Wednesday, July 11, 2012

$370 later

My corona silent is back from US Office Machines!! It's one of the last meccas for typewriters.

Ruben Flores was in the area and dropped it off just a couple hours ago. Talk about service!!

He stayed and chatted for about 45min. I showed him my collection and he did some estimates on future repairs. He said his favorite typewriters are Olympias and Olivettis. He doesn't care much for Hermes.

He has 2 or 3 Groma Kolibris but none of them are in perfect shape. He said he has one in all magenta that he's been meaning to fix for years. The other two would be parts machines possibly. I showed him mine and he thinks mine was dropped. One of my keys is detached. Also some of my type bars are bent. Lastly, he thinks my carriage is depressed a bit. My platen is good and everything else.
He estimates costs for labor, parts, cleaning an repair to be at least $250. He said German typewriters are fun to fix.

So $370? If you're curious, it breaks down like this:

- $250 labor
- $80 feed rolls
- $30 bail rolls (3) (from his own stash)
- $0 ribbon
- the rest: tax

I was also supposed to get a new or redone platen for $90 but then Ames shut down.

I don't mind the $370 too much. Good experience: I got to meet him and see his shop and hear his stories. Plus I plan to do my own repairs in the future (except for truly difficult ones which I will likely leave in Ruben's capable hands).
I wish I could download the information and experience he possesses into my brain. He's lived a lifetime of typewriters. Very cool.


Looks like Ruben not only cleaned my typewriter, but he cleaned both the inside and outside of my case. Before it had this ridiculously disgusting stench, seriously like a rotting corpse. I think a lot of these older coronas unfortunately have this smell, the the dozen or so ive come across at least. Seems like Ruben also somehow tightened my front latches bc it closes and opens easily now.
Here is my typewriter all shiny. Before, it was covered in dirt and grime, spiderwebs, hair, dead grass, and probably lots of other unmentionables. It is completely clean inside and out and it smells like fine american engineering.

This is my typeface... not the best pic bc im using my iphone.


  1. Egads! The retired typewriter tech local to me only charges $90 for cleaning/adjustments, including minor repairs (assuming he has parts). I feel spoiled!

    Did Ruben share why he doesn't care for Hermes? I'm curious, and from my own experience working on my Hermes 3000, there are a couple areas of repair I can see would be frustrating.

    1. deek, i feel so unspoiled! LOL
      it costs what it costs i guess. There is a newer typewriter repair shop near me, actually much closer than US Office Machine but that newer shop is unproven and when i talked to the owner/repair guy he didnt do the best job to convince me of his competence. Plus, i really wanted to go to US Office Machine or Star Office Machines, but i read Star Office Machines, which has some celebrity clientele, was expensive. LOL - i guess both shops are probably comprable. However since i had such a positive experience with Ruben, i'm going to stick with him, although i have to admit, i would love to visit and try Star Office Machines. It's near my brother's condo too.

      As for Ruben and Hermes - he said he didnt like the touch on them. Typing on them isnt as much fun. They seem too light. And he also said repairing them, especially Hermes Rockets arent as enjoyable - he repairs them because a lot of his customers have them but he doesnt enjoy it as much.

  2. I'd love to meet Ruben sometime.

    A magenta Kolibri? Wow.

    1. Ruben Flores is seriously the man! Ive also had a pretty long phone conversation with Bill Wahl and one of the guys at Gramercy Typewriter Company. What ive found about these typewriter repair guys is that they are superfriendly and always ready to engage in typewriter talk, seemingly never tiring of it. True passion.
      Richard, if you and Ruben got together - i think that conversation is an all nighter! LOL

  3. It's so cool to read a post about a typewriter repairman whose father & company were recently in the LA Times. May Ruben Flores live long and his shop prosper!

  4. These quotes are helpful for future reference, thanks.
    I was in L.A. last summer, I can't believe I missed U.S. Office Machines!

    1. Ton, it isnt much to look at, honestly. It's a dark, somewhat dirty small space with some tables and typewriter cases all over the place, many hidden from view and under or behind other things.
      Apparently theyve moved a few times but theyve been in that particular space for over 20 years.
      Comfortably, at most, maybe 4 customers can fit in the store. There is nowhere to sit. The only 2 chairs are for Ruben, his brother, or their apprentice Tyler who has been working there for like 5 years.
      Ton, ill upload a copy of my actual receipt later tonight.

  5. ...No pictures of what must be the most beautiful Silent ever? That thing must be working like brand new! Most accommodating of Ruben to drop it off to you. Just don't get service like that anymore.

    1. Ken, when Ruben dropped it off, he spent about 3 minutes rapidly going through each function of the typewriter and then he let me type.
      It's shiny new and gone was the stench of death - instead it smells like some oil or lubricant. i neglected to ask him what he uses.
      I know when he first described his cleaning method, he uses some chemical to basically dunk the machine. He strips the body off and then seriously takes it completely apart and cleans every part, nook, and cranny. He goes by sound to be sure its fixed.

      Its expensive but you know what, i never got a christmas present so i guess this was it. hahaha