I, again, couldn't resist an orphan.
Someone posted a free typewriter on Craigslist, and from the blurry picture I could tell it was a wide carriage SM-9. All good so far, huh? But it's never that simple, is it? The guy who had it said he wasn't sure if it worked, which I already assumed meant "it doesn't work", but I was optimistic enough to think maybe it just needed a good scrubbing. It was the filthiest typewriter I've dealt with yet, at least on the top. Looked like it belonged to a smoker, who possibly collected beetles, too. Ugh.
But still, I put in a piece of paper and tried to type. First, the type bars wouldn't go all the way to the platen. I eventually remedied that - not sure how - but now key pressings only move it half a space, and then it stops.
I spent hours and hours cleaning it up and fiddling with it this weekend, and that's still the final result, though it's a good deal cleaner now. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I guess you get what you pay for, but I was so hoping it'd work, and for free...I had to try! Worst case scenario, I may try to find someone to look at it eventually... There's a certain charm to the really ugly typers.
On another topic, at the bottom of the case with the beetles, there was a little white plastic case that says KoRecType Typewriter Opaquing Film. It's copyrighted 1976, which was a very big year for me. Opaquing...gotta love that word! This is the first time I've gotten to play with correcting tabs, and I like them! They don't always give perfect coverage, but they're sooo much tidier and easier to use than anything else I've ever tried. Different than I'd pictured, too. Tabs brings to mind something itty bitty...I thought you used one per letter or something. But they're actually between the size of a business card and a playing card.
The other interesting thing about them is that they leave you with a typed record of your mistakenly typed letters. For some reason, I seem to mistype "d" in place of other letters a lot. I'm sure there's some Freudian explanation for it. I just can't think of any before coffee...
**EDITED** to add...yes, that's a bug and a bit of cobweb that's adhering to the box. Ew. I should probably retake the photo, but I guess I'll leave it as a sample of what I was dealing with. Ew again.