|TYPE TEST: Monarch Visible No. 2|
|I tried very hard to like this typewriter. I attempted numerous styles of touch, from light to extremely hard and staccato, and adjusted my seating position numerous times as well. No matter what I did, I could not arrive at any set of conditions that rendered this machine pleasant to use.
The machine has been returned to near-factory specifications by Your Typewriter & Computer, a local operation whose owner and technician have collectively over 60 years of experience. That the machine is functioning as originally intended is, to all of us involved, without doubt. This cannot remove its sub-standard qualities.
|The machine has a touch (or "feel") that has to be experienced to be understood. It seems tinny in sound, but in point of fact this is sound only; the touch is overly stiff, with inhibition of key travel for one hundred percent of the motion, which is rather short. Type-bar return to rest ought to be very rapid given this fact, and it is. The failure on the part of the machine's design results in over-speeding often, and this reveals quickly another detriment: There is no type-guide. On machines with such a feature, two type slugs cannot come to the print point together. On this machine, two very often will, and will often jam. Extensive testing reveals that the only successful method with this machine would be to practice, with it and only it, long enough to arrive at an absolutely perfect rhythm, and that the pressure exerted at this pace by the little finger on the "Z" must be exactly the same as that exerted by the index finger on the "H." In short, the touch is so unrefined that only superior refinement on the part of the typist will result in satisfactory work and experience.
The design of type-bar, type-bar bearing and mounting for the type slugs makes perfect alignment of the type problematical, and especially so at this late date for these machines. It is true that the Monarch was one of the first two standards on the market to be fitted with type-bars striking from the front and segment shift, but the number of negative points regarding this machine's operative qualities makes one wonder just what Union Typewriter was doing during the four years it was generating designs and filing patents before the first Monarch appeared.
Other features were noted, but the worst was the clumsy paper finger / slide rod arrangement. There are not many worse designs on machines in that early-1900's $100.00 bracket.
I am left only to hope that the later, Smith Premier variants with slotted segment worked better. It is indeed true that, when this machine was new, it certainly could have done all of the jobs asked of it -- it is sturdily built, well-assembled and fitted with Monarch's versions of almost all of the competitive features of the day. But there were also certainly many machines at that time that would have been (and have been proven here to be) more pleasant to type on. My father's assessment is generally the same as mine on this machine, and our grade could be described overall as FAIR.