John Lewis Mechanical
4805 Menaul Blvd NE Alb, NM 87110 - Phone: 505-884-0600 (M-W 9am-4pm MST) - Email:

John Lewis
To make sure that your typewriter arrives at its service destination, without shipping damage, please follow these packing instructions. This is mainly for large manual typewriters, but can easily be adapted for portable typewriters, phonographs, and most other table top antique machines. First, get a strong plastic trash bag that will completely engulf the typewriter, and a roll of packing tape. Please put your name, address, phone number, and email address on a piece of paper and roll it into the large black rubber roller, (platen). Often I receive machines that have unreadable return address because the box has been slid around on its base. If you take it to a packing facility, they always have their return address on the box, not yours. I will not know who's machine has come in until you call to inquire about your machine.
Packing Packing Packing Packing
Next, tie or tape the small plated levers that release the carriage so it floats freely back and forth freely. You do not want to ship the machine without the carriage in the released position because, if the machine receives a hard blow, or is dropped, the tiny teeth on the escapement gear will snap and the carriage will be rendered useless. Once the carriage has been released, place the machine in the large plastic bag, and while centering the carriage, tape the machine in all four directions with many wraps of tape. You may need to enlist the help of someone to assist you while holding the carriage centered. You will have it taped enough when you can no longer move the carriage under the bag. Normally it takes about a half a roll of tape to get it secured. I will not laugh if you over tape it, but you will be saddened if you do not tape it enough. Now get a heavy box that will allow for at least 2 to 3 inches of clearance around all sides of the typewriter, especially the carriage end knobs.
Packing Packing Packing Packing
Pour a few inches of foam peanuts in the bottom of the box and then shake the box for a minute or so so the foam settles. Now, fill the box with foam peanuts and continue to shake the box until the peanuts will not settle any more. At this time add more so that the box looks too full. You will know if you have enough peanuts in the box if you need assistance holding the box flaps down so you can tape it closed. Now, and MOST IMPORTANT, put this first box into a second one that will allow the same amount of clearance as the first box, remembering that you will need to have peanuts around all six sides of the box. If you feel that the box can be dropped from 6 feet without the carriage ends being damaged, then you have done a good job of packing. Just imagine a bowling ball in a box of foam peanuts. After rolling around in the box for an hour or two, most of the peanuts will be flattened and there would not be any protective padding left. This is why it is so important to double box the machine as it keeps the heavy typewriter from crushing all of the peanuts.
Packing Packing Packing
You can find sturdy boxes at many of the computer and office machine stores and they are usually happy to give them away. I have found that FedEx is the best for shipping heavy boxes, and certainly the easiest to work with when it comes to filing a damage claim. Do not forget to spend a couple of extra dollars and insure the machine for $500, to insure that they will take a little extra care with your treasure. Once it is on its way, send me an email with a tracking number so I can watch for it.