UPDATE: Typewriter Platen refurbishing by J.J. Short

A new update I received from Peter Short this morning:

Ted–just wanted to drop you a quick note on our progress.  Things seem to be moving along especially with the older style platens–we have seen a number of makes and models including Underwoods, Royals, Smith Corona, Olivetti, Oliver, LC Smith, Hermes, KMM and Remingtons.  The challenge is still making sure we get the correct OD as without manufacturer specs we simply are working off the worn platens but so far so good with a few tweaks and regrinds here and there and we are getting better with each batch that we see.  We also have same leads in possibly getting some better specifications and are pursuing them at this time as well.   The material appears to meet our customers needs in both hardness and feel.  Of course durability remains unknown until these are out there working for a number of years but we are confident the material will meet if not beat expectations if used in a normal operating environment for a typewriter.  For all your readers we have pricing in effect for these older models.  For quoting purposes if they can provide is with
  • the inside diameter of the rubber tube or the outside diameter of the wooden or metal core without the rubber
  • the current outside diameter of the platen
  • and the length of the rubber
we can provide a quick quote.   For multiple platens in the same size range we will offer discounted pricing for qtys of 2-5 and 6+.  We would ask that any removable hardware be removed prior to shipment of the platens to us, especially any levers, knobs, springs etc.   This allows us to get right to work on the platens and its rubber coating and not have the responsibility to remove, keep and document how to replace the parts all of which takes time and is not the business we are in.  Plus it is simply safer to have the typewriter shop or owner maintain and replace these parts in the proper manner.  We will soon have a webpage dedicated to platens up on our site explaining all this in more detail but I wanted to give you and your readers a heads up.
As for the newer model platens, namely the electric models, we have our first test platens in for grinding this week with a 95 to 100 durometer material and hope to have a test platen back into our customer hands for evaluation very soon.
Finally we are turning our attention to feed rollers and guide rollers.  While we could easily handle through a molded operation the wide variation in sizes of these parts would make that method expensive from a tooling perspective.  We are looking into more economical alternatives into how to handle these requests and hope to have something in place by the Fall.
We thank you and the folks that have contacted us since Ames’ closing for all of your help and assistance as we educate ourselves about this niche.  We appreciate the patience everyone has shown as we work through how to tackle some of these projects in a manner that makes sense not only for us but also with the customer in mind.
We look forward to continuing to serve this marketplace and expand it where we can!  It has been really neat to learn just how many people still work with typewriters , collect typewriters and adding machines and how it seems there is a resurgent interest in the typewriter in this computer age!  As we also have a company history of serving the photographic film industry and live and work in the diminished shadow of Kodak we can only hope this catches on there as well!
Thanks again—keep on typing

It all sounds like great news, especially that bit about feed rollers! I expect you film-photography-loving readers (I know there are a lot of you) will also hearken to the bit about the “company history of servicing the photographic film industry”. Is the J.J. Short company making hints about being a supplier of obsolete film and/or chemistry for film photography?

Updated: July 29, 2012 — 12:20 pm


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  1. Great news. Thanks, Peter and Ted!

  2. Would he consider a special price for those of us also named Peter?
    Nah, who am I kidding I am not refurbishing anyway.
    Still it’s good info to pass along when asked.

  3. Thanks for keeping us updated!

  4. This is great news. Well done Ted, and thanks.

  5. I have a Royal portable (1929??) that needs platen work. What are the charges for your service and shipping instructions??

    1. It isn’t me that provides the service, it’s JJ Short:

  6. Hi my name is Frank I’ve heard a lot about your company and heard good things wondered if you could explain to me how it works do I send you my old platin and you redo it and send it back I guess that’s the idea I’ll send you my information if I can get a little more information perhaps you have a YouTube touroil and how do this not very computer savvy but it’ll do my best thank you telephone number would be best my number is 7185304784 in New York The Bronx thanks my name is Frank

    1. You need to contact JJ Short, not me. I’m a blogger. (:

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