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This blog is about the daily activities in a busy typewriter shop. I want to share with you the many interesting people who come in here, the beautiful machines I get and most of all the great typewriter stories that people share with me!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Replacing A Hermes 3000 Platen

     Those of you lucky enough to own a Hermes 3000 probably already know that the platen on a 3000 is one of the hardest known substances on the planet. It's more petrified rock than rubber roller. Maybe you have even thought of replacing the platen but it looked like a complicated procedure. In fact, it can be, but if you follow this lesson you will see that it's easier than you thought. The only tool you will need is a flat head screwdriver with a skinny blade. Your first tip if you can, is to magnetize the screwdriver. Rub the tip of the screwdriver on a magnet. This is a huge help for putting the set screws back in place. The screwdriver also acts as a screw starter.
     Let's start. Move the margins out to the ends of the carriage. Disable the index mechanism by moving the linespace lever to to dot mark above the one linespace. The platen should spin freely without clicking. Next, remove the left platen knob by removing the screw with locking washer and the platen knob will pull off the shaft. Carefully set aside. Next, grab hold of the hub that the knob was on and slowly twist and pull out only about 3/4 of an inch. This is crucial. Only 3/4 of an inch no more. If you pull the hub completely out, you are in trouble.

     Now, gently push the carriage across the machine to the left margin. Next we will remove to two set screws that hold the shaft to the platen. The right platen knob stays attached to the shaft because that's how we pull the shaft out of the machine. These two set screws are located on the right end of the platen on the collar (just inside the frame of the right carriage end). They are small so take care not to lose them. Magnetizing the screwdriver will assure this.

removing the two set screws from right side of platen
      Now we can remove the platen shaft. Grab the right platen knob and gently twist and pull until the entire shaft comes out of the machine. So far, so good.

pulling the right platen knob removes the shaft
      Now we can lift the platen out of the machine. Hold the hub sticking out of the left end of the carriage firmly and then lift up the right end of the platen. Slowly twist the platen and slide out to the right. Alright, we're half way there.

hold left hub firmly, lift up platen , twist and pull to right
       Take a good look at the index assembly on the left side of the carriage. You can see why I stressed not pulling the hub assembly all the way out of the machine. Then the actual index rachet assembly would fall apart and you would be in trouble.

close up shot of the hub assembly for the index assembly
      I wanted to spend a minute on this hub assembly that holds the index rachet in place and that the left platen knob attaches to. This part is really the only potentially troublesome part of the whole process. This part also acts as a index detente release. That's what the two pins that fit into the hub are for. You need to study how the two pins fit into the hub because when we slide the platen shaft back into the platen, it's easy to knock one of these pins out of place.
     OK, time to put in your new platen. Just do everything in reverse. First, hold the hub assembly on left firmly, slide left end of platen onto hub and index assembly and gently twist platen till it is in place and push right end of platen down into place.

slide new platen into place

     Next you will put the platen shaft back into the machine. Notice the left side of platen shaft has a flat spot on the shaft. Keep in mind that the left platen knob will screw into the flat spot on the shaft here. Pick up platen shaft by right knob and insert into right side of platen, gently twisting and pushing. Stop half way in and then grab hold of left hub assembly firmly then continue to push shaft into machine, twisting and pushing until it comes out left side and right platen knob is firmly against machine.
     Next, you can reinstall the two set screws in the right collar of platen. For the final part, move the carriage all to way over to the right margin. Now you can reinstall the left platen knob. Hold the hub assembly, you might have to push it into the machine a bit, and turn the right platen knob so the flat spot on the shaft lines up with the screw hole on the left platen knob. Push the left platen knob on hub assembly and reinstall screw and locking washer. Push left platen knob into machine until it clicks. Put linespace lever on desired linespace setting and turn platen to make sure it clicks when turned. Congratulation, you did it! It takes me about five minutes to do this, I would expect you to take about 20-25 minutes. Not everyone will want to try this but if you have any mechanical ability or are just plain adventurous, go for it! If you get into trouble, send me a email and I'll do what I can to help you out.
     If this helps out just a few people then it was worth writing. I never met a 3000 that didn't need a new platen. To be honest, most other brands of portable manuals have platens that are easier to replace but if you own a 3000, chances are it needs a platen.
     Well, that's it for this week. Thanks for checking it out. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.


  1. Yes, yes, and yes! I have a Hermes 3000, it has a petrified platen, and I have thought about and then abandoned the thought of removing it, because I lacked the no-how. Well, not anymore! Thanks Tom.

  2. They didn't make this easy, did they??

    Thank you for posting this. This will serve as a helpful technical reference for many people in the future, I'm sure. This kind of advice is a welcome addition to your blog.

    1. And today, almost 10 years later, this post saved me from major blunders!

  3. Richard- Definitely not easy, but do-able. Not as overengineered as the Ambassador platen assembly. There are some machines I don't have a clue how to replace the platen.

    Cheryl- Glad you approve. In a few weeks I'll replace a Hermes Rocket platen.

  4. You've convinced me. I won't remove the platen on my 3000! My palms were sweating just reading your detailed account. Gave me Deja Vu of the time I removed the carriage on a Royal portable only to play marbles with ball bearings and star gears.

  5. Martin- We've all been there. Many a time I have been on my knees locking for ball bearings in the rug. Some of my best repair lessons were the ones learned the hard way.

  6. Looking forward to the Hermes Rocket guide - I need to remove the platen on my late 50's Hermes Baby to re-glue a shattered knob and clean some correction fluid off the back of the line indicator.

  7. I'm completely new to this, so a video tutorial would be wonderful. If you have the time, that is! :)

  8. May I inquire where to buy a new platen.

  9. Tom,
    Thank you for the great post / tutorial. I recently became the owner of a fine 60s era 3000 with a broken knob and a platen that needed cleaning. I just took mine apart in all but about 5 minutes thanks to this post. Tomorrow I fashion a knob to replace the broken one on the right and if it works I will make a second since I noticed cracks in the left one also. Then clean the platen (which is really not all that hard) and maybe treat it with rejuvemator and re-assemble the whole works. This is only my second machine and first repair.

  10. Tom,
    Good advice. I cleaned the platen andre-installed it on my 3000 tonight during a commercial break while watching the 6 o'clock news. I found a knob that would work (at least for now)

  11. I am in hot-n-cold pursuit of a Hermes 3000. I say "hot" because I think I really want one (doesn't everybody??). I say "cold" because I apparently don't have as much money as some eBay-ers and Etsy-ans! Bummer...

    In the meantime, I'm trying to learn as much as possible -- and subsequently found myself here. If it's permitted here, in answer to one of the questions above about "Where to find a replacement or new Platen?", below is a short list of Parts Suppliers that I started compiling which may help. Note: Ames and WCP require that you ship them your old Platen so they can re-use the rod. They will install the new Platen Rubber onto it and ship it back. I think the cost is from $45 to $60.

    Ames Supply Co.: http://www.amessupply.com/contact.asp

    WCP: http://www.shopplaten.com/index.php?cPath=24&osCsid=dc2d1776bd9182935e11cec653821106

    DeBarth: http://www.debarth.org/platens.htm

    DeBarth: http://www.debarth.info/HermesReplacementPlatenKnobs.htm

    An Idea if You Are NOT a Stickler for Original Parts: http://offountainpenstypewriters.blogspot.com/2012/01/tale-of-hermes-3000-substitute-platen.html

    Ames Supply Co.: http://www.amessupply.com/products1.cfm?aid=3&cid=h&sid=hc&fid=7400910

    IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND PARTS (not exclusively Hermes-related)...
    DeBarth: http://www.debarth.org/impossibleToFindParts.htm

    Hope this helps!

  12. Hello
    I was wondering if you could assist. I just found a nice old Hermes 3000 at a second hand shop last weekend (the same model that I learned to type on) and it was working a treat till the line spacer lever came loose and popped off. I can put it on but it now shifts the line spacer selector and doesn't actually move the platen, so obviously I have put it in wrong, or maybe a bit fell off.... I would love just a pic of the inside bit so I know what I am doing wrong when I reattach it. I have searched the web but cant find any pics of the inside left part of the machine. If you can't help, might you know someone who could??

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  14. I just purchased a Hermes 3000 at a thrift store $14.99! This thing appears to be in almost perfect condition. However, being the novice that I am; How do I know if the platen needs to be replaced? What are the symptoms/signs? Everything else on this is practically mint!

  15. Try the platen with your finger nail. If it is hard as glas (or hard plastic), then it has to be renewed. But only if you are not happy with the quality of text or it is too loud.

  16. Hi There..Typewriter people...I have read your blog with interest. I have a Hermes Ambassador in v good condition over here in The United Kingdom...Im in London ( England) ! Is anyone there interested in aquiring this wonderful machine!


  17. Should the hub assembly happen to pop out anyway, how do the the two pins fit back into the hub groove: with their little arches rising away from the hub or pointing down inside the hub?

    --Dustin B.

  18. Where are people getting platen these days? There are two places that I have heard of using since Ace closed.


  19. Ive just today receive a near mint Hermes 3000 1964
    it is awesome however the left side of the carriage is lower and looking from the back the carriage case touches the bottom case, and the rail on the left side sits lower than the case.
    Therefore the carriage does not go all the way to the left, the rails on the carriage catch on the main casing.
    i understand that there are some adjusters to the rear of the rails but these appear to adjust up and forward.
    nothing appears bent or dropped on first inspection.

    Any ideas???????

    Andre Barnes

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. So...I kind of didn't know the Hermes had a special hub/index assembly attached to the platen until I committed the cardinal sin of pulling it out. Now, I cannot seem to get it back into working shape. What all do I need to do to put the left platen knob/pins back into place so the carriage lever works/advances?

    Any assistance/photos would be incredibly helpful! I so wish I would have found this post prior to actually doing the work, as my wife wasn't too happy when I told her I may or may not have temporarily broken her "new" machine. :P

    1. Hey I accidentally did the same while trying to repair the line spacing lever. Have you found a way to replace the hub assembly since you asked here?

  22. hello, thank you so much for this amazing post, it would be very helpful if you could shows us how exactly the hub assembly for the index should be, I took it out and unable to know how it is supposed to be . anyone have any idea please. thank you

  23. this site looks like not updated often... sorry my english is poor..

  24. Hi Tom, from where may I secure a refurbished platen.

    1. JJ Short can replace the rubber on any platen. Or you can go with the new Turbo platen.