Restoring a Yost 10 typewriter

I fell victim to the typewriter virus in the summer of 2005.

The first sign of my disease was an obvious one: an ubiquitous Underwood 5 which was in pristine condition. I was so pleased with it that some weeks later I bought its younger sibling: an Underwood 3. They were soon followed by several other machines which were old, but not rare.

Then I hit upon a machine that looked totally different. It was a Yost 10 that was crying out to be restored. It led to my first restoration project, which lasted for months.


I surfed the Internet to find as many details as possible about my odd-looking friend. Paul Robert's Virtual Typewriter Museum by was a great help - and still is! I read that Yost helped Sholes & Densmore to put their first commercial typewriter on the market, which was manufactured by Remington. This added to the fascination I had for 'my' Yost.


At this point I took 3 decisions:

  1. I would sell my “ordinary” machines. (Sorry about the Underwood 5, guys!)
  2. I would only collect machines with historical significance.
  3. I would restore the Yost (by comparing it with a machine that was in good working order).

So, this is exactly what I did. I cleaned, oiled and made the machines as shiny as possible. I sold them and started hunting for another Yost.

I found another YOST 10 on eBay France through Paul Robert. That was the good news, the bad news was that it was in an even worse condition than the one I owned. I decided to restore it as it was a complete machine. At least, that is what I thought at the time but I am much wiser now ...

Taking it apart

First I had to take the machine apart. The carriage, including supports were taken off, followed by the large, nickeled plate with the ink pad. The stripped machine looked horrible.

For future reference, I took note of the exact position of the 2 typebars at “12 o’clock”.
Left T, right g.

Next I started to mark the 87 (eighty-seven!) linkages between keys and typebars.
This allowed me to remove the 42 linkages from the upper typebars followed by the 43 from lower ones.
I can assure you that this was no fun at all. As most of pins which secure the linkages to the key mechanism were stuck due to rust, they were rather difficult to access and get hold of! It was also difficult to remove the springs on the linkage mechanisms from the typebars!


After removing a number of mechanical parts and screws, the complete” typebar set” came loose. That is when I was first struck by a panic attack. I was also haunted by a nightmare in which everything shattered into 85 pieces without me knowing the exact order in which they where placed!

Yet another nightmare was in the making. I gently removed the 16 bars which hold the key mechanism together (and in the upright position); I had expected some trouble at that point, but I could not avoid a lot of parts coming loose!

I kept telling myself that problems are part of the process; whether you restore motorbikes, antique clocks or typewriters. Moreover, if something has been put together ...  it must be possible to reassemble it.

Anyway, I was left with the bare chassis and piles and piles of parts.


All these parts had to be cleaned, degreased and polished ...
The 85 linkages had already taken 30 hours!

I unscrewed every linkage into 3 parts by counting (and taking note of) the number of revs it took to unscrew each part.

 If this is not done, major problems will arise afterwards regarding adjustments of keys and typebars.


In order to degrease and clean the set of typebars, I was advised to put them in a ... dishwasher. So I did.  To be honest, this was not a success. On the contrary, although the grease and dirt had gone, they came out more rusty than before!


Cleaning had to be done by hand after all.
Again, this meant hours of labor.
But, with a satisfactory result this time.

Key mechanism

Next was the key mechanism.

I sought the advice of dozens of companies involved with “blackening” metal parts.
None could offer me a viable solution. So, guess what happened next? Yes, I had to clean them by hand!

Before After

While restoring this Yost 10, I bought and sold typewriters in order to support my hobby (read passion). In this way, I acquired a Yost 4, Smith Premier 4 (with the Belgian keyboard), Adler 7, Mignon 2 & 4, Smith Premier 10, Hammond 12 Ideal, Yu Ess, Standard Folding, Imperial B, Caligraph 2, Blick Featherweight ...

I was thinking about typewriters, morning, noon and night.
My wife was getting rather desperate.
One night, when I went to bed,  I found ... a typewriter on her pillow!!!

It was a Hammond Multiplex.

She had certainly made her point.


I now started to dismantle the carriage by removing a number of pins.
This has to be done very carefully in order to avoid any
irreparable damage.

I took several photos of the various parts that needed re-nickeling so I could check afterwards if no parts were missing.

Then I had to wait until the re-nickeled parts were ready. Meanwhile I had the chassis sandblasted, and applied the first layer of primer. Some smaller holes were filled with putty.

I prepared the machine for its first black layer by sanding with #600 grade paper and sprayed the chassis for a second time in black. Then I applied the Paint Pinstriping Stencil Tape (which I ordered from Finesse Pinstriping Inc.).

First the golden stripes ...

then the blue ones

Then I finely sanded the surface to remove any unevenness in the stripes.

I finally put on two top layers of varnish as I wanted the machine to have a new, but still somewhat “used” look when finished. With those 2 layers I had the possibility to apply a more “grainy” polish compound to eliminate any shininess.

While I was waiting for the re-nickled parts, I made new paper feed rollers. How I did this, is one of my secrets ... but if you're really interested ... contact me and I will tell you.


Finally I received a phone call with the good news that my nickel plated parts where ready!
It was now time to reassemble the carriage. Apart for some minor problems - holes that were now smaller due to the thickness of the nickel-  this went smoothly.

I must admit that I was very happy to see all the parts becoming a typewriter again.

Now, there was one thing left to do; reassemble the rest of the jigsaw puzzle, 
starting with the key-mechanism: A tricky job!

Putting the complete mechanism into the chassis was not as easy as I thought it would be. The holes into which the parallel bars are screwed (that keep the mechanism in place) were too small due to the thickness of the paint and had to be tapped again! It was not very easy finding taps with the right thread. Especially not in our metric Europe!

Subsequently, the job I feared most: refitting the linkages between key-mechanism and typebars. Surprisingly enough, this went smoothly.

This is the first link:
the space bar command !
   Plus the 85 others that have to be fitted
   in their original position ...

First the linkages from the lower case typebars, then the upper case ones.

I could finally remove the numbered tags!

The last stage of the restoration was straightforward with no major problems.

The last stage of the restoration was straightforward with no major problems.

I mounted the supports for the carriage, made some adjustments to the key height and the neutral position of the typebars ... and the complete carriage was once more back in its original position.

Front, rear, left and right panels were put into place after their new decal had been applied. (Again: thanks Paul). The paper rest with decal was made anew.

And here it is: a Yost 10, reborn after more than a 100 years!!!

It can write, it can sing. It even goes 'ping'. What a wonderful thing.

PS: happily my wife and I are still together!
And ... what’s more: she is particularly fond of this machine.

All's well that ends well.


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