Platen Recovering Update: Houston, we have rubber!

Another email in the box this morning from Peter Short of JJ Short, with positive news about their rubber formulation:

Ted—thanks for posting the update since then we have had positive reviews on the material we just we off a little on the OD which we were guessing on based on some very worn platens.  The reason for this email though is I see you know Bob Diltz at West Coast Platen.  From what I understand they worked very closely with Ames and even at one point in their history recovered the platens all in house.  It would seem they have a wealth of knowledge that we are trying to build up from scratch as to material hardnesses for various machines and models as well as finished specs, while we would be more than willing to provide our rubber knowledge and domestic manufacturing capabilities to help them get a material source.  I am not sure if they are looking to step into the market to replace Ames and might view us as competition but I would love to be able to contact them to explore whether there was an interest in working together to service the marketplace that is out there.  Even being on opposite coasts might afford us to work together without stepping on each others toes if they are looking to step into the void left by Ames.   Did not know your read on the situation and how best you might suggest we get in contact with Mr. Diltz.
Thanks for you help.

Yay! Looks like JJ Short has a good rubber formulation. I’ve forwarded Mr. Diltz’s contact info to Mr. Short, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that they come to a mutually beneficial meeting of the minds!

Since my lament a few weeks ago about the loss of Ames, I’ve learned a bit about what’s required to recover typewriter platens. It seems the needed things are:

  1. a grinder
  2. the proper rubber stock
  3. a skilled workman
  4. specification manual for various manufacturer/makes/models OD measurements

From my read of the situation, JJ Short has all except #4, and West Coast Platen has all except #2, so if their two businesses came to an agreement to exchange what each lacks, then we could have as many as *TWO* companies prepared to pick up the slack that Ames Supply left when they closed down.

From a business perspective, this is the point where someone might want to start taking a measure of what the market might look like. West Coast Platen probably has a rough idea what sort of volume to expect, but JJ Short is just toe-deep into the market so far. To assist in gauging the market, I would refer these companies to Richard Polt’s very up-to-date list of Typewriter Repair Shops for a list of contacts.

Updated: June 14, 2012 — 9:11 am


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  1. Encouraging. I hope there will be synergy between the two companies.

  2. That is very good news. It’ll be even better if the 2 companies can combine resources.

  3. Ohhhhhhh.

    I’m itching to get a couple of platens done. Excellent news!

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