Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Where to find a "Mil" typewriter  (Read 11384 times)
KD4AL
Member

Posts: 26




Ignore
« on: March 13, 2011, 09:33:50 PM »

Anyone know a good source for a "mil" typewriter, that is the military typewriter used by radio operators? It is not just an old typewriter used by the military. A "mil" had capital letters only and was used for copying radio messages.  I once found an Ebay listing for an old military typewriter, but that was just a standard typewriter and NOT what I wanted. I want a real "mil". I've kept an eye open at thrift stores and antique malls for several years, but have had no luck.

Any suggestions, i.e. vendors who deal in old typewriters, etc.?

Bill
KD4AL
Logged
AE4RV
Member

Posts: 963


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2011, 06:54:51 AM »

I do know that it's spelled "mill" and is not short for military. How it became to be called that I'm not certain. I always assumed it was referring to mill in the "factory" sense of the word, ie something that produces. It could be named after the man who first patented the typewriter, perhaps.

Good luck, I hope you find one. Please share pictures if you do.

73 Geoff
Logged
N4HAL
Member

Posts: 53




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2011, 09:04:08 AM »

One other feature of these was sprocket feed for the paper- to handle multiple copy fan fold paper. Used one for years, won't say they were not indestructible, but very sturdy. Hope you find one. Several companies made them. Underwood and Remington come to mind.
Logged
K0OD
Member

Posts: 2558




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2011, 10:57:20 AM »

Learning something:

Wikipedia:

Quote
Henry Mill (c. 1683 – 1771) was an English inventor who patented the first typewriter in 1714.[1] He worked as a waterworks engineer for the New River Company, and submitted two patents during his life time. One was for a coach spring, while the other was for a "Machine for Transcribing Letters". The machine that he invented appears, from the patent, to have been similar to a typewriter, but nothing further is known. Other early developers of typewriting machines include Pellegrino Turri. Many of these early machines, including Turri's, were developed to enable the blind to write.
Logged
KE6EE
Member

Posts: 398




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 02:36:59 PM »

If what you want is a good typewriter which prints caps only (mill style), you can get a used IBM Selectric typewriter with an "Orator" typeface element (type ball). The Orator typeface is all caps in two letter sizes. Not cheap though--a used Selectric in excellent condition will probably run in excess of $300 and a new Orator type ball is about $50.

You'd have the authentic look if not 100% authenticity. But if you're using a paddle and keyer, you're not 100% authentic anyway (when mills were SOP, the key of choice for good operators was a bug).
Logged
VE8BOB
Member

Posts: 1




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2011, 06:10:08 PM »

Bill,

I have not been in the military, so I don't know about a mill from direct experience. However, they sound a lot like the Teletype machines used for telegraphy, military, and also I believe RTTY. Anyway, they were heavy duty, caps only machines and usually supported paper tape. The earlier ones supported 5 level Baudot code and the later 8 level ASCII code.

There is an older military model 28 Teletype on sale for $100 on eBay right now. It is a KSR (Keyboard Send Receive) which has no paper tape attachment. Here is the URL:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Model-28-KSR-Military-TTY-Teletype-/300536761223?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45f9630b87

Hope this helps.

73 de Bob, VE8BOB
Logged
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3900




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2011, 09:10:39 PM »

I used a "mill" for the better part of 3 years in the Army.  8 hours a day, 40 hours a week.  The "mill" is nothing more than a standard typewriter that typed caps only and had tractor feeds on each end of the roller for perforated paper. 

They didn't appear to be "heavy duty" but exactly like the standard typewriters I used in high school.  I had two years of typing in school.

During my tour I never saw a "mill" with a "ball turret" for the letters/numbers.  If you are looking for a "mill," all you have to do is ensure that it types caps and has the tractor feed on each end of the roll.  Nothing more; nothing less.

Then of course it must be in operating condition and or you have the ability to service it.
Logged
KE6EE
Member

Posts: 398




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2011, 09:33:19 PM »

The "mill" is nothing more than a standard typewriter that typed caps only and had tractor feeds on each end of the roller for perforated paper. 

They didn't appear to be "heavy duty" but exactly like the standard typewriters I used in high school.  I had two years of typing in school.

During my tour I never saw a "mill" with a "ball turret" for the letters/numbers. 
Appreciate the confirmation of what a mill is. I also took typing (only a semester) in the ninth grade, which was a very useful thing to do. I think that the standard commercial typewriters of the day were indeed quite well built and certainly quite heavy duty.

And old, well-built, standard commercial office typewriters in excellent working condition are widely available. Many people still like to use them for all sorts of purposes. There are a couple of shops near me (in Berkeley, CA near the University of California) which still do business selling and repairing old-fashioned typewriters. I wonder whether they run across the odd mill.
Logged
K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2813




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2011, 10:00:39 PM »

The mills I used in the Navy in the '60s didn't have tractor feed.  They were all Royals, with blank key caps.  On some, the "F" and "J" had little tactile things so your index fingers could find the home keys if they slipped off.

73
Pat K7KBN
Logged

73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KA8VIT
Member

Posts: 40


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2011, 05:41:35 AM »

Here is a picture of the MILL on the WW2 Submarine USS COD.

It is a Royal.

The shift and cap locks are used for the top row of keys which
are used to switch between figures (numbers) and special characters.

http://ka8vit.com/special/t_USS_COD_Radios_012.jpg


73 - Bill KA8VIT
Logged
AE4RV
Member

Posts: 963


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2011, 06:16:12 AM »

It seems to me the tractor paper feed is the most important distinction in making it useful for constant traffic handling.

Does anyone know someone who used a mill at Western Union or some other commercial facility?
Logged
KE6EE
Member

Posts: 398




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2011, 11:13:59 AM »

Here is a web page on the "telegraphic typewriter" as used by the U.S. Navy during the WWII era:

http://www.jproc.ca/rrp/tel_twriters.html

The description says that such typewriters were continuous paper roll feed but does not mention tractor or sprocket feed mechanisms. Drawings on the page did not appear to me to illustrate tractor feed.

I rang up a old typewriter shop locally and asked the owner if he ever ran across a "mill." He said he may have one but would have to go through his stock of old machines. He added that it would be all capitals but it would not have a tractor feed.

A bit of web searching revealed that 100 ft. rolls of inkjet-quality paper are readily available in various widths 8.5 in. and up (and down to 8.3 in.). Some computer printers can be fitted with a paper roll accessory for continuous paper feed. I am wondering if a paper roll holder were cobbled together for a nontractor "mill" it could feed continuously in an adequately reliable fashion.

The typewriter guy said that he was fixing up an old "mill" (without tractor feed, however) for a ham in another Bay Area county. He said the problem with these old Navy telegraphic typewriters is that they tend to be rusted out from salt air exposure so getting them operational is a real chore. If most, or even many, of the mills produced were used in naval or other maritime service, rust may be a chief reason not many remain.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 11:19:22 AM by N6GND » Logged
K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2813




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2011, 12:19:11 PM »

Typically, at least in the 1960-era surface Navy, 90+% of the incoming traffic was via Fleet Broadcast, which was encrypted RTTY.  Some of it was via our CW circuits, and when we had an incoming that way, we cranked a message blank (multi-carbon pack) into the mill, right over the log sheet which was ALWAYS in place.  After the sending station was QRU, we entered the pertinent data in the log and sent the incomings to be processed and routed.  These messages were generally operational stuff within the task group/task force.

Point being, there was no need for a tractor feed on any of the mills we used. On the TTY machines, yes - but not on the typewriters.
Logged

73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KE6EE
Member

Posts: 398




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2011, 01:25:53 PM »

Very good to know that the typewriter guy was right--the Navy didn't need tractor feeds on its mills (and rust is indeed the likely fate of those mills).

By the way I was probably one of the very last radiotelegraph operators in the Marine Corps (I've forgotten the MOS number but received it in 1964; I got my novice license in 1957 and my general in '58). As you (Pat) probably know, before Vietnam cranked up, the USMC was still using a lot of WWII era gear. This included radios for CW. And I did my infantry training with an M1 rifle. But I don't think we used mills.
Logged
K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2813




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2011, 10:12:56 PM »

Very good to know that the typewriter guy was right--the Navy didn't need tractor feeds on its mills (and rust is indeed the likely fate of those mills).

By the way I was probably one of the very last radiotelegraph operators in the Marine Corps (I've forgotten the MOS number but received it in 1964; I got my novice license in 1957 and my general in '58). As you (Pat) probably know, before Vietnam cranked up, the USMC was still using a lot of WWII era gear. This included radios for CW. And I did my infantry training with an M1 rifle. But I don't think we used mills.

It certainly wouldn't have been fun carrying an M1 AND a mill into the field!  When I went to Navy Boot Camp (summer of 1961) we were issued disabled M1s for marching and drill purposes.  We qualified with actual working M1s at the range, and I actually got rated as a "marksman".

Just a few years ago while I was a Navy civilian, we were doing a security upgrade on the Nimitz' small arms locker, and the sailors had to remove all weapons, including several non- working M1s that they still used (then) for ceremonies and such.  They let me get the feel of one, and I found I can still do the 16-count Manual!
Logged

73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!