercase alignment works with an Alpina.
    Speaking of the database, I have a few remarks. First of all, thank you for all the work you put into it. It’s a pleasure to surf and search. And it is easy to use.
    But: is it possible that there is a 0 too much in the list of Groma Modell N, T, and E for 1941?
    The Olivetti list has a dead link – see Lettera 32.

    1. Ok, I looked up the Groma descrepancy in Schramm 62, and it turns out there was an extra “2”. the correct serial number is now represented. (:

      I removed the link to Clickthing’s list, as it is now dead.

  4. Munk,

    I have been trying for over a year to adjust vertically a lettera 32, but it seems to be an impossible task.

    It is the only typewriter I have with the right keyboard plus it is a present from the wife, so any help would be most welcome.
    I have not found the two screws on the underbelly of the machine or a double set on the ends of the carriage.

    Please help me throwing some light into this matter (images would also be very welcome).

    Thanks in advance

    Tomás

  5. Lettera 32 is quite easy to adjust.
    Looking at the machine from above:
    There are two screws, one on each side of the top of the basket (slightly lift the ribbon and you will see them)
    Use a flat head screwdriver and loosen or tighten them to adjust typeface.
    Good luck

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