Saturday, 22 December 2012

Dual Decapitated Hermes 3000s

There are many stories of heads looking back at their bodies with a look of shock and surprise after they had the old guillotine treatment. I’m just glad that typewriters don’t have eyes and that they can’t look back at themselves. The carriage can’t look back at the main frame and think, “Oh bugger.”


These two Hermes 3000s came home with me after a trip to Robert Messenger’s (see his brilliant blog here). He thought that a project would be good for me and that it would help my understanding of the workings of a typewriter. I’m quite sure of that and to be honest I’m looking forward to it. But, like so many things, it will have to be done “after Christmas” – a time that I won’t want to end and will most likely need to go one for ever and ever to get everything I need to done.


Both machines don’t have their carriages installed at the moment. One machine’s main spring has broken inside its case, and the other machine’s type-bar segment is jammed; the same machine’s chassis is spotted with rust.

The rusty machine has Pica type – fairly bog standard – while the machine with the broken spring has techno elite. Because I have a preference for bog standard typefaces, I’ll most likely end up going to the effort of cleaning out the rust. I might fall back on this claim because I won’t have the patience or I simply won’t be bothered, and could well, at this stage, end up settling with techno.

Cosmetically, both machines are in good shape, both have a few minor scrapes here and there, though. In keeping with the tradition of Hermes 3000s, there is a broken platen knob:


I do have a spare, luckily, and I’m very thankful I won’t have to go to immense lengths to figure out a replacement.

So, if all goes to plan, I’ll have a very nice Hermes 3000 to start the school year with. I’m looking forward to it, having heard so much about them. And thank you again, Robert Messenger!



  1. Removing the carriage seems to be the long way around to a solution for something! What needed such drastic action?

    1. While I don't really know, I think it was to replace the Main Spring on one of the machines. It makes it a whole lot easier to get to if you take the carriage off - even though that itself is, as you say, drastic.

    2. I've never done that with the carriage off. Shell off, yes. Not the carriage. Mind you, you need to partially dismantle the carriage to get the shell off.

      Give me a yell next time you get stuck. I can probably walk you through the repair if you need a hand.

  2. Those broken knobs are puzzling - we never see them in Switzerland, and I can tell you, we see a lot of Hermes 3000s!

    1. Perhaps the Swiss kept the better quality knobs for their local market and that's why they didn't break, while the "factory seconds" were exported to the rest of the world... the Swiss are crafty, aren't they?
      No, maybe it wasn't that - they can't have been that crafty when it came to platen exports. Perhaps the Swiss are a lot more gentle and peaceful and don't go breaking Hermes 3000 knobs all the time like the American and Australians have obviously done!

    2. My understanding is that the plastics were always mixed wrong. Mind you, closer to home you'd probably find that the replacement parts were easily sourced within the normal life of those machines.

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