Flexowriter: Round 2!

From: Joe R. <rigdonj_at_cfl.rr.com>
Date: Fri Nov 5 21:10:20 2004

     Today I started working on the 2nd Flexowriter. First I should point
out that this is a newer machine than the first one. This one has an
~13,500 serial number and the first one has an ~4,000 serial number. This
is what it looked like to begin with; front
<http://www.classiccmp.org/hp/flexo2/2front.jpg> and back
<http://www.classiccmp.org/hp/flexo2/2back.jp.g> and right hand side
<http://www.classiccmp.org/hp/flexo2/2right.jpg>. At least the keyboard
hasn't been smashed in this one but you can tell that it hasn't been used
in a LONG time by the mildew on the keys. The keys are supposed to be black
and not white! The power cords of both machines had been wrapped around the
carriage for so long that they had taken a permanent set and they broke
when I tried to unwrap them! The first thing that you notice about this
machine is that all the removeable covers are dark blue instead of brown.
I've been told that sometime in the 60s they changed the machine color from
brown to blue. Perhaps this is a transistion model or maybe somebody just
mixed up the parts during a repair or modification. This is the same model
as the first one but it's very different. For one thing it has a
transformer in it <http://www.classiccmp.org/hp/flexo2/2motor.jpg>. It also
has a 2nd circuit board lurking behind the transformer and the fuse holders
are very different from the first machine. But in the back it's even more
changed. There are a lot more relays in it and the relays have a lot more
contacts. <http://www.classiccmp.org/hp/flexo2/2relays.jpg>. The blue
arrows show all the new relays and the red arrow shows a stepping relay
that has also been added to this machine. This appears to be a factory
modification since all the brackets, wiring, etc fit perfectly. However all
the added parts use wire with grey plastic insulation instead of the
various colored cloth covered wire used originaly so this appears to have
been done long after the machine was originally built. This mod also uses a
different type connector (white arrow). In addition to the added relays,
the encoder <http://www.classiccmp.org/hp/flexo2/2encoder.jpg> has three
more switch levers added (red arrows) to the original seven levers (blue
arrows. And of course there are three added sets of switch contacts (red
arrows) on the back of the plate that hold the original seven sets (blue
arrows) <http://www.classiccmp.org/hp/flexo2/2switches.jpg>. All of the
added electrical parts use the same grey plastic insulated wires. Another
change that I spotted was the use of round rubber feet with studs sticking
out of the top and bottom of it (the one in the picture is broken). The top
stud screws into the machine to mount the foot but I don't know for sure
what the bottom stud was supposed to screw into.* The first machine used
square rubber feet that were obviously make to sit on a flat surface such
as a table top. Both of these machines were built by Commercial Controls
Corporation prior to it being taken over by Frieden in the early '60s.
<http://www.classiccmp.org/hp/flexo2/CC.jpg>. FWIW Here is also a picture
of the PT punch <http://www.classiccmp.org/hp/flexo2/2punch.jpg>. It's a
modular design and I had to take it off to remove the encoder.

   *When I was a kid my dad had several teletype machines. A year of two
ago he told me about another machine that he used to have that printed form
letters from a paper tape. He said that it stopped printing at certain
points and you could manually type in people's names, addresses, etc. He
got rid of the machine many years ago and didn't remember the name on it.
Today I called him and asked him about it and asked if it was a Fleowriter
and he said that it was. He said that he still has a few accessories for it
including a bit bucket and a Frieden marked dust cover. He also said that
his Flexowriter sat on it's own stand. I suppose that that is what the
rubber feet with studs on this machine are intended for.

   As I mentioned. I worked on the second machine today. I found that
there's something locking up the carriage and preventing it from going back
to the left. The release buttons have no effect even though all the linkage
is free and moves like it should. The problem seems to be in something
UNDER the carriage. I finally found a escapement behind the carriage and I
pryed over the lever that prevents it from turning backwards and I was able
to move the carriage to the left. I need to find out more about the
escapement and what how it's supposed to work. The shafts in the encoder
<http://www.classiccmp.org/hp/flexo2/2encoder.jpg> that rotate and move the
switch levers were also rusted up. I had to take the encover out and take
it apart and clean the pivots before it worked. Boy getting it all back
together was fun! NOT!

Received on Fri Nov 05 2004 - 21:10:20 GMT

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