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WELCOME TO THE TYPEWRITER MUSEUM. All of the typewriters on this page are owned by me, but are only on public display virtually through this Web site. The typewriter collection contains over 125 typewrites from 23 manufacturers spanning the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, from at least ten countries (United States, Japan, China, East Germany, West Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, England and the Nethelands). The museum contains at least one typewriter from each decade since the 1880s. Several of the typewriters and Mr. Martin were on the History Channel television show Modern Marvels episode called "Retro Tech" which originally aired on December 19, 2008. Typewriters were quite expensive when new, sometimes exceeding the equivalent cost of a laptop computer today. They are also very finely crafted and cool machines. While many are quite old, a lot of typewriters were sold and they were made to last. Therefore, old typewriters are still quite plentiful and hence most of them not very expensive. Most of my typewriters were acquired for under $20 each. I obtain most of them at local garage or estate sales and a couple from thrift stores or eBay. Some of the earlier and more unusual typewriters are valuable, however. Looking on eBay and reading books also reveals that some rare typewriters can sell for thousands of dollars.
Read on if you wish to read about my experience with computers making typewriters largely obsolete or go directly to viewing the specific typewriters. The typewriters are arranged alphbetically by brand. Within a brand, they are arranged by date. Scroll to browse or click on a specific brand..
Typewriters are one of the longest lasting technologies in modern time. The basic front stroke typebar typewriter with the QWERTY keyboard was in place by the 1890s. (See A Brief History of Typewriters.) A typebar is the slender bar with the letter on the end. Front stroke meant you could see what was being typed as you typed. QWERTY are the first 6 leters on a standard keyboard. The key pattern was designed for relative speed, but also to prevent keys from jamming. Bars with frequently used letter pairs are widely separated to prevent jams. This design continued by all major manufacturers until 1961 when the IBM Selectric introduced a typewriter with a rotating typing element that looked like a golf ball with all of the letters and symbols on it. It was somewhat similar to designs in the 1800s which had a single typing element. Some other manufacturers began to use similar elements. Finally, typewriters began to use daisy wheel elements which were a flat wheel with the letters radiating out from the center like the petals on a flower. Typebar typewriters were still made up until at least the 1980s for electric typewriters, however, and are still made today for manual typewriters. A manual typewriter made today works in basically the same way as a manual typewriter did over 100 years ago! People also still use typewriters today especially to fill in pre-printed forms or to type a quick envelope or label. Finally, the QWERTY keyboard is used even on computers today - not because it is the most efficient pattern, but because it is the pattern everyone knows. Indeed, a secretary from 1900 magically appearing today could easily type on a computer today.
Despite their long history and use today, as well as being really cool machines, typewriters are largely obsolete today. The last time I used a typewriter to actually do something other than test an old machine was probably 20 years ago and then probably just to address an envelope. Looking at garage sales, my guess is many, if not most, households no longer own a typewriter. The reason, of course, is that the functions of a typewriter have been largely superceded by computers and printers. Word processing was one of the first big uses for the personal computer and remains so today. The reason is clear. You can change, move and delete things as much as you like. Not so with a typewriter!
People in their 20s, or even 30s, and younger today may not realize how significant the switch from typewriters to computer was. I remember in high school, college and law school, slowly typing papers - or more frequently, I remember my wonderful sister typing papers for me! An error meant using "White Out" or starting over. The IBM Correcting Selectric which lifted the error off the page was wonderful but much too expensive to buy. I remember using one at my dad's office and one while dog sitting. I remember my sister typing a paper for me that needed to be 5 pages. It was too short and she had to type the whole thing over using wider margins, as I recall starting at midnight. I took a typing class in summer school after ninth grade. It was my only C grade in high school. There was also only one other boy in the class. It was the early 1970s and most people who needed to type fast for a living were secretaries and most secretaries were women. I remember we had Olympia manual typewriters. See Inkygirl.com for the repsonses of other people to the question, "Did you ever use a manual typewriter?" See also "You love these machines. These machines are dead: a love story.", The Classic Typewriter Page Presents Typewriter Tributes, @mizzou - "What's High Tech?".
I never drafted documents directly on a typewriter. Rather, I would write them out in long hand and sometimes do a second or third draft. Only then did typing begin. When I was a law clerk and young lawyer, the shift was being made from typewriters to computers. I remember as a law clerk in Eugene, Oregon, the office had one new expensive dedicated word processing computer. It could only be used for long documents. Most typing was still on typewriters. One IBM Selectric typewriter had a "mag card" machine which stored the keystrokes in memory and could be used to reprint or revise a document, but without any screen. Secretaries did all of the typing, whether on a typewriter or word processor. Attorneys and law clerks usually dictated the documents using either a hand-held or desktop recorder which the secretaries would then listen to and type out. You wanted to avoid the need for revisions if the secretary used a typewriter! Even when personal computers became commonplace in law offices, usually only the secretaries would type documents. I used a dictating machine through much of my legal career. Dictating is a skill in itself and difficult at first for a young law clerk. With time, however, it becomes much easier to "write by talking." Indeed, I think dictation helped me to think and talk on my feet and become a much better oral communicator.
While in an LL.M. program in Energy Law I wrote a 265 page thesis. The initial draft was hand written which I then paid someone to type for me. For the final draft I rented a Kaypro 4 computer. My wife helped me type it. I inserted the end notes. The word processing program, Perfect Writer, came with the computer. It allowed a split screen with the main document on the top and the endnotes on the bottom - sort of an early version of "windows" on a computer. This allowed me to easily draft the extensive endnotes. It was that Kaypro in 1984 that made me truly appreciate computers. Typing the thesis on a typewriter error free would have taken forever!
It was several years later before computers were on the desks of both secretaries and attorneys at most law offices. At that time I began to draft documents directly on the computer. That is the true significance of the switch from typewriters to computers. Now one could write and revise at the same time. There is no longer necessarily a first draft, second draft, etc. Rather, one can continuously revise. The end result can be a much better document if one takes the time to carefully review and polish. To write in this way one also needs to know the basics of touch typing. Once you know the basics, speed comes with time. The goal is to be able to think about your writing. The typing becomes automatic.
While computers are a powerful tool for writers, that tool can also lead to poor, sloppy, careless writing. I see this sometimes in students' writing. While teachers have always stressed, "don't copy and use your own words," computers make it easy to copy. For example, a common way for students to do a research paper is to copy and paste from the Internet (often without reading) and then just change words. There is little understanding and little original thought or synthesis. Computers can also encourage sloppy, careless writing. This is often observed in e-mail where one jots down ideas often without reflection. We become impatient using short hand words instead of standard English. For example, when I became a teacher I was surprised to learn that many students think "cause" is a substitute for "because."
One of the goals of the Typewriter Museum is for visitors to appreciate the significance of the switch from typewriters to computers. Computers are a powerful writing tool leading to clear and concise writing when used with care, precision and reflection. As an educator, I believe it is important that we explicitly teach students how to effectively write using a computer.
|Adler Universal (Large image) (1956) Large, heavy duty, manual office typewriter with a wide carriage. Date from The Typewriter Database. Made in West Germany. A precision machine with very smooth key action. While there were electric office typewriters at the time, this demonstrates that less expensive manual office typewriters were also still in use. In 1956 all portable typewriters were manual with Smith Corona introducing the portable 5TE electric typewriter the following year. Smith Corona's ad campaign emphasized that you could get a portable electric for a small office for less money than a standard manual desk typewriter. Purchased on 7-31-08 as one of 23 typewriters and mechanical calculators for a total of $200 in Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA). It is in very good operating and cosmetic condition except it needs a new ribbon and there is some corrosion on the bottom, front of the frame.|
|Adler Universal 200. Large, heavy duty, manual typewriter made in Germany. Purchased around March 2008 near Home Avenue at a San Diego garage sale from an elderly widow for $7. The woman's husband had been a San Diego police officer. She indicated that this typewriter had been used by the police to type reports. Her husband received it when he retired. My guess is that the typewriter when new was from around the 1960s. It is in good working and cosmetic condition although it is quite dirty. An Adler typewriter, although not this model, was used in the movie "The Shining." A photo is at http://jonnys53.blogspot.com/ (perhaps a third of the way down the very long Web page) as well as Photo Bucket. In the movie, Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nickelson, is susposedly writing a novel. However, he only types page after of: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."|
|Adler J5 Portable (Large image) (1973) West German portable typewriter made by "T-A Organisation." Hancocklawfirm.net - Vintage Typewriters states: "Navy blue and sleek as a fighter plane, this Adler J-5 is smooth typing all the way." The plastic cover of this 1970s typewriter turn some people off, however. Magic Margin - The Classroom Typewriter Project Blog describes it as a "little junky" but then admits that he might have been a little hard on it. (That site is from a teacher in Phoenix who brings typewriters into the classroom to encourage students to write.) Machines of Loving Grace finds "it types much better than it looks." I think it types and looks great! One like mine sold on etsy.com on August 22, 2010 apparently for $98. It had previously been offered at $135. An Alder J2 on eBay listed in October 2010 for $9.99 plus $26 shipping has not sold in over two weeks, however. An ad in the May 7, 1973 New Yorker Magazine at page 93 at Google Books states: "Rated #1 manual portable by a consumer panel of expert typists, the Adler J5 will be your first choice, too. Ruggedly built for the most demanding requirements, it has virtually all the type-easy features you're looking for, plus feather touch, lively action and consistent speed. Wide choice of handsome type styles. Carrying case included." It is called the Adler J-5 Precision Portable. Davis Typewriter Works discusses repair of an Adler J5 ribbon vibrator including partial disassembly of the machine. I acquired mine (serial no. 15101083) for free in the San Carlos area of San Diego on October 16, 2010 from an October 14, 2010 ad on Craigslist San Diego. It is in excellent cosmetic and working condition and comes with the molded plastic case, owner's manual and the original receipt. It was originally purchased on July 3, 1973 at Lund Office Equipment in Santa Barbara, California for $130 with $7.80 sales tax. $130 in 1973 has the same buying power as $640 today. Incidentally, the California sales tax rate has increased from 6% in 1973 to 8.75% in 2010 and even more in some cities with La Mesa at 9.5% and El Cajon at 9.75%. To compare, the Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4036 LED TruBrite 14-Inch Laptop I am writing this on cost $470 on August 30, 2010. You can get a nice ink jet printer for under $50 today or a laser printer for under $100.|
A partially torn label inside the case identifies Geo. C. Bornemann & [Co.] as the Pacific Coast General Agent for Blickensderfer with a picture of a Blickensderfer No. 5 on the left side with the price of $40. My guess is that a picture of the Blickensderfer No. 7 with the its price of $50 was on the right side. An address of 117 Sutter St., San Francisco is given. Page 25 of the February 1903 "Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company" directory for San Francisco has a listing for "James 141. Bornemann, Geo. C. & Co., Agts. Blickensderfer Typewriter, 117 Sutter." (http://www.sfgenealogy.com/sf/1903t/t3t025.htm.) There is also an 1898 listing at a different San Francisco address: "Clay 996. Bornemann, Geo. C. & Co., Pac. Coast Gen'l Agts. Blickersderfer Typewriter, 19 Monty." (http://www.sfgenealogy.com/sf/1898t/t98t012.htm.) The referenced San Francisco History and Genealogy site also has a long ad by Geo. C. Bornemann & Co. in the May 1906 New San Francisco Magazine listing a third address. The ad states:
THE NEW FOX VISIBLE
THE FOX STANDARD, Non-Visible
Office, Supplies, Typewriter Paper, Carbons, Etc.
THE BLICKENSDERFER TYPEWRITER, by its record for the past ten years on this Coast, with sales of over 6,000 machines, places it as the standard low-priced, affordable machine; fully guaranteed in all respects
THE FOX stands as the light-running Standard type-bar machine (Non-Visible).
THE NEW FOX VISIBLE embodies all the good points of the regular FOX such as durability, finish, convenience of operating, two color ribbon, speed escapement, ratchet head release, aluminum key lever, positive key lock, oscillating automatic reversing ribbon movement, etc., etc.GEO. C. BORNEMANN CO.
1009 Washington Street : : Oakland, Cal.
Telephone Oakland 4146
1652 O'Farrell Street : San Francisco, Cal.
The ad was the month after the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906. See generally U.S. Geological Survey - The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Geo. C. Bornemann & Co. moved from the Sutter Street address by May 1906, perhaps being displaced by the earthquake and fire. Indeed, in the May 1906 New San Francisco Magazine ad page many of the businesses refer to temporary addresses and there are at least two ads selling photographs of the city in ruins after the earthquake and fire. At the garage sale where I purchased the typewriter was a panoramic photograph of San Francisco after the earthquake and fire, perhaps indicating that the photo, typewriter and other items at the garage sale were from San Francisco during that period. The sellers appeared to be collectors of vintage Asian art and books. Then again, perhaps I am just watching The History Detectives too often after The Antique Roadshow on PBS on Monday nights! What is clear is that my Blickensderfer No. 7 is a wonderful piece of history and a great complement to my Blickensderfer No. 5.
|Montgomery Ward Signature 510d (1960) (Large Image) Model no. EBK 8136A S510D Pica, 07 Ser.no. C00557290. Typewriter and case made in Nagoya, Japan. The location and styling all point to this being a Brother typewriter. Date is from statement at The Typewriter Database that "Brother serials indicate month and year: A=January; B=February; 4=1964; 5=1965 etc." Mine would hence have been made in March 1960 if that is accurate. Another 510d sold on eBay on 5-23-09 for $43.99 plus about $50 shipping. It had apparently not been refurbished but was in good condition and came with a new ribbon and a 90 day warranty. That typewriter was serial no. C1271988 and identified as being from 1961. The model 510 is listed as a "best portable to use" at the Will Davis Portable Typewriter Reference Site - Best Typers. It is larger than most Brother machines and has solid metal construction. The Will Davis site dates it to the 1960s. The particular model, while a nice machine, did not sell very well. Will Davis Site - Brother discusses other Brother typewriters. (See generally Will Davis Index Page.) I don't know the difference between the 510 and 510d. My 510d has one key with an interchangeable typeface. It has a + = typeface now. Push button type selector. Basket shift. Has carriage lock lever on right side. Purchased at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 5-30-09 for $5. In very good cosmetic and working condition although it needs a new ribbon. No keys stick. Comes with lockable hard plastic case and two keys. Case has one cracked area with a hole, but still serves its purpose.|
|Brother Accord 10 (Circa 1966-1968) (Large Image, Case) Serial No. G81552668. 1966 date is from an eBay listing for a Brother Accord referred to on several Web sites. The actual eBay listing is no longer available. The Typewriter Database states that "Brother serials indicate month and year: A=January; B=February; 4=1964; 5=1965 etc." Accepting it is from the 1960s, the G8 serial number would make the manufacture date in July 1968. I could not find much more information on the Accord. Much of the construction is plastic. It has a plastic cover that serves as the top of the case. The enclosed bottom of the typewriter serves as the other side of the case. It is in good working and cosmetic condition. Made in Nagoya, Japan. Purchased at a garage/estate sale in the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon, CA on 3-13-10 for $8. The sellers were an elderly couple who were down-sizing. I also purchased a 1955 Smith Corona Silent-Super with original manual at the same sale also for $8.|
|Brother Opus 885 (Large Image) Date uncertain. Some of the manuals and literature which came with the typewriter may have a date code as late as the early 1990s. That seems contrary the discussion at Brother Portable Typewriters which indicates that manual Brother typewriters were produced from 1961 until 1986, however. A similar machine from the 1970s was being sold by Jack Berg Sales recently for $79.95. According to Answers.com, Brother produced its first portable typewriter in 1961. The label on the back says "brother NAGOYA,JAPAN D9387228. Brother Portable Typewriters states the first digit in the serial number is the date code, but it does not tell you what decade it was produced in. Mine has nearly all metal construction. That leads me to think it is probably from the 1970s or before. If anyone has any better information on the date for my typewriter, please let me know. It also has a "Commended by Parents Magazine" sticker on it. It is in near new cosmetic condition with only a few minor scratches on the bottom. All of the keys work. The ribbon also still has some life in it. It was not advancing at first. Once I worked the keys a bit, however, it started to advance properly. It comes with a nice blue zippered case which had two of those wheel erasers with the brush on the end - very necessary in the days prior to personal computers! Purchased at an estate sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego on 12-30-07 for $2.50. Earlier I had bought a 1903 Smith Premier No. 2 and a 1951 Underwood Champion. As I was leaving, the seller indicated he had earlier thrown two other typewriters into the dumpster. He fished this one and a Royal Royalite out for me. Since they were in their cases, they survived the trip to the dumpster well and now have a second life at Mr. Martin's Typewriter Museum!|
|Brother Correct-O-Ball XL-I (aka Model 7300 and sometimes referred to as XL-1) (large image) a portable electric ball element typewriter with lift off correcting. Unlike the IBM Slectric, the ball in the Brother is stationary and the carriage moves. The design is similar to that in the Olivetti Lexikon 83 D.L. below. The ball is similar to those in the Selectric, but the Selectric and Brother elements are not interchangeable. Made in Japan by Brother Industries, Ltd. Serial No. H11305441. 1.2A, 60 Watts. The name plate on the front describes it as a Brother Correct-O-Ball XL-I. The label on the back, however, calls it a Model 7300. There were apparently four models which took the same ribbons - 7200, 7300, 7800 and 7900. Sears marketed a similar model with the name "Correct-O-Sphere." The seller of Correct-O-Sphere 2 (Model number 268.53820) on eBay stated it was purchased new in 1982 or 1983. There is some discussion at a Yahoo Group, but I could not find any information when the Brother ball element typewriters were made. Please e-mail me if you have information. I'm guessing it was sold around the late 1970s. The history of Brother is described at Funding Universe and Brother History. Brother is noted for their sewing machines. They started with portable typewriters in 1961 and made the first high speed dot matrix printer in 1971. In 1980 they produced an electronic office typewriter. As can be seen below they produced small electronic typewriters and also typewriter-word processors with a separate monitor. In the 1990s they also produced inexpensive laptop computers with their own operating system and built in software. I have one of those which I will be adding to the museum in the future. I acquired my Correct-O-Ball XL-I at a Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA) garage sale on 3-11-07 for free. It comes with a cover that snaps onto the top and has a space for the cord. It is in good working condition although it needs a new ribbon and correction tape. Also, the space bar is slow to space, but seems to be picking speed up with use. The correction feature hasn't worked for me, but I may not be using it right or the correction tape may just be at the end. Finally, the bar that holds the paper to the platen does not come all the way down.|
|Brother Cassette Correction L10 Plus 3 Correction Typewriter (circa 1981) (large image) a portable electric traditional typebar typewriter with cassette correction tape and ribbons for easy correcting. Date is from an August 20, 1981 ad by The Crescent Store in the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper. "Features cassette correction ribbon, 13" carriage, variable line spacing, full tabulation and smooth quiet operation." Regular price was $275. The sale price was $249.99 which has the same buying power as $590.01 in 2009. In 2010 you can get a nice laptop and printer for $590. Price for the Brother L10 on February 13, 2010 at a La Mesa, CA garage sale was $5. In nice working and cosmetic condition. A shout out to Dave, the seller, for this nice typewriter. Thanks, Dave.|
|Brother Cassette Correct-O-Riter I, Model 4712 (circa 1982-1984) (large image) a portable electric traditional typebar typewriter with cassette ribbon and correction tape easy lift off correcting. Date range is an approximation from newspaper ads for similar models. An April 22, 1984 ad for a similar Model 3810 Brother Correct-O-Riter is advertised in the Reading Eagle newspaper. That model was selling for $188.88 with a "value of 269.95" which I assume may be the suggested retail price. $188.88 in 1984 has the same buying power as $394 in 2010. While the 3810 appears to be similar to the Model 4712, I'm not sure how they varied or if they were sold at the same time. These were definitely not the most expensive Brother typewriters at the time since the same as as a Brother Compactronic 60 Electronic Daisywheel typewriter for $399.99 or about $834 in 2010 dollars. A Brother Cassette Correct-O-Riter Model V was advertised in the Spokane Spokesman Review for $229.99, regularly $275. I purchased mine at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on April 3, 2010 for $5. It is in good cosmetic condition except the blue plastic has turned to more of a teal where light has hit it. It is missing the cassette ribbon and unfortunately is not working correctly. The motor runs, but the keys do not strike. I should have tried it out at the garage sale.|
|Brother EP 43 (1984) a small portable typewriter from 1984 according to Brother. I believe it uses technology similar to the 1982 EP-20 which Brother describes as "the world's first and smallest battery-powered electronic personal printer . . . which incorporated a thermal transfer printing mechanism." The ribbon is in a small cassette. There is a small window where 15 characters are visible as you type. The actual printing is several characters behind so that you can correct a mistake before it is printed. Operates on four C batteries or AC power (adapter not included). Mine was purchased for $5 at a garage sale in December 2005. It works although I can't test the print because it needs a new ribbon cartridge. The paper advance knob is missing, but the paper can be advanced with the return key or up paper key. I purchased another for $3 at a La Mesa, CA yard sale on 7-5-08 for $3 with manual and AC adapter. It appears to work fine although I need to see how to adjust the right margin. This one is missing the manual platen knob also. Manual states 24x18 dot matrix printing. The printing quality is actually fairly nice. With the ribbon cassette in you use smooth plain paper such as copy paper. You can also remove the ribbon cassette and use thermal paper. It uses Brother Model 6030 cassette ribbons which last for about 32 double-spaced pages. The cost on the accessory order form for a three cassette pack was $12.95. Besides the 15 character display, it does not store data. It also has a simple calculator. It has a nice full size keyboard, yet is quite light and small. A similar Brother EP 44 was advertised in the Milwaukee Jornal newspaper on February 4, 1985 with a sales price of $269.95, regularly $299.95. $269.95 in 2010 dollars equals about $544.|
|Brother WP-3400 Word Processor, (May 1992) According to Brother, introduced May 1992. The monitor has a date of July 1991. It is both a daisywheel typewriter and a dedicated word processing computer and printer. The amber monochrome monitor is approximately 12 inches diagonally measured displaying text approximately 80 columns and 20 lines. The text on the monitor is very clear. The print is also very sharp. To store documents, there is a 3.5" diskette drive that uses standard 3.5" diskettes. I successfully stored sample documents using a 1.4mb double sided double density diskette after the WP-3400 reformatted it to what I guess is a proprietary format. The drive may use only use one side and a single density format since the capacity appeared to be greatly reduced after formatting. The diskette was also no longer readable by a Windows XP based computer. The typewriter was made in the USA by Brother Industries (USA), Inc. of foreign and domestic parts. The monitor was made in Korea by Brother in Japan. The monitor plugs into a nine pin serial port on the side of the typewriter. The monitor cord actually has five pins. I don't know if that serial port can be used for other purposes such as using the typewriter as a computer printer. The WP-3400 is in excellent working and cosmetic condition. While it is quite useable for casual word processing, I have not been able to get it to copy and paste and therefore do not know if this function is available. Unfortunately, I do not have a manual. My WP-3400 was purchased on 11-18-06 for $5 at a garage sale in the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon, CA.|
|Brother AX 28 (Circa 1987) Purchased at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 3-14-09 for $5. In good cosmetic and working condition. Date is estimated at 1987 since the included User's Guide has a sample letter dated 1987. I do not find a copyright date on the User's Guide. Types at up to 12 characters per second. Adjustible pitches of 10, 12, and 15. 12 inch carridge. 2 line, 80 column width LCD display. 16 kilobytes memory, expandable to another 16 kilobytes by adding a "RAM Card MC-1." Stores files. Has built in "Word Spell" spell check.|
I believe mine is Model 2 and from probably the 1880s. Mine is serial no. 14603 which seems relatively low. The Models 2, 3 and 4 were apparently similar. According to Early Typewriter Collectors, the Model 3 and 4 had 78 keys, however, while the Model 2 had only 72 keys (6 rows of 12 keys) like mine. There apparently are not records equating the serial numbers of Caligraphs with manufacturing dates. The earliest Model 2 Caligraphs had polygonal prism platens instead of cylindrical platens. In other words, the platen had many flat faces instead of a single round face. At the time they had not yet made the typeface surface slightly curved so that the entire typeface surface would strike a round platen with equal pressure. They achieved the same result at first, however, by making the platen composed of many flat faces. Mine has a cylindrical platen. Mine is clearly not a Model 1 since the Model No. 1 had only capitals and a total of 48 keys. The Models 2, 3 and 4 had upper and lower case on separate keys. The Model 1 was first produced in 1980, just a year or two before the model 2. The Models 2, 3 and 4 all sold much better than the No. 1. There were therefore many fewer No. 1 Caligraph typewriters sold and the Model 1 today is considered rare. (See All About Antique Typewriters.) This is reflected in the price. For example, in the same week I purchased my Caligraph, two "barn find" Caligraphs were sold. The No. 2 sold for $78.77 while the No. 1 sold for $2,656.80! The last Caligraph according to Antique Typewriters - The Martin Howard Collection is the New Century Caligraph 6 from 1899. Mine looks similar to the No. 2 Caligraphs at The Virtual Typewriter Museum and typewriter.be with a similar label on front, although my label is much more worn.
The Caligraph was developed by George Washington Newton Yost, a pioneer in early typewriters who promoted the original Remington, then started New American Writing Machine Co. making the Caligraph and later developed Yost typewriters with improved alignment. (Antique Typewriters - The Martin Howard Collection.) The Caligraph is relatively light for its size. It shares the cylindrical arrangement of typebars of other early typewriters like the Remington and the Smith Premier. Unique to the Caligraph is the very long front where your hands rest. It reminds me of modern laptop computers with a large area to rest your hands below the keyboard. Under this area are very long typebar levers which can be seen in this bottom view. The long levers allow for a light touch. Like other early typewriters the Caligraph is also an "upstrike" typewriter instead of a front strike typewriter. It is "blind" in that you cannot see what you type as you type it. You can easily lift up the platen to reveal the underside and what has been typed, however. The Caligraph does not have a QWERTY keyboard arrangement. Also, the lower case keys, colored white, are generally arranged in the center with the black, upper case keys on the left and right sides. This differs from the full keyboard of the Smith Premier which has lower case letters on the bottom and upper case letters on the top.
I purchased my Caligraph on June 8, 2009 on eBay for $202.51 with $66.30 shipping. That's the most I've ever spent on a typewriter, but it is also my oldest. Also, while not rare, it is historically interesting. It is in good condition. There is some surface rust. The label is heavily worn. Most keys strike fine. The carriage does not seem to move.
|Canon Typestar 220, (circa 1994) www-tech.mit.edu.archives indicates it was sold in 1994 and weighs less than 4.5 lbs. You type one line of text and then it prints so you can correct mistakes. It prints on regular paper with apparently thermal technology rendering, in my opinion, remakably clear letter quality text. It runs on four 1.5 volt D batteries or an AC adapter which I do not have. It has typical electronic typewriter features such as word, line and character delete, underlining and centering. Mine was purchased at a garage sale on March 25, 2006 for $2. It is in good cosmetic and working condition. It yielded some excellent print but then had blank areas. I think the print cartridge is just dried out. It came with another cartridge in a sealed pack which I have not opened. There was a leaking battery in the battery compartment with remaining corrosion on the + terminal, but it the typewriter still works with four D cells. Canon, of course, is noted for their cameras, but also has made a variety of electronics including calculators, computers and copiers. The only company that I can think of that some day could be in each of my museums, however, is Panasonic which besides electronics and cameras, also made bicycles.|
|Corona 3, (large image) manufactured from 1912 to 1941. I believe mine is serial no. 51636 which would give it a manufacturing date of 1915 according to the S.L. Johnson Typewriter Page. The serial no. is on the inside of back panel on the bottom. Unfortunately, the brackets that hold the typewriter in the case scratched this area making it difficult to read the serial no. It only appears to be five digits, however, and upon close examination with a dissecting microscope as well as inspecting a digital image, the serial no. appears to be correct. The seller thought it dated to the 1940s which is when his father acquired it. The seller's father was an agricultural inspector for the State of California and used it in his work. There is also some correspondence in the case from the 1940s and 1950s. It is a very small portable typewriter. The case measures only 29cm x 25cm x 11.5cm. (See typewriter in case.) The carriage actually folds over so that it can be stored compactly. It was one of the most widely sold typewriters ever with over 600,000 sold over 30 years according to The Virtual Typewriter Museum. Therefore, while very cool and a must have collectible typewriter, it is not particularly rare or valuable. There were many design changes over the years. Mine has only three rows of keys and the shift lever on the left side confirming that it is an early version. There is detailed information at several sites: The Virtual Typewriter Museum, S.L. Johnson Typewriter Page, typewritercollector.com, All About Antique Typewriters, Chestnut Ridge Typewriter Museum, and The Portable Typewriter Reference Site. Mine was purchased for $50 on 12-30-06 at a La Mesa, CA garage sale. The seller and his wife were moving to travel and eventually reside in Central America. The typewriter is in excellent cosmetic and working condition. It has paper rolled around the platen which I have left in place.|
|Gourland (Large Image, Side View) (early 1920s) Will Davis' Antique Typewriters states: "you won't see this one often." He continues: "The machine was perhaps ahead of its time; equivalent four-bank portables had yet to generally appear. Even so, the machine was not a success and few remain today -- meaning probably that few were made." Will Davis' Antique Typewriters. The Classic Typewriter Page has one with serial number 1533 with a date of 1922. My serial number is a few hundred after that and therefore probably produced around the same time. The low serial numbers are another indication that comparatively few were made. Other sites also place the Gourland typewriter in the early 1920s. Early Typewriter Collectors, Antique Typewriter Collector's Timeline. The spacebar is made of wood. Purchased on 7-31-08 as one of 23 typewriters and mechanical calculators for a total of $200 in Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA). Mine is in fairly good cosmetic and working condition. The glass keys are yellowed. The paint and lettering are generally good. It works but many keys and the carriage are sluggish. It could use a good professional CLA (cleaning, lubrication and adjustment) which might be worth it given the rarity of the machine.|
|Hammond No. 12 (Large Image, With Base Removed, Bottom, Back, Case). According to The Classic Typewriter Page, the Hammond 12 was introduced in 1905 replacing the Hammond 2 which was introduced in 1893 or 1895. My Hammond No. 12 is serial no. 113413 stamped on the top left side and on one of the feet. Since The Typewriter Database does not have specific information on dates for given serial numbers for Hammond typewriters, I have not been able to pin down the date of manufacturer of my particular typewriter. It was likely made sometime between 1905, the date of introduction, and 1915, when the Multiplex model above was introduced. (See also George's Web Site.) Mine has a straight keyboard but there were also Model No. 12 variations with a curved keyboard. According to The Virtual Typewriter Museum, the Model 12 was the first Hammond "visible" typewriter allowing you to see what you were typing. It did this by lowering the ribbon when a key was released. Like the Multiplex above, this Hammond uses a single element design with a revolving type shuttle. The Hammond 12 could fit only one curved plate with the letters, while the Multiplex could fit two curved plates allowing for faster changes to other fonts. As indicated in The Classic Typewriter Page, Hammond typewriters continued as the Varityper into the 1970s. My Hammond 12 was a generous donation from a gentleman in Michigan in February 2014. While the typewriter was dirty (photo before cleaning), mechanically it seems to be generally sound although I do not have it working 100%. I cleaned and lubricated it. There is some minor rust. It came with most of the curved case. The front part of the case is missing. The sides and back are present, but broken. I partially glued them back together. The top part of the curved case is intact, although it has a large ink stain on it. There is a lighter stain on top of the ink stain. I don't know what the lighter stain is. The base is missing a piece on the side. The front part of the base was also broken, perhaps in transit to me. I glued this piece back in place. I have the cover loosely covering the machine to keep dust off of it. I think Hammond typewriters are one of the most handsome typewriters ever made with a wonderful combination of oak and metal, making this a wonderful addition to the Typewriter Museum!|
|Hermes Rocket, (Large Image). With its serial number of 5275964 (under carriage on right side), The Typewriter Database indicates it is from 1952. The original small Hermes portable, the Baby, came out in 1935. According to Mytypewriter.com, this original design continued largely unchanged until the 1954 Hermes Baby/Rocket came out with a larger platen and an improved mechanism, but maintaining the characteristic low profile design. (See another photo of the 1954 model at etsy.com.) My Hermes Rocket looks the same as the Hermes Baby of the 1940s listed at Mytypewriter.com. The Baby/Rocket names therefore appear to have been used somewhat interchangeably. According to the Will Davis site now at MachinesOfLovingGrace.com, there was also similar "Baby Featherlight" and "Featherlight" models. According to Will Davis, it also spawned many imitations. Nova - on a Hermes Baby has 9 minutes and 23 seconds of someone typing on a Hermes Baby that looks just like my 1952 Rocket.|
The back of the typewriter states: "Hermes. Made in Switzerland by Paillard S.A., Yverdon. Distributed in the U.S.A. by Paillard Products Inc. 265 Madison Ave. New York 16, N.Y." The steel bottom of the typewriter is covered and serves as part of the case. The body of the typewriter is also steel (a magnet sticks to it). The cover that forms the top of the case is very lightweight and apparently Aluminum (a magnet does not stick to it). The case and typewriter have a crinkled grey paint. The base of the typewriter is approximately a square of 11.25 inches x 11.25 inches. The machine is about 2.5 inches high. It has a mass of about 3700 grams (a weight of about 8.25 lbs.). You can view it as a 1950s laptop. My medium sized laptop computer today is only slightly smaller at 13.3 inches x 9.1 inches x 1.5 inches and weighing in at 5.1 pounds. The Rocket has an advantage in that it has a built in printer. My laptop has an advantage in that besides being a great word processor, it is also a general purpose computer with thousands of times more power than the only commercial computer available in 1952, the 29,000 pound Univac! (See Univac I, Wikipedia.
My Hermes Rocket was delivered to me on January 21, 2011. It was a very generous donation from a couple in Nixa, Missouri. Thank you! The wife is a fellow collector with a variety of toys in a display at the Toy Museum in Branson, Missouri. The husband used the typewriter while in college in the 1960s. The typewriter is in very good condition. It types very well. It makes an excellent addition to my Typewriter Museum.
|Hermes 3000, (Large Image) (circa 1965) date using serial number and The Typewriter Database. According to mytypewriter.com it was first introduced in 1958. That site indicates it has many sophisticated features for a portable and is viewed by many as one of the finest portable typewriters in the world. A style change was made in the late 1960s. Mine is the original 1958 design. It is made in Switzerland. It was owned and used by Rolland Williams, a professional outdoor sports writer for the San Diego Union Tribune for many years. It was purchased for $12.50 on April 5, 2008 at an estate sale in La Mesa, CA near the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon, CA. It still had the carbon copy of a letter to friends written by Williams in 1996. He discusses the design of a new downtown San Diego library which as of 2008 is still on the drawing table, as well as the Dole - Clinton election. The house was filled with hundreds of books on fishing and the outdoors. Earlier in the day they apparently sold 14 cameras! Darn, you can't always find the good sales in time! A Hermes 3000 was used by writer Larry McMurty who wrote Lonesome Dove as well as co-authored the screen play for the movie Brokeback Mountain for which he won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe award in 2006. In his acceptance speech for the the Golden Globe Award he paid tribute to his Hermes 3000. (See Wikipedia - Larry McMurtry, www.annebarone.com.) My typewriter is in great cosmetic and working condition and is an excellent example of a fine, precision, Swiss made machine. The cover, with two brushes and the manual attached inside, was included.|
First, a brief history of the electric typewriter. Edison developed an electric stock ticker in 1870. In 1902 the Blickensderfer Electric typewriter was introduced. Like the Blickensderfer manual typewriters, it had single element. The next single element electric typewriter would be the IBM Selectric in 1961! The Blickensderfer Electric was ahead of its time. Few were sold and only three are known to exist today. (See The Virtual Typewriter Museum.)
Remington, based on the Sholes & Glidden design, manufactured the first successful manual typewriter with the original model being sold from 1874 to 1878. You can see a successor of that typewriter, the Model 10, in the Remington section of the museum. Remington also manufactured in 1925 the first electric typewriter sold in any significant numbers. It was basically a Remington Model 12, similar to my Model 10, with an electric motor attached. The motors were supplied by North East Electric. The entire initial run of 2500 was sold. However, as explained at Remington and the Electromatic, due to internal circumstances at Remington, Remington abandoned this electric typewriter. North East Electric developed and produced a similar machine on its own by 1929 forming the Electromatic Typewriter Company.
After passing through the hands of General Motors, International Business Machines, acquired the Electromatic Typewriter Company in 1933. IBM dates back to the turn of the century making "tabulating machines," became the mainframe computer giant of the 1950s through 1970s, set the standard for the personal computer in 1981 with its IBM PC using the disk operating system developed by Microsoft, and continues today as a leader in information processing. IBM also remained the predominant force in business class electric typewriters through the 1980s. It was also an early force in electronic word processing with its Display Writer System.
The original IBM Electromatic model was designated the 01. The basic design appeared to remain the same into the 1940s. In 1944 the 04 Executive Model with proportional spacing was introduced. In most typewriters all of the type faces are the same width. With proportional spacing the type for a letter like "i" is less wide than a letter like "w" giving the text a look closer to that from printed copy like in a book. The IBM Archives Typewriter Milestones gives an indication of the different models. My typewriter has serial number 0112 56365. According to The Typewriter Database serial numbers 47300 to 61599 were produced in 1941. Apparently you ignore the first four numbers. The information tag on mine does not have a model number imprinted on it. I think mine is still a model 01, however. It looks identical to the Model 01 at the IBM Archives. IBM has a list of typewriter prices. A 1946 standard black model was $250. That equals $2,767.10 in 2009 dollars. A black executive model in 1940 cost $450 which equals $6,937.52 in 2009 models. Electric typewriters were expensive! We tend to think that all businesses used electric typewriters. Heavy duty manual typewriters, for example the Olympia SG-1 below, however, were common in offices until at least the early 1960s. They avoided the added expense and maintenance of an electric typewriter. Due the expense of electric typewriters, the first portable electric typewriter, the Smith Corona Smith Corona Portable Electric 5TE, was not introduced until 1957.
My Electromatic was purchased for $50 from an ad on Craigslist on 9-13-09 in the Mount Helix area of La Mesa, CA. The seller was the son of the original owner. The original owner was a lawyer in Groton, South Dakota. The son indicated his father got the Electromatic because it had a variable impression scale that allowed up to 25 carbon copies. In an era before copy machines (the original Xerox machine did not come out until 1950) the ability to make several carbon copies was important. Indeed, as a lawyer myself in the 1980s and 1990s, it is hard for me to imagine how law offices functioned before copy machines! Groton, South Dakota remains a very small town with about 1,400 people today according to Wikipedia. I'm guessing there's a good chance this may have been the only electric typewriter in town in 1941.
The typewriter remains in remarkably good condition. It types very quickly, with hard, neat impressions. Type quality is excellent. It is not a quiet machine, however. It hits hard and the motor starts to sound like a DC-3 airplane of the same era taking off! Cosmetically you can see this machine was used for its intended purpose with paint wear where the hands would rest. The textured paint is also worn smooth in some places. The keys are relatively clean. There is a small crease or line on the spacebar. There is no rust. It is clean and seems to have been maintained well. In general, it is in great shape cosmetically for being nearly 70 years old. It is a fine, historically significant, addition to the museum.
|IBM Model B Executive (1954-1959) (Large, Before Cleaning) The model B was introduced in 1954 and was replaced by the Model C in 1959. Mine is the executive model with proportional spacing and the ability to take an extra long ribbon in the projections on each side. Proportional spacing uses a more narrow space for narrow letters like "i" and greater space for wider letters like "w." IBM introduced the first typewriter with proportional spacing only ten years earlier in 1944. (See IBM Typewriter Milestones.) IBM has a Model B Photo Album and a brochure on the Model B. IBM has pricing information at Typewriter Prices. In 1954 the Model B was $395 and the Model B Executive was $575. In 1957 the prices rose to $420 and $595 respectively. $595 in 1957 has the same buying power as $4,866.19 in 2012! I purchased mine from an ad on Craigslist in the North Park area of San Diego on June 17, 2012 for $20. The seller said he got the machine in 1975. It had a lot of grime but cleaned up fairly well. It works except the electric return is not working correctly. At first it was simply advancing a few spaces. Now it just spins. Also the "i" key is sticking and the shift is sometimes sticking. Some cleaning and lubrication would probably be in order for this 50+ year old machine. It is heavy weighing nearly 48 pounds. The serial no. is 11423323.||IBM Model 11c Electric Typewriter (circa 1959) (Large, Bottom, Hood Open) The tag on the bottom of this typewriter says it is a Model 11C. Comparing the serial number to the list at The Typewriter Database also indicates it is a Model C made around 1959. This is also consistent with the pictures and information at Rider University - Special Collections. Comparing it with the photographs at etypewriters.com, as well as similar ads on eBay, however, it clearly looks like an earlier IBM Model A. (Compare it with the typewriter at www.etypewriters.com/1950-a-1.jpg.) The Model A (circa 1948-1954) and the Model B (circa 1954-1958) were similar looking with the rounded front instead of the much sharper edges of the front of what etypewriters.com calls the IBM Model C introduced in 1959. I came across one ad from the mid 1950s indicating they had 30+ models. Mine has an 11 inch carriage and I therefore assume the 11 is the carriage width. Looking at the IBM Typewriter Prices, however, Models A and B are listed with 12 inch carriages and the Model C is listed with a 13 inch carriage. My guess is the Model 11C may have indeed been introduced around 1959 with the new more modern styled 13 inch carriage Model C. The Model 11C, however, looks to have been based largely on the earlier Model A but with a slightly smaller carriage. My guess is the Model 11C may have been a less costly alternative to the new styled Model C. This is speculation on my part, however. If there are any former IBM Typewriter Division employees from the 1950s, retailers or others out there with better knowledge, please contact me!|
In any event, IBM typewriters were expensive. IBM Typewriter Prices indicates a Model A in 1950 was $365 (same buying power as $3,249.21 in 2009), a Model C in 1962 was $460 (same buying power as $3,267.78 in 1990) and a Model D (see below) was $490 in 1967 (same buying power as $3,147.40 in 2009). You can get a decent computer and printer for $400 to $500 in 2009 or several of them for $3,000! That's, of course, just the equipment cost advantage today. While harder to calculate, the biggest cost savings is the increased productivity using a computer and printer for word processing compared to using a typewriter. Also, one hopes the ease of editing on a computer leads to better quality writing compared to using a typewriter.
I purchased my IBM Electric Typewriter in Delzura, California for $20 from an ad on Craigslist. Getting it was quite an ordeal. Delzura is way out in the back country in San Diego County. The seller lives on a gravel/dirt road. Initially I drove out at night. My car's GPS showed the house 4 or 5 miles off the main road. Relying on my GPS, I drove and drove on the dirt road which became increasing more narrow and bumpy (especially since there had been heavy rains the week before). With no houses in site, my car (a Toyota Prius) bottoming out, my cell phone at home and having taken the wrong turn in a recent fork in the road, I was becoming increasing concerned that I would become stuck and stranded in the middle of nowhere for the night, or worse yet, ambushed by bad people. (Okay, I was sort of losing it!) At that point, I didn't care less about any darn typewriter, said a few prayers, turned around in a very tight spot with a cliff on one side, and headed back. Luckily I made it to the paved road. A few days later after learning from the seller that she was only a mile off the paved road, I headed back during daylight and finally made it to the house. The scenery during the day was actually quite beautiful. I relay this story only to show that typewriter hunting can be quite adventurous and not for the faint of heart! The typewriter seems to be in good condition. Cosmetically it shows signs of solid use, but not abuse. Mechanically it seems to work well except the shift key sticks.
|IBM Model D (circa 1969) purchased April 23, 2005 at a San Carlos (San Diego) garage sale for $5. Comparing it with the photographs at etypewriters.com, this is an IBM Model D electric typewriter introduced in 1967. According to the tag inside, this typewriter appears to have been put into service on August 25, 1969. (About a month after the first moon landing on July 20, 1969. I had just completed sixth grade.) It belonged to a relative of the person at the garage sale. The relative, who lived in Coronado, used it to type for a judge in San Diego. The serial number is 6333514. An IBM service card inside indicates over 25 inspections or repairs from the early 1970s to April 1983. The typewriter is in very good cosmetic and mechanical condition except the shift mechanism is stuck; it won't do lower case. The film ribbon is also dried out. The ribbon is on a very large spool - the machine was apparently designed for volume work. While IBM introduced the Selectric I in the early 1960s, this typewriter is of the traditional design with a moving carriage. Like all IBMs it is built like a tank weighing in at close to 48 pounds (about 21.5 kg)!|
|IBM Correcting Selectric III (circa 1980) the first IBM Selectric was introduced in 1961 and became the standard for office typewriters. The Selectrics were unique in using a rapidly rotating ball with the characters on it. The Correcting Selectric III was introduced in 1980 and was the last model in the Selectic line. They are heavy, all metal typewriters built like a tank. The correcting feature was terrific. I remember going to my Dad's office to type a resume on one and using one at a house where my wife and I pet sat Basset Hounds. New they cost hundreds of dollars. This one I purchased at a garage sale in 2003 for $7. It is in good working condition. See the Wikipedia site for more information on the Selectric.|
|IBM Personal Wheelwriter- The Wheelwriter series followed the Selectric series. Wheelwriters used a "daisywheel" instead of the rotating ball of the Selectrics. The daisywheel design is still the dominant design of typewriters today. The daisywheel design was also used for printing from computers in the early to mid 1980s and indeed at the time was the only way to get true letter quality printing. They were very slow and noisy compared to today's inkjet printers. I remember taking well over a day to print a 265 page thesis on a daisywheel printer in 1984. I had to feed each page individually and the printer would intermittently cease to function. This Wheelwriter cost $1 late in the day at a condo complex flea market. Originally it cost hundreds of dollars. It is in good working condition.|
|Oliver No. 5 (Large Image) (circa 1914) The Oliver Model 5 was introduced in 1907 according to the S.L. Johnson Typewriter Page with production ceasing in 1914 according to "Oliver Typewriter Company," Wikipedia. Mine has a high serial number and was likely produced towards the end of this time. See The Typewriter Database. The various Oliver models from No. 2 to No. 16 are shown at Oliver Standard Gallery. The Oliver No. 1 was produced in 1894. Oliver was headquartered in Chicago with factory production in Woodstock, Illinois. Production of Oliver typewriters in the U.S. ceased in 1928 with the models 11 and 12. The company was sold to British investors who formed the British Oliver Typewriter Company. The very last Oliver was made in 1959. See "Oliver Typewriter Company," Wikipedia (very extensive article with excellent charts on models and dates of production). My Typewriter.com states the No. 5 was the first Oliver where the mechanism was enclosed by the metal body. That site also indicates you could attach a pencil to a special holder that would allow you to draw straight lines across the paper by moving the carriage. According to "Oliver Typewriter Company," Wikipedia, Oliver produced the first effective "visual" typewriter, meaning you could see what you were typing as you typed. It does not have the familiar front strike design, however. Rather, its odd "U" shaped typebars strike down. The U shaped typebars form two towers on each side of the typewriter. It is very heavy - 28.4 pounds weighing it on the bathroom scales. The original cost was apparently $100, but according to old ads you could own it for as little as 17 cents per day! $100 in 1913, however, is equal to over $2,200 in 2008! Mine was purchased on 7-22-08 from a couple in the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon, CA for $300 with a Blickensderfer No. 5, a Hammond Multiplex and a Corona 3. The Hammond and the Blickensderfer would be the most expensive of the four machines. It is in good working condition with some scratches, a little rust and some keys moving slowly.||Oliver No. 9 (1915-1922) (Large Image) The Oliver Model 9 and related Model 10 were produced from 1915 to 1922. With 449,000 sold, it was also the most widely sold Oliver. It continues the dark Olive color. See "Oliver Typewriter Company," Wikipedia. Like the earlier Olivers it has the U shaped typebars and "down strike" mechanism. Neither my No. 5 nor No. 9 has the metal case that I believe all the Olivers came with. The No. 9 had a typeface called "Printype" which was suppose to resemble printed type as in books. A sample is shown at The Classic Typewriter Page. The photo there also shows a pencil in the special pencil holder used for making horizontal pencil lines. The No. 9 was sold factory direct for only $50, half the price of a No. 5. From old ads it sounds like earlier models had been sold by a network of salespeople. My No. 9 was purchased on eBay on 11-11-07 for $.99 and $21.08 shipping. Given the hefty weight of the Oliver, actual shipping was $24.03 making the deal a losing proposition for the seller. It has considerable rust and scratches. It was not well packed and suffered damage in shipping also. The box was partially collapsed and was not sufficiently strong for such a heavy item. Some of the typebars were bent and a paper advance knob broken. It is still an okay display piece, however.|
|Olivetti Underwood Lettera 32 (circa 1964) (Large Image) Made by the Italian company Olivetti in their Barcelona, Spain plant. Introduced in 1964 according to Will Davis - Olivetti Portable Typewriter Gallery. The Typewriter Database shows it being made from 1965 to 1973. Up to serial no. 2396736 appears to be from 1965 (or perhaps 1964?). Mine is serial no. 1701144, which appears on the right side, under the cover. Mine therefore appears to be from 1964 or 1965, although my serial no. is considerably before 2396736 leading me to suspect the serial numbers. By the time of the Lettera 32, Olivetti had completely taken over Underwood. Mrtypewriter.com indicates it was very popular in the 1960s with journalists and writers. The Lettera 32 has a stylish metal body. The Olivetti posters in the 1950s and 1960s were even more stylish as can be seen at designapplause.com. www.iainclaridge.co.uk has an image of a very cool ad for the Lettera 32. You Tube - Lili - On Olivetti Lettera 32 shows almost 8 minutes of someone typing on a Lettera 32! My Lettera 32 is in good cosmetic and working condition, although it is quite dusty. It did not come with a case. Purchased around March 2008 near Home Avenue at a San Diego community garage sale for $1; not a bad deal for a stylish, quality, working typewriter! I purchased another with the case and documentation for $10 at a garage sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego on September 30, 2011. They can go for more if used by the right person. Pulitzer Prize winning author Cormac McCarthy's Olivetti Leterra 32 sold for $254,500 at auction on December 4, 2009! (Fred Brown, "McCarthy typewriter sells for $254,500," KnoxNews.com.) That article says he purchased it at a Knoxsville pawn shop in the fall of 1958 for $50 and used it up to 2009. The New York Times (Randy Kennedy, "McCarthy?pewriter Sells for $254,500") reports the typewriter having been purchased in 1963, however. Wired Magazine, has a nice photo showing the considerable wear, and confirms it being sold in 1963. McCarthy typed an estimated 10 million words on his Lettera 32 and never had it serviced. He just blew out the dust with a service station air hose. Since McCarthy apparently bought his used in 1963, the 1964 date above for mine is suspect. Mine is serial no. 1701144 while McCarthy's is a later serial no. 2143668. From the serial numbers it appears it was a popular model. A friend bought McCarthy a replacement Lettera 32 for $11! My guess its value has shot up now that it has a new owner.|
|Olivetti Underwood Studio 44 (circa 1965) (Large Image) Made by the Italian company Olivetti in their Barcelona, Spain plant. The Studio 44 was the favorite typewriter of American playwright Tennessee Williams. (See mrtypewriter.com.) The architect Marcello Nizzoli designed the Studio 44. (See Aberdeen Quest.) It was introduced in 1952. (Early Typewriter Collectors.) More specifically, The Typewriter Database indicates typewriters up to serial no. 731456 were made in 1952 and up to serial no. 757904 were made in 1953. The Database then shows a gap until the Studio 44 - New Series was manufactured from 1965 to 1967 with the following serial numbers: 1965 - no. 599576, 1966 - no. 646487, and 1967 - no. 1003997 up. That seems quite confusing since the serial numbers overlap. In discussing the Lettera 22, the Database indicates a new serial number system started around 1953. Mine is serial number 442467, probably from 1965. That is consistent with the name on the typewriter - Olivetti Underwood. According to Will Davis - Olivetti Portable Typewriter Gallery, in 1959 Olivetti started to acquire large amounts of stock in the U.S. company, Underwood. At that point, you started to see the Underwood - Olivetti name on some Olivetti models. By October 1963 Olivetti completed the purchase and typewriters began appearing under the Olivetti Underwood name (i.e. Olivetti now before Underwood). The Studio 44 is a stylish usable typewriter available used on eBay with a "Buy it Now" price of $50 on 6-21-09. Recent completed sales were about $20-$30. Much more expensive are original posters for the Studio 44 which apparently go from $500 to $1,000! (See International Poster Gallery.) Mine was a gift from my sister in May 2009. It comes with a stylish case. My sister acquired it from a friend. It is in good working condition.|
|Olivetti Underwood Lettera 33 (Circa 1968-1971) (Large Image) Made by the Italian company Olivetti in their Barcelona, Spain plant. A Lettera 33 was used by director Francis Ford Coppola in working on the script for the movie "The Godfather" according to mrtypewriter. A 1968 magazine ad on eBay announces a free dictionary with the purchase of an Olivetti Underwood 33. A 1971 ad on eBay features large poster sized photos of the Lettera 33, Lettera 31, Studio 45, and Valentine typewriters as part of "the olivetti collection."
|Olivetti Lettera 36 (circa 1972) stylish portable electric typewriter by the Italian company Olivetti. This model was made in their Barcelona Spain facility. According to Olivetti Design the Lettera 36 was designed with famed designer E. Sottsass as part of the design team. Sottsass also designed the bright red Olivetti Valentine manual typewriter (1969) which is highly sought after. The Lettera 36 weighs about 25 pounds with the included case. My Lettera 36 was purchased for $5 at a garage sale on April 1, 2006 (no fooling!). It is in very good cosmetic condition. It behaved erratically when first turned on. A couple of keys would strike and then the keyboard ceased to function. I think the problem is a deteriorated secondary drive belt which had turned into a sticky mess with strings in it. (See photo with bottom cover removed.) According to the cmfg.com site, this is a 153 teeth belt, Manufacturer's No. 197990 M. Unfortunately, that company apparently does not sell directly to individuals. Hopefully, I can find another source for the belt. Another belt connected directly to the motor is a 139 teeth belt, Manufacturer No. 197971 M, which appears to be in good condition. Other than the secondary belt problem, the typewriter appears to work in that the motor comes on, the carriage can move and the mechanical half space works. Olivetti Portables has photos of many Olivetti Portables including the Lettera 36. General information about typewriter repair can be found at Washington Post and The Classic Typewriter Page.|
|Olivetti Lexikon 83 D.L. (circa 1976-77) Dates are from a reply message to the the Tacky Postcard Archives of tackymail.com. That site notes that the Hotel La Serra was designed to look like an Olivetti typewriter. The convention center dome was suspose to represent a typing ball element. Back to planet Earth, the reply message notes that the Lexikon is unique in that while it has a "golf ball" typing element similar to an IBM Selectric, the Lexikon's ball is stationary with the carriage moving like in traditional typewriters. The IBM Selectric has no carriage; the ball moves along to type the words on the page. Jay Respler of Advanced Business Machines in Freehold, New Jersey indicates in a Yahoo Typewriter Group message that Olivetti sold their plant that made the Lexikon 83 DL and the similar 82 DL to SMC (Smith Corona) which made the virtually identical Smith Corona Vantage and Intrepid models. Advanced Business Machines indicates it bought the supply of print elements from Olivetti and is now the exclusive source of those print elements. Jay Respler also indicates that the Olivetti Lexikon 82 was the first portable single element typewriter. (Yahoo Typewriter Group message.) The Lexikon 83 had a few additional features compared to the 82 and was all black. The SC-Lex-80 ribbons are available at typewritersupply.com and scantracker. They are pricey, however, at two for $25 at both suppliers. Newspapterarchive.com has an ad from the March 4, 1979 Chicago Daily Herald for a Smith Corona Vantage with wide carriage apparently referring to the list price as $279. Mine was purchased for $2 at a garage sale on April 15, 2006. It is in excellent cosmetic condition. It was slow to turn on and at first the keys would not work. After running for awhile, however, it appears to work fine although it needs a new ribbon. It was made in Great Britan. Many sites refer to it as the "Lexicon," although it clearly says "Lexikon" on my typewriter.|
|Underwood Model 319 Portable (circa 1980s?) purchased April 2005 on eBay for $6 plus $17 shipping (as revised). I originally assumed it was from the late 50s to early 70s. The Portable Typewriter Reference Site, however, indicates the Italian company Olivetti purchased Underwood in 1963. The last typewriter with the Underwood name was in the late 1960s until Olivetti again used the name in the 1980s. The Underwood Model 319 looks very similar to the Underwood Model 378 (actually an Olivetti Lettera 92) pictured at that site and made in the 1980s. My Model 319 was therefore apparently made by Olivetti in the 1980s. It was made in Spain. It is in good condition, but needs a new ribbon. It has a plastic outside. It weighs about 11.8 pounds (5.4 kg). It has dimensions of about 5" x 13" x 14" with top cover. See also Portable Typewriters and The Shannon L. Johnson Typewriter Collection (includes links to many other sites). I have listed this under Underwood and Olivetti since it is clearly made by Olivetti, but retains the old Underwood name. This was the first typewriter I actually collected. I thought it would be interesting to show students how people use to type before computers. I then discovered that typewriters are relatively common and cheap at garage sales. Less than 4 years later I would have over 90 typewriters and appear on television as a typewriter expert!|
|Olympia SM-3 De Luxe with Math Keys (circa 1955) (Larger Photo) Date from The Typewriter Database and original owner. Serial number 713947. I received this as a generous gift from a gentleman in Reston, Virginia in April 2009. He originally received it as a high school graduation gift from his parents in 1955. Besides being grey instead of green, it is basically the same machine as the SM-3 (or SM-4) below with one unique difference. This machine has a keyboard with many math and science symbols not usually found on a typewriter keyboard. Very cool! For example, it has keys for +, -, infinity, radical sign, alpha, beta, delta, sigma (summation), =, integral sign, pi, <, >, brackets [ ], and zero with a line through it. It has exactly the same number of keys as the machine below. Therefore, some symbols found on the SM-3 below and many other typewriters are eliminated including ", *, &, %, !, ;, #, $, @, 1/2, 1/4, and 3/4.|
I did not find much on the Internet about typewriter keyboards with math and science symbols. I assume they are relatively uncommon. SMECC - Typewriters for Math and Science describes a much more complex tandem scientific typewriter consisting of two typewriters with one carriage. One of the typewriters has normal characters. The other has science and math notation. The price was $1,290 in 1959. Having different keyboard characters or symbols is not limited to math and science. For example, different keyboards are used in many different languages. See Keyboard Layouts - AbsoluteAstronomy.com. Some typewriters also have a couple or few keys you could change. For example, I remember my sister's Sears Medalist Power 12, similar to the one below under Smith Corona, had a couple of inserts you put over selected typefaces to change the typeface. There were also corresponding caps to put over the keys.
The problem of using science and math symbols in a type written document is much easier today with computers. For example, in most word processing programs like Microsoft Word you can "Insert" a "Symbol." There are several categories of symbols each with dozens of choices. For frequently used symbols you can create your own shortcut keystrokes for the symbol. These symbols will often not be understood in plain text editors like Microsoft Notepad, however, and hence are trickier to put on Web pages. Another choice for mathematical sentences and equations on Microsoft Word and some other word processors is to "Insert" "Object." One object is "Equation Editor." That opens a window where you can easily write complex mathematical sentences and equations using the mouse and the drop down choices. It is also available in PowerPoint. Microsoft Equation Editor is a simplified version of Design Science's MathType which works with many more applications and Web sites. See, generally, Wikipedia, Microsoft Equation Editor and Wikipedia, MathType.
This SM-3 is in good cosmetic condition. The keys work although some are sticky. The keyboard and carriage were locked for shipping. This is done by a single chrome lever on the far left of the top row of the keys. The up position is locked. The down position is unlocked. I discovered this from the SM-9 manual at strikethru.net and by using my other SM-3 below. The keyboard unlocks fine. The carriage is not unlocking, however. I need to investigate what's wrong further. Something may have become stuck during shipping.
|Olympia SM-3 De Luxe (circa 1958) (Larger Photo) Date from The Typewriter Database. The Olympia SM-4 is the same as the SM-3 but with a more advance tabulating system according to mytypewriter.com. I don't know what the differences are and I may have an SM-4. The later SM-5 and SM-6 are similar but with a semi glossy finish compared to the matte finish of the SM-3 and SM-4 according to mytypewriter.com. These were followed by the SM-7 and SM-9 discussed below. Writer Kevin McGowin, in his article "Why I Still Use a Manual Typewriter" in The Classic Typewriter Page Typewriter Tributes states his SM-4 is "the true workhorse of my collection, the all-round machine." Like the SM models through the SM-7, it has a carriage shift. The SM-9 had a basket shift. Made in Germany by Olympia Werke, AG. WILHELMSHAVEN. Distributed by Inter-Continental Trading Corporation, 90 West Street, NEW YORK. (Note the SM-7 below specifically states made in Western Germany.) Serial no. 1023639 (on bottom, near back). Purchased at a La Mesa, CA estate sale on 70th street on Sunday afternoon, May 18, 2008 for $5 with case and a typing table. I was driving to a basketball game and just happened to see the sign. All items were half price by this time. My first Olympia, the SM-7 below, was acquired only 8 days earlier. My SM3 (or SM4) is in excellent cosmetic and working condition except several keys stick somewhat. The case appears to be some sort of pressed wood, although it is colored to look like metal. The case is in good condition with some wear and a chip in one corner revealing the wood underneath. A very nice 50 year old machine.|
|Olympia SM-3 with Russian keyboard (circa 1961) (Larger Photo, Head On Photo, Keyboard) Serial no. 170777g (on bottom back of typewriter). Date from The Typewriter Database. Another SM-3 but this time with a Russian (Cyrillic) keyboard. The plate on the back states: "Olympia Werke AG. Wilhelmshaven, Made in Western Germany. Inter-Continental Trading Corporation, 90 West Street, New York 6, N.Y." While it has a Russian keyboard, I assume with the U.S. based importer, it was imported to the United States and then sold. The keyboard lock for storage is the chrome lever next to the top, left key (the +?). I purchased it a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 10-24-10 for $15. It comes the case in very good condition but without a key. The typewriter is in excellent working and cosmetic condition. The seller's said they had it serviced for $150. It has a sticker from El Cajon Typewriter Co., 130 E. Main Street, El Cajon, CA.|
|Olympia SG-1 (circa 1960) (Larger Photo) Date from The Typewriter Database. According to mytypewriter.com, the SG1 was produced from 1953 to 1964 with over 1 million sold in the United States. The color and styling are obviously very similar to the portable SM-3 above. Mytypewriter.com states it "was a full-fledged office-sized machine widely popular in the U.S for its quality and craftsmanship." The site continues stating it was an "industry workhorse, and truly a standard." Keystone Typewriter Co., Inc. calls it "the Mercedes Benz of typewriters" "made with West German craftsmanship." That site has a lengthy discussion of its many outstanding features including individual springs at the end of each typebar to cushion the typist's finger as a key is struck. "[T]his machine just glides smooth as glass when you type. It has the easiest touch of any desk model manual ever made." Id. Mr. Typewriter, referring to the SG-1 as a "classic beauty" has photos showing disassembly for cleaning and notes that the 1960 price of a new SG-1 was $225. That's equal to $1,672 in 2008 dollars, the price of three budget personal computers and all-in-one printers. The SG-1 is also featured at Back Space Typewriters.The name plate on the back of my SG1 typewriter states it was made in Western Germany by Olympia Werke, AG. WILHELMSHAVEN. Distributed by Inter-Continental Trading Corporation, 90 West Street, New York 6, N.Y. I purchased my SG-1 on 8-31-08 for $15 at an estate sale in a neighborhood of very expensive homes on Valle Verde Road in Poway, CA. It is in very good cosmetic and working condition. All keys work perfectly. It needs a new ribbon. Some of the sound proofing foam inside is deteriorating to the touch, but is not flaking off. I blew out a lot of eraser residue - proof of the agony associated with typewriters in the old days! It weighs about 38.2 pounds on the bathroom scale. It is a fine example of a top-notch, full featured, desktop manual typewriter.|
|Olympia SG-3 (circa 1974) (Larger Photo, With Cover Removed) Around 1964 the SG-1 was replaced by the SG-3.The SG-3 machines were largely white. Mine is a later version with dark gray keys and the orange Olympia symbol. I'm not sure of the exact date. Its serial number, found under the carriage on the right side, is 7-3053174. The Typewriter Database stops before this at 1972. I'm guessing mine is perhaps a couple of years more recent. Earlier versions of the SG-3 have white keys with green shift keys and a green tab bar. An earlier version of an SG-3 is shown at MrTypewriter.com along with a photo of author James A. Michener typing on one with two fingers. Another early version SG-3 at Flicker - littleflowerpetals shows how much bigger the standard office size SG-3 machine is compared to the portable Olympia SM-3. Both are similarly styled, however. As indicated at Fresh Ribbon, Hitchcock and the Stylish Monster (August 22, 2008), the SG-3 was featured in the 1964 Hitchcock movie Marnie where actress Tippi Hendren portrays a disturbed, kleptomaniac secretary who types on an SG-3. Next to Ms. Hendren also appears to be an Olympia calculator. (Hendren was also the lead actress in the Hitchcock classic, The Birds. Mr. Martin's Web Camera Museum also has an Exacta VX 35mm single lens reflex camera like the one used in Hitchcock's classic 1954 movie Rear Window.) The Olympia SG-3 is also discussed in a CBS News Analysis concerning the authenticity of George W. Bush's military service records. I'm pretty sure the Olympia desktop typewriter I used in my summer school typing class after 9th grade in 1972 was an SG-3, although I'm not sure what version it was. It was a fine typewriter although I really hated it! I'm sure it could crank out 100 words per minute with a great typist. I probably cranked out 10 words per minutes. I purchased my very own Olympia SG-3 nearly 40 years after that class for $5 at a San Carlos area of San Diego garage sale about two miles from my home on November 5, 2011. A couple of keys stick and there is some correction fluid here and there, but otherwise it is in very nice condition. The entire cover can be removed allowing easily access for servicing.|
|Olympia SM-7 De Luxe (1963) (Larger Photo) Date from The Typewriter Database although that site does not specifically refer to the model number. Very cool pink and gray motif. Excellent working and mechanical condition. Came with case also in excellent condition. Purchased at the thrift store for the non-profit Community Resource Center in Encinitas, CA on May 10, 2008 for $35 (they knocked $10 off the $45 list price). They had many cameras listed on Craigslist, but someone got them all just before I got there. :( This was a very nice consolation prize, however. ;) The SM-7 also came in off white as shown at mytypewriter.com. Semi-retired Portland, Oregon journalist Rick Seifert discusses at Back Space Typewriters selling a pink one just like mine but with script typeface for a friend for $75. Made in Western Germany by Olympia Werke, AG. Wilhelmshaven. Distributed by Inter-Continental Trading Corporation, New York 6, N.Y. Serial no. 2046792 (on bottom, near back.)|
In addition to the standard 10 inch carriage that mine has, there was also a 13 inch wide carriage model. I found the new price for the 13 inch model in a round about way. Brookhaven National Laboratory, in their November 17, 1965 Bulletin Board newsletter, has a classified ad for ?writer, Olympia, model SM7 delux, w/special 13?riage and carry-case, artistic script type ?ks like handwriting, year old in perfect cond, with extra ribbons and manual, cost, $142.50; price, $75 firm.?2.50 was a lot of money in 1964 when one considers the price of an entr?in the cafeteria, such as Stuffed Pork Chop, Roast Leg of Lamb, or Roast Sirloin of Beef au jus, was just 65 cents! Adjusted for inflation, $142.50 in 1964 equals over $980 in 2008 dollars!
Writer Kevin McGowin in his article "Why I Still Use a Manual Typewriter" in The Classic Typewriter Page Typewriter Tributes laments at giving his Olympia SM-7 away to another writer. McGowin replaced it with the SM-9 (circa 1965) which he describes as "a fine machine, but for me, one without the great action of the SM 7." As to other typewriter models in my collection, he states: "I never much cared for the Hermes 3000, and for me the Hermes Baby and especially the Rocket felt to me like typing on bathroom scales . . .." He reminisces fondly about traveling around the world with an Olivetti Lettera 32 and eventually giving it to "the great and underrated novelist, poet and playwright James Purdy." While McGowin favored the SM7 to the SM9 many prefer the basket shift of the SM9 to the carriage shift of the SM7. (In the SM9 the basket with the typeface moves up and down to switch from lower to upper case. In the SM7 the carriage moves up and down.) The SM9 actually had several variations over the years as explained at Olympia SM9 Production Breakdown. Writer Paul Auster and artist Sam Messer wrote and illustrated a book about Auster?ympia SM-9 called The Story of My Typewriter (Distributed Art Publishers, Inc 2002) and available at Amazon.com. It is apparent that writers like Kevin McGowin, Paul Auster and Larry McMurtry who did a tribute to his Hermes 3000 at the Golden Globe awards, respect and appreciate their typewriters which remain their faithful tools of the trade even in this age of the computer.
I used an Olympia desktop typewriter similar to the later version of the SM9 portable in a summer school typing class after my freshmen year in high school. All the students were girls except me and one other guy. I was not very good at typing. I received my only C grade in high school. While I like collecting typewriters, I actually hate using them! Viva la computer! Change is good!
|Olympia SM-9 De Luxe (early version) (1965) (Larger Photo, Internal) Date is from The Typewriter Database. Serial no. 2986353 (on bottom, near back). This date is consistent with the seller's recollection. He said he got it when he was in school in 1965 and used it to type school papers over the years. This appears to be the first version of the SM-9 with light beige keys which are the same color as the metal cover. The bottom is gray. The metal cover can be raised very high exposing many of the internal workings. According to MrTypewriter.com there were five versions. He calls the SM-9 a classic and states: "In my all time favorite typer list, second place goes to the Olympia SM-9 when space and weight are factored in." MrTypewriter.com also has photos showing the partial disassembly and cleaning of an SM-9. Strikethru.net also has a nice discussion of the SM-9. Comments to her article indicate that the SM-9 is often favored over prior models because it has basket shift instead of carriage shift. The comments also discuss prices for used machines from about $6 to $50 for a machine that has not been restored. Professionally restored machines at retail can be hundreds. Other discussions of the SM-9 are at elysee.net and Machines of Loving Grace. It is a favorite machine of writers. Indeed, author Paul Auster with Sam Messer wrote a short book about Auster's Olympia SM-9 called The Story of My Typewriter. (See discussion under SM-7 above and "Objects of Desire: Olympia SM9," 3:AM Magazine.) I purchased my Olympia SM-9 at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on Sunday October 16, 2011 for $15. It comes with the hard case. It is in good working condition but did not come with a ribbon. It would also benefit from having the eraser crumbs cleaned out (always a dreaded sign of the lack of a delete button on typewriters). It is made in Western Germany by Olympia Werke A.G., Wilhelmshaven and was apparently distributed by Inter-Continental Trading Corporation, 90 West Street, New York 6, NY.|
|Olympia SM-9 De Luxe (1970) (Larger Photo) Date from The Typewriter Database. Serial no. 3880629 (on bottom, near back). This is the later version of the SM-9 with the beige color scheme and the Olympia name on the left side and the orange symbol on the right side. I originally thought that the SM-9 was made until 1972 since that is when it ends on The Typewriter Database. I received a helpful email from a collector Frans van de Rivi? in the Netherlands stating: "The SM9 production ended in 1981, when the Olympia-designed SM-series was abandoned and Olympia started to offer Erika-built and Nakajima-built portables, the Regina and the B12 and Carina.The highest number known for an Olympia-built Olympia portable is a Monica de Luxe (which is a SM9 with plastic body), numbered 6055289," which he recently acquired. Further discussion and comparison to the SM-7 is in the SM-7 discussion above. Purchased at a Allied Gardens area of San Diego private estate sale on 2-22-09 for $10. I purchased a lot of photographic equipment at the sale also. It is in good cosmetic and working condition with the exception that it needs a new ribbon and a few keys stick slightly. Comes with the original case, two brushes and the Operating Instructions. It is interesting that Olympia never put the model number on the machine. Even the operating instructions just say "Olympia SM." Even as of 1972, the SM-9 had all metal construction. The email discussed above indicates metal bodied models continued into 1982 but there were also platic bodied models called the Monica de Luxe. "Made in Western Germany" by "Olympia Werke AG Wilhelmshaven." Has a label for Alhambra Typewriter Shop in the Los Angeles area. The owner was a 92 year old gentleman who was an engineer in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego. It makes a nice addition to my Olympia collection. The full manual is at strikethru.net.|
|Optima Elite (circa 1950s) (Larger Photo) Made in East Germany (GDR or German Democratic Republic). Specifically, on the back it says Germany USSR Occupied. Serial no. 966222. The Typewriter Database says it was made by VEB Optima Bueromaschinenwerk, Erfurt, GDR. The only date given is "started 1950." With the split of Germany following World War II, West Germany had Olympia, Adler and Triumph. East Germany had a part of Olympia and others. East German Portable Typewriters (by Will Davis at www.machinesoflovinggrace.com). This part of Olympia became VEB Optima Bueromaschinenwerk, Erfurt, GDR. The portable line was called the Optima Elite. The portable line died out perhaps by the end of the 1950s. East German Portable Typewriters (by Will Davis at www.machinesoflovinggrace.com). The machine is similar in style to Olympia and Triumph machines in the 1950s. The pattern of German companies being split after World War II was common in other industries also such as cameras. (See Mr. Martin's Camera Museum - Pentacon.) My Optima Elite appears to be made of cast Aluminum. It is in very good cosmetic and working condition. It comes with a hard case. Glancing at the Internet, it appears some Optima Elite typewriters came with a softer "bowling ball bag" style case. There was also an Optima Elite 3 model, which I assume is after mine. I purchased mine at a garage sale on June 26, 2011 in Carlsbad, California. I purchased it and three Kodak cameras (two box and one Retinette) for $30. The garage sale had been advertised on Craigslist mentioning the cameras but not the typewriter. The typewriter was marked $30. The cameras were initially stated at $5 each, but basically thrown in free. The sellers were a husband and wife originally from Rochester, New York. We therefore had a nice chat about Kodak.|
|Remington Standard 10 (1913) (Larger Photo) Made in 1913 according to serial number information at The Typewriter Database. This was Remington's first "visible" typewriter where you could see what you were typing as you typed. The Remington Standard 10's heritage dates back to the first commercially successful "Sholes & Glidden" typewriter, conceived by Christopher Sholes in 1868. The Sholes & Glidden typewriter was originally manufactured by the gun company E. Remington & Sons in Ilion, NY from 1874-1878. See The First Typewriter. Only about 5,000 were sold. The Sholes & Glidden typewriter also introduced the QWERTY keyboard, which is largely the same as the keyboard still used today. Wikipedia - QWERTY. The original Sholes & Glidden typewriter was followed in 1878 by the Remington Standard 2. The Virtual Typewriter Museum - Remington Standard 2. By 1886 the Remington gun company no longer had any ownership interest in the typewriter company but the new Standard Typewriter Manufacturing Company, Inc. retained the right to use the Remington name. Id.. In 1902 the company name was changed to the Remington Typewriter Company. Wikipedia - E. Remington and Sons.|
|The Remington Standard 2 was an upstrike, "blind" typewriter based on the original Sholes and Glidden design. With the upstrike design, the typist could not see what was being typed as the typist typed. Remington was slow to come out with a front strike "visible" typewriter but finally did in 1908 with the Remington Standard 10. It still looked a lot like the Remington Standard 2 and shared many of the original design features of the Sholes & Glidden. The Remington 10 continued to be manufactured until 1922. www.typewriter.be. My Remington Standard 10 was purchased on 7-31-08 as one of 23 typewriters and mechanical calculators at a total cost of $200 in the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon, CA. While it has a lot of surface rust on the exposed metal parts, it functions pretty well. All keys work, although many stick. The carriage advances correctly. The paint is in pretty good shape. It looks like the front base may have been repainted. I just wiped the typewriter off and have not lubricated it. It is a nice piece of history from a company that manufactured the first commercial typewriter as well as the first commercial electronic computer, UNIVAC, in 1951, then as Remington Rand. Wikipedia - UNIVAC I.|
|Remington Portable No. 1 (1923) (Large Photo Typebars Up, Large Photo Typebars Down.) According to the Classic Typewriter Page Presents Remington Portables, the Portable No. 1 was manufactured from October 1920 to January 1925. It sold for $60 new. $60 in 1923 is equal to $769 in 2008 dollars. (Note that the Remington Portable 3 below also sold for $60 in 1930. $60 in 1930 was actually worth less than in 1923 because of deflation with the stock market crash in 1929 and the start of the Great Depression.) Few were made at first and features like a right shift key were added over time. Some of the earliest are rare. Overall, it had very successful sales, however, with about 600,000 sold according to the Classic Typewriter Page Presents Remington Portables. Likely for this reason, they appear to be relatively common on eBay and sell for maybe $30 in good condition. It was the first true portable typewriter with a four bank keyboard by any manufacturer. According to the serial number information at the Classic Typewriter Page Presents Remington Portables mine was the 82nd one made in April 1923 (serial no. NK 30082). It is very compact in part due to the unique design of the typebars. The typebars lie flat for storage. To type you pull out and lift a lever on the right side of the typewriter. This lifts the typebars up at a 45 degree angle. Mine was purchased on 7-31-08 as one of 23 typewriters and mechanical calculators for a total of $200 in Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA). It is in good working and mechanical condition with all keys working (the "g" was a little sticky at first). It comes with the standard wood case covered with black cloth.|
|Smith Premier Portable, British version of Remington Portable No. 2 (1934) (Large Image, 3/4 View with Keys Up.) "Assembled in Great Britain from Parts made in U.S.A." According to the Classic Typewriter Page Presents Remington Portables - Foreign Variants, this Smith Premier Portable typewriter is a British made version of the Remington Portable Model 2. Like the Remington Portable Model 1 above, the typebars lie flat for storage and lift up for typing. Mine has serial no. EC43605 (the 6 might be 8). According to the date code given at that site, it was made in 1934, later than the U.S. made Remington Portable No. 2 made between February 1925 and December 1928 (Classic Typewriter Page Presents Remington Portables - Remington Portable #2). This typewriter would have been assembled at the Remington factory in London from U.S. parts. The Smith Premier company started in 1886 by the four Smith brothers. Smith Premier was noted for its double keyboard design as shown in my Smith Premier below. According to Wikipedia - Smith Corona: "In 1893, it [Smith Premier] joined the Union Typewriter Company, a trust in Syracuse, New York which included rival firms Remington, Caligraph, Densmore and Yost." The Smith Brothers quit the Union Typewriter Company trust in 1903 when the trust refused to allow Smith Premier to make a front strike machine. The Smith Brothers formed the L. C. Smith & Bros. Typewriter Company. It later merged with the Corona Typewriter Company, noted for its portable typewriters, in 1926. (Id.) Apparently Remington either retained or bought the right to use the Smith Premier name at least in foreign markets. The Virtual Typewriter Museum states: "In 1908 Smith Premier launched a new model, the SP10 that was the only full-keyboard frontstrike typewriter ever built. The SP10 was the last of the 'real' Smith Premiers. After the demise of the company, the brand name was bought by the Remington Typewriter Company that continued to launch regular office machines and portables with the name Smith Premier for many years." The Classic Typewriter Page Presents the Remington Portable states: "Some Remington portables do not carry the Remington name. In the early 1900s, Remington gained control of the Smith Premier typewriter company and also introduced the Monarch frontstroke typewriter. These names were perpetuated through the 1930s, so that there are 'Smith Premier' and 'Monarch' versions of many Remington models." Hence, in the 1930s you find Remington portables made in Great Britain with the Smith Premier name. My machine is a generous donation from a gentleman in the United Kingdon in July 2010. He found it among his late father's belongings. Over 75 years after the parts were shipped via cargo ship from the United States to Britain the completed typewriter has returned to the United States via a FedEx jet! It is in good cosmetic condition. It seems to work fine except I cannot get the carriage return to advance. I think it must have a lock mechanism which I just haven't found yet.|
|Remington Portable No. 3 (1930) (Larger Photo, Side View.) According to the Classic Typewriter Page Presents Remington Portables, the Portable No. 3 was manufactured from December 1928 to June 1938 with most made before 1932 (I assume as a result of the Depression). About 300,000 were made. Mine was made in 1930 according to serial number information at The Typewriter Database. The Classic Typewriter Page states the price was originally $60, equal to $778 in 2008 dollars! The photos at the Classic Typewriter Page show it came in four colors - green like mine, bright red, a darker burgundy, and purple! Mine was purchased in the Clairemont area of San Diego on 6-13-08 with 4 other typewriters and an adding machine, all of similar vintage for $75. I recall we allocated $15 to this machine. It is in good working and cosmetic condition. At first the carriage would not move. The Classic Typewriter Page has an section on locking and unlocking the carriage, however. To unlock it you pull out on the right platen knob. The locking feature is designed to prevent the carriage from moving while transporting the machine. The platen is in good condition except for considerable wear in the center. I think the carriage had been locked for some time and the type hence hit in the same spot whenever anyone tried it out. It came with the case in good condition. The Classic Typewriter Page has comprehensive photos and information about Remington portables and is an excellent reference. I was happy to see that a link to my site was added under "typewriter collectors" on the typewriter-related links page stating "Teacher Mark D. Martin presents fine photos and lots of information about his collection, mostly consisting of mid-century portables."|
|Remington Noiseless Portable (1935) (Larger Photo) According to the Classic Typewriter Page, manufactured from August 1931 to October 1941 with serial numbers likely from N10000 to N127879 (the N stands for noiseless). Mine is serial no. N63875 approximately midway between these numbers and according to The Typewriter Database is from 1935. The Classic Typewriter Page states the price in 1935 was $67.50, about $1,000 in 2006 dollars. The cost of a typewriter was a sizeable amount of money in the middle of the Great Depression! I purchased mine on 6-23-06 at an estate sale in La Mesa for $15 and sales tax. It is in great cosmetic condition. When I was examining it at the estate sale I thought it was broken but still worth the price as a display piece. There were two problems: first, the keys moved but did not seem to hit the platen. Second, there was no return lever. Upon further examination at home, I learned the type does hit the platen. The "noiseless" feature has the type just barely hit the platen, however. Also, it does have a return lever; it's just small and folds for storage. myTypewriter.com has fully refurbished models for sale for $425. That site notes that many typists have a tendency to hit the keys too hard at first because they are not use to the noiseless feature. Noiselesstypewriter.com has photos and a very interesting Remington article on how to learn to type circa 1957. The first "noiseless portable typewriter" model was actually introduced by The Noiseless Typewriter Company in 1923. That company was acquired by Remington in 1924, however. (See The Virtual Typewriter Museum which has a short video on how the keys barely touch the platten). As noted in my Calculator Museum Remington Rand was formed in 1928 from the merger of several companies and is noted for making the first commercial electronic general purpose computer, UNIVAC. Remington survives today as Unisys.|
|Remington Streamliner (February 1941 to March 1942) (Large image) Dates are from The Classic Typewriter Page - Remington Portables which states it originally cost $49.50, which is equal to about $730 in 2008 dollars. The Classic Typewriter Page - Remington Portables states that 21,200 were made. Mine was made in 1930 according to serial number information at The Typewriter Database. The Art Deco, "aerodynamic" styling was first introduced in 1935 in the similar Remington 5 streamlined version discussed in depth at The Classic Typewriter Page - Remington Portables. According to mytypewriter.com there were two variations of the lettering on the later Streamliner - one with horizontal lines like mine which is considered more collectable, and the other without the horizontal lines. The Streamliner name was also used by Remington on a different 1960s portable. Mrtypewriter.com indicates the No.5 is much more affordable than the Streamliner today. Also, that site indicates to be sure the spools are included with the No. 5 (and I assume the Streamliner) since replacements are not readily available today. Likewise, many have bad platens and paper roll feeds. Mine is in excellent working and cosmetic condition. It includes the spools and the platen and paper feed work well. The feet are present. It came with the case in good condition. Mine was purchased through an ad on Craigslist in the Clairemont area of San Diego on 6-13-08 with 4 other typewriters and an adding machine, all of similar vintage for $75. I recall we allocated $20 to this machine. This machine was used in the seller's family insurance business which dates back to the late 1800s. A truly wonderful and beautiful typewriter!|
|Remington Remette (July 1938 to April 1942) (Large image.) Dates are from The Classic Typewriter Page - Remington Portables which states it originally cost $29.75. Pretty cheap until you recognize that's equals $380 in 2007 dollars. I can't find the serial number is and therefore do not know the precise date. Purchased on 6-23-07 for $10 at a Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA) garage sale for $10. In good working and cosmetic condition except the ribbon stays up too high and one key sticks. No case.|
|Remington Envoy (September 1941 to April 1942) (Large image.) Dates are from The Classic Typewriter Page - Remington Portables. That site indicates this is the second model with the Envoy name. That site also indicates the Envoy is essentially a Remette like the one above with some additional features including horizontal carriage return lever, two platen knobs, color selector. Mine is in good mechanical and cosmetic condition. It is pictured on the bed of the included case. It is attached to the bed with four screws and therefore was apparently meant to usually be used on the bed of the case. The cover of the case slides off. Mine was purchased for about $15 at a garage sale in the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon, CA on 3-28-08.|
|Remington Noiseless Model Seven (1948) (Large image) According to The Classic Typewriter Page - Remington Portables, the Remington Noiseless Model Seven portable typewriter was originally made from November 1931 to March 1941 with an original price of $105 reduced to $72 by 1935, apparently as a result of deflation during the Great Depression. (Typewriters were expensive. $105 in 1931 has the same buying power as $1,493.33 in 2009!) According to that site, the original serial numbers were H10000-H63756 with 53,757 made. The Model 7 is a larger version of the similar Remington Noiseless Portable above. The Classic Typewriter Page - Remington Portables also indicates the Remington Model 7 was revived after World War II in a black wrinkled paint version with other stylistic differences. The post-war serial numbers are H64000-H193575 indicating another 129,575 were made after the War. Mine is the post war version with a serial number of H170391. According to The Typewriter Database that makes mine from 1948. It is in very good working condition and comes with the case in good condition. All keys work well. As noted with the Remington Noiseless Portable and the Underwood Noiseless, the keys appear not to hit the platen. They do, however. Therefore you don't need to strike the keys too hard. Mine was purchased on December 5, 2009 for $22.50 on the last day of the estate sale of the famous amateur filmmaker Sid Laverents at his home in Bonita, California. (See Bruce Weber, "Sid Laverents, Auteur of Homemade Films Dies at 100, N.Y. Times May 16, 2009).) It was the last day of the sale and the typewriter was 25% off its posted price of $30. I also purchased an Olivetti Lettera 33 for $13.50. The discussion of the Olivetti Lettera 33 has more information on Sid Laverents.|
|Remington Super-Riter (1952) (Large image) standard desktop manual typewriter made in USA by Remington Rand. Date is from The Typewriter Database which indicates the model was made from 1949 to 1959. In 1951 the computer division of Remington Rand introduced the UNIVAC I, the first commercial computer made in the US. (Wikipedia - Univac I) In 1952 Univac I predicted correctly the results of the 1952 presidential election in which the Republican Eisenhower prevailed over Democrat Stevenson. A great YouTube video is Remington Rand Presents the Univac. Less than 35 years later personal computers having much more computer power than the room sized UNIVAC I and perhaps costing less in constant dollars than a 1952 Remington Super-Riter became the norm for word processing and rendered typewriters largely obsolete. I couldn't find the new price for a Remington Super-Riter, but Montgomery Ward offered a rebuilt Super-Riter in their 1961 catalog for $95.50 as explained in the interesting Web page, Re-built Typewriters. The third page of Re-built Typewriters indicates that rebuilt typewriters were upwards of 1/3 the price of new typewriters. $95.50 in 1961, by the way, is equal to over $700 in 2008 dollars and about $350 in 1986 dollars. The first Univac I cost close to a million dollars in 1951, or over $8 million dollars in 2008 dollars. (About.com - Inventors of the Modern Computer.)|
Another computer connection is that Commodore, which made one of the first personal computers, the PET, and the largest selling computer, the Commodore 64, made mechanical calculators and typewriters before computers. Their Commodore Standard typewriter was a Remington Super-Riter clone as explained at Commodore Typewriters, part of the same Web site as Re-built Typewriters.
A 1953 National Geographic Magazine has an ad for the Super-Riter stating: "She's got rhythm . . . She's got tested tempo touch . . . on her new Remington Super-riter. TESTED TEMPO TOUCH is a truly remarkable innovation in typebar action and key design. It makes manual typing faster, easier, and truly rhythmic. And that isn't all. The new Super-riter also features:
My Remington Super-Riter was purchased at a garage sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego on 9-13-08 for $5. It is in good cosmetic and working condition. Some keys stuck at first but then loosened up. There is an old label on the front and some paint loss where the hands rest. There is a label on the side for Hutchinson Business Machines, with a phone number of AT1-45(?)17. Perhaps it was in Hutchinson, Kansas before San Diego, although that may have just been the name of the company. All in all a cool 1950s standard typewriter.
|Remington Quiet-Riter (circa 1958) (Large image, Side image.) a 1950s manual portable typewriter by Remington-Rand. Looking at magazine advertisements on the Internet, the Quiet-Riter appears to have been made from about 1951 to at least the late 1950s. Made in USA. Solid metal construction. Mine is serial no. QR 3492823 which gives it a 1958 date according to the Typewriter Database. (The numbers there actually begin with EQR and mine only has QR.) The serial no. is on a piece of chrome metal on the right side accessible by lifting the cover. A 1956 ad indicates it came in four colors - Desert Sage, White Sand, Mist Green and French Gray. Mine is apparently the Desert Sand and is similar in color to the Underwood Leader above. Mine was purchased at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 3-17-07 for $10. It is in good cosmetic and operating condition including the ribbon. At first numerous keys stuck. I sprayed the joints of each key mechanism heavily with WD-40 and worked the keys. Once I did this all of the keys worked. It comes with a case in okay condition. The latch appears to be in the locked position. The velvet like interior is also slightly deteriorating. It appears to have been a widely sold typewriter and numerous sites discuss it. Will Davis Portable Typewriter Reference Site, warrenworks.com (a series of 14 beautiful black and white photos), simmonsphotos.com, mrtypewriter, nkclifton.|
|Remington Monarch (1963) (Large image) serial no. 277585 giving it a date of 1963 according to The Typewriter Database. The Will Davis Remington Page at Machines of Loving Grace indicates that it was introduced in 1961 with a simplified version in 1964. The Monarch name goes back to the early 20th century. The Union Typewriter Company, a large conglomerate of companies before the antitrust laws, around 1903-1904 formed the Monarch Typewriter Company which developed a new machine by the same name. (www.willdavis.org/uniton.html.) In 1913 Union was reorganized and became the Remington Typewriter Company. (Id.) Remington, of course, had been around since the 1870s having produced the original Sholes Glidden machine and its successors. Around 1914 to 1915 the Monarch factory was shut down with the production being transferred to the Remington plant and the typewriter now carrying the Remington name. (Id.) The name was used for several portable models in the 1930s. (See Remington - Machines of Loving Grace.) The name reappears with this model in the 1960s. This typewriter was made in Holland by Remington Rand. Remington Rand also made computers by this time including the first commercial electronic computer, UNIVAC, in 1951. Vintage Paper Ads has a 1961 ad explaining how the Remington Monarch will make getting "A's" in school easy. Google News shows an ad for the Remington Monarch in the September 4, 1961 Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper (page B-7) for $79.95. $79.95 in 1961 has the same buying power as $606 in 2011. The typewriter is of all metal construction. It has a basket shift. It types very well. I purchased my Remington Monarch on Friday September 30, at a garage sale advertised on Craigslist in the San Carlos area of San Diego for about $10. (Listed for $15. I bought this and a Olivetti Lettera 32 for $20 total.) My Remington Monarch typewriter in very good working and cosmetic condition. It comes with a hard fake leather zippered case also in good condition. The case had foam padding which had deteriorated. I scrapped it off with a credit card since it was getting everything dirty. The same thing happened to a similar Monarch for sale at Esty. My typewriter had a sticker from "King's Office Equipment, 3043 University Ave., San Diego, Calif."|
|Rover 5000 Super DeLuxe, (circa 2005) (Large Image) a modern portable, manual typewriter made in China with a primarily plastic case and a plastic cover with handle that fits over the typewriter. Appears to currently be made by Shanghai Weilv Mechanism Company in Shanghai, China. Mine is very similar to the one at their Web site with some minor differences in the location of the tab key and the color selection lever (mine) or dial (at their Web site). They list the weight as 4.8 kg and the dimensions as 355 x 130 x 365mm. This machine is discussed at "December 2005: The Olivetti MS25 Premier, and the Rover 5000". It appears similar to the Olivetti MS 25 Premier Plus Portable Manual Typewriter sold new at Heaster Lawson Business Products for $116.99. That typewriter is described at Advanced Business Machines Co. as the "only new Portable Manual Typewriter for sale today." The Rover 5000 is also available for sale at Dr. Leonard's for $79.99. Mine was purchased at a San Carlos area of San Diego garage sale for $1 around May 2007. It is in good cosmetic and mechanical condition except the ribbon doesn't lift up correctly. It may just need to be installed correctly. Coincidentally, I purchased a Univega Rover bicycle at the same garage sale - no relation!|
|Royal Model 10, manufactured from 1914 to 1938. Mine is the later single beveled glass side window model and according to The Typewriter Database was manuafactured in 1924 (serial number X 842670). While made by Royal, there is another old decal that says "Regal Typewriter Company, Inc.," "Like-Nu," "Regal Rebuilt Typewriter," "524 Broadway, New York, USA," leading me to speculate that it may have been a reconditioned or rebuilt model. A decal on the front indicates it was sold or perhaps serviced by "Nickel's Business Machines, Inc., Sales-Service-Rentals, 5204 Lomas, N.E., Albuquerque, N.M. Phone AM 8-8131." According to mytypewriter.com the Royal 10 is "considered as one of the best manual machines ever made." (See also MrTypewriter.com.) Purchased for $20 on October 15, 2005 at a La Mesa (CA) garage sale on the street I grew up on! It is in very good cosmetic and working condition. It only needs a new ribbon. The decals have some wear and there is some wear to the paint on the bar on the front. There is some cracking of the paint in the back, but in general the glossy black paint is in very good condition. It is very clean for a machine over 80 years old. The arm inside for the "O" is slightly bent but works well. After some use, none of the keys stick. The typewriter originally belonged to the seller's mother who used it in an Albuquerque trailer park business. Very cool machine! Large View, Side View.|
|Royal Model 10 (1922) double beveled glass side window model and according to The Typewriter Database manuafactured in 1922 (serial number X 728380) making it my oldest typewriter by two years. Purchased for $20 on August 5, 2006 at a garage sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego. It is in good cosmetic and working condition although it needs a new ribbon and a good cleaning. There is considerable rust on the unpainted surfaces, but much of it seems to be surface rust. All of the keys work. The typewriter was used in seller's family business back east and was acquired with the business. Large View, Side View, Back View.|
|Royal Portable (Model 1) (1928) (Large Image) introduced in 1926, this is the first Royal portable model. (See The Portable Typewriter Website and Royal Portable Typewriters.) Mine is from 1928 according to The Typewriter Database. (The serial number begins with a P. I assume it is a "Portable Standard" in the database.) Adclassix.com has an ad for a new model 1930 Royal Portable different from mine. The ad says "still only $60." According to the Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator, $60 in 1928 has the same buying power as $740 in 2008. I purchased my Royal Portable for only $5 (plus sales tax) at a San Carlos area of San Diego commercial estate sale on 2-23-08. A lot of other things were quite pricey and I considered it a great deal. It is in very good cosmetic and working condition. Only one key sticks. A working modern ribbon is installed. No rust. The glossy black paint is in great condition. (The textured look in the photo is the reflection of the stucco on my house.) The decals are present although the top one is a little worn. The glass key caps are in great shape with a couple showing a little dirt. It is mounted on the base of the case. It looks like it does not come off that base without unscrewing it in four places. The case is wood with a black covering. The handle is missing (someone substituted a string and tape substitute). The latch works fine. The case shows significant wear especially around the edges. The Portable Typewriter Website indicates while many were made, they are relatively rare today with perhaps three a year appearing on eBay. That Web site indicates they do not necessarily command high prices, however, with the author acquiring one for 15 British pounds. That same site indicates, apparently as a promotional stunt, that 11,000 of them were delivered to distribution sites via a parachute drop from airplanes. Only half a dozen were damaged, demonstrating the durability of this well made typewriter.|
|Royal Portable (Model 1) with Duotone Blue Paint (1930) (Large Image) introduced in 1926, this is the first Royal portable model. (See The Portable Typewriter Website and Royal Portable Typewriters.) Mine, serial no. P132953, is from 1930 according to The Typewriter Database. Mine was purchased on 7-29-2010 from an ad on Craigslist in Encinitas, CA for $30. It is in nice condition. Cosmetically there is paint wear where the hands rest. There is also some paint crackling to the left of the Royal emblem where the paper sits. It does not appear to be due to rust. There is no significant rust on the typewriter and it is quite clean. Mechanically it works well although it needs a new ribbon. The K key was not working at all when I got it. Upon inspection, I could see that that one of the metal rods was not properly connected to the K key. With considerable effort, and using a hook tool I had in my typewriter repair tools, I was able to re-attach it. The K key now works fine. The typewriter came with a Gregg, Typewriting for Colleges book and workbook 1 with a 1964 copyright date. Some cleaning tools were also included. The seller said his mother bought the typewriter used to go college. The case has an Occidental College sticker on it. I also bought an early 1950s Zenith Trans-oceanic radio in great cosmetic condition from the seller for $25.|
|Royal Portable (Model 1) with Painted Wood Grain (1929) (Large Image) another Royal Portable Model 1, this time with a painted simulated wood grain. (See generally The Portable Typewriter Website and Royal Portable Typewriters.) Mine, serial no. P91598, is from 1929 according to The Typewriter Database. Mine was purchased on 11-21-10 at a garage/estate sale in the Mt. Helix area of El Cajon, CA. It was marked at $100, but I eventually negotiated a sales price of $55. That's relatively high compared to my other Royal Portable Model 1 typewriters, but the wood grain paint makes it desirable. A wood grain model 1 in good condition sold on eBay on 11-20-10 for $137.50 plus $16.50 shipping. Mine is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition. All keys work. There is no rust. There is some crazing of the paint as a result of age. It comes with the case in good condition. There is only one end of the leather handle remaining. These cases are often missing the leather handles which deteriorate with age.|
|Royal Portable (Second Version) (1931) (Large Image) This is the second Royal portable design with covers over the ribbon which lift up to the side. (See Royal Portable Typewriters.) Mine is from 1931 if I'm reading the information from the The Typewriter Database correctly. (The serial number begins with a P. I assume it is a "Portable Standard" in the database.) Adclassix.com has an ad for a new model 1930 Royal Portable like mine. The ad says "still only $60." According to the Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator, $60 in 1931 has the same buying power as $864 in 2008. $60 was a lot of money at the time considering it was in the early years of the Great Depression. Purchased on 7-31-08 as one of 23 typewriters and mechanical calculators for a total of $200 in Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA). It is in very good cosmetic and working condition. Keys don't stick. (One or two were a little slow but loosened up with use.) The glossy black paint is in great condition. The glass key caps are in great shape with a couple showing a little dirt. It is mounted on the base of the case. It looks like it does not come off that base without unscrewing it in four places. The case is wood with a black covering. The latch works fine. The case shows wear around the edges.|
|Royal KHM (1935) (Large Image) Serial no. H-1707829 which according to the The Typewriter Database makes it from 1935. It appears to be a model KHM comparing it to photos at MyTypewriter.com, Classic Royal Model KHM - Johnston Type-Writer Conservatory, MrTypewriter.com and Machines of Loving Grace. Mine is different, however, in that it has decimal tabs. When a serial number is given for the KHM machines above, it apparently starts KHM while mine only starts with an H. I'm not sure whether my machine with decimal tabs gets a different model designation. For now I'll continue to assume its a KHM. Royal proclaimed my exact model to be "a long step towards perfection in a 1934 ad available on eBay which states: "Royal again advances the standard of typewriter value. The New and Greater Easy-Working Royal climaxes all previous conceptions of typewriter design and construction. From every standpoint, it marks a long step toward prefection. In easier, quieter operation, finer typing, greater volume, longer life, this latest Royal is the very zenith of efficiency. The price is unchanged." It continues: "Seventeen major improvements including touch control, muted action, automatic paper lock, increased dust protection, finger comfort keys, minimized eye strain [and] improved shift control."|
I bought my Royal KHM at a Chula Vista, CA garage sale on July 17, 2010 for $10. It had been listed on Craigslist. It had belonged to the seller's parents. The seller's dad had passed away earlier in 2010 and the mom had passed away several years earlier. The typewriter appears to have been well cared for during its earlier life but fell on tough times in more recent years having been stored in an unfinished basement. Typically California houses do not have basements except where the house is built on a hill like this one. Then you often get basement or storage areas with bare ground and hence a lot of moisture. Moisture and typewriters don't go well together. This typewriter therefore had a lot of rust! All the keys, the shift control and the carriage were frozen. I do not recommend doing the following but nevertheless I sprayed liberal amounts of water soluble citrus degreaser on all the internal parts. I hosed it down with water being careful not to hit the glass keys. I figured water might get into the glass keys and destroy the letter labels. I then carefully dried it first with a towel and then with a hair dryer. I then liberally applied Tri-Flow lubricant to the internal parts. To release the frozen typebars I carefully grabbed each and moved it back and forth while lubricating each joint. Eventually all the typebars moved freely. The shift and shift lock work fine. The carriage moves freely with the carriage release. The carriage is still not advancing however when a letter or space bar is pressed. I need to investigate further. Perhaps something is wrong with the escapement. I polished the cover area which I had removed with car polish. The paint on the area where the paper lays had been bubbled and came off during cleaning. I repainted these areas with Universal Black car touch up paint. It doesn't look great, but it is black. The typewriter is also missing the side cover/window on the left side. Much of the chrome is pitted and rusted. Overall, it cleaned up nicely and looks a lot better. It is still not a show piece, however. I would only clean up a typewriter in this manner it you know it has a minimal value like $10. If you have a rare, pricey or sentimental machine to restore, it is is best to take it to a professional restorer and have it carefully disassembled, cleaned in a non-water based solvent, reassembled, adjusted and carefully lubricated. I put on a lot of lubricant which may gum up and attract dirt in the future. At least it should impede further rust, however. All in all it was satisfying giving some new life to an old machine.
|Royal De Luxe Portable (Large Image) (1937) This is a gorgeous Royal De Luxe Portable with crinkle black paint, chrome stripes and glass keys. My Royal DeLuxe, in almost new condition, was purchased at a Point Loma (San Diego) garage sale on January 12, 2013 for $10. All keys work well. It needs a new ribbon. It comes with the case that is in good condition. (Some of the black paper covering needed to be glued back down on the edges and the latches needed oil.) The typewriter is from 1937 according to The Typewriter Database. (Serial number is A696861.) The serial number is under the platen on the left side. Royal called it the "world's finest portable" typewriter. An advertising ink blotter had a photo of a baby and stated: "Born with a silver spoon. The New Royal Portable De Luxe. The only portable with everything!" The typewriter was produced from 1935 until the 1941 when the Royal Quiet DeLuxe was introduced according to the table at Wikipedia - Royal Typewriter Company. The typewriter is discussed at several sites: esty.com, Royal - Machines of Loving Grace, mytypewriter.com, and type-writers.blogspot.com. Esty.com has one modified to become a computer keyboard and a place to mount an iPad!|
|Royal KMM (1941) (Large Image) Standard desktop typewriter made in the United States. The pictured typewriter is from 1941 according to The Typewriter Database. (Serial number is KMM 2727377.) The serial numbers are under the platen on the right side. The KMM model was first introduced in 1938 or 1939 and appears to have continued until 1948. The basic typing mechanisms are the same as with the earlier Royal Model 10 above, but you can see the trend to fully enclose the working mechanisms. The KMM introduced the Royal "Magic Margin" system. To set the margin, you simply went to where you wanted the margin set and then pressed the "Magic Margin" key. The KMM gets high marks from typewriter aficionados. Machines of Loving Grace states: "These are great machines. Get one if you find one." Mr. Typewriter.com states it is "sturdy and built to last." Will Davis states: "These are rugged and reliable machines which are so common today because they sold so well at the time. They are truly first-class typewriters in every sense of the word." The poet John Ashbery used a Royal KMM, Why I Still Use a Manual Typewriter, as does the author Joan Didion, Reuven Fenton, "Last Word on Typewriter Not Written Yet," Gulf Times (11-7-2007). The model KMM was preceded by the model KHM which had round raised covers over the ribbons as seen at Classic Royal Model KHM. I have three KMM typewriters. The pictured one and another were purchased in La Mesa, CA on 1-3-09 from an ad on Craigslist for $20 for both. They had belonged to the seller's aunt and had been stored by his dad. The seller had a request to take off and sell the glass keys only. Luckily, he did not want to do that. These two machines are in decent condition. With the pictured one, several keys stuck but after some lubrication they all seem to work now. The third was purchased on 7-31-08 as one of 23 typewriters and mechanical calculators at a total cost of $200 in the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon, CA. It is in fairly rough condition.|
|Royal KMG (1949) (Large Image) Standard desktop typewriter made in the United States. The pictured typewriter is from 1949 according to The Typewriter Database. (Serial number is KMG 3933251.) The serial number is under the platen on the right side. According to The Typewriter Database, 1949 was the first year for the KMG. According to The Classic Typewriter Page Nobel Prize winner author Saul Bellow used a Royal KMG. (See Wikipedia - Saul Bellow for general information about Saul Bellow.) I think I got this at a La Mesa, CA estate sale in 2009 for $14. It had a $28 sticker on it. I think it was the second day of the sale and I got it for half price. It is in decent shape. It has some minor rust, a lot of dust, the carriage advance needs assistance and several keys stick. I have not tried to do anything with it yet.|
|Royal Quiet Deluxe (1952) (Large Image) On the typewriter itself, spelled "Royal Quiet De Luxe" with a space between the "e" and "l" in "Deluxe." The Royal Quiet Deluxe model varied throughout at least the 1940s and 1950s. This style is identified at MrTypewriter.com and The Portable Typewriter Reference Site as being from the early 1950s. My serial number appears to be AG 2,642,94_ (can't read last number and some other numbers are not clear). This makes it from 1952 according to The Typewriter Database. I distinguish this version from the others by the fancy chrome work around the touch and color selector levers on the front of the typewriter. The Royal Deluxe was noted as being a solid working machine and an earlier version was the favorite portable typewriter of Ernst Hemingway. It is praised at Chris Orcutt, On the Virtures of Typewriters and Pencils, www.orcutt.net. Its specifications in computer terms are set forth humorously at Lowendmac.com. Mine was purchased at a San Carlos area of San Diego garage sale around March 8, 2008 (give or take a week) for $15. It is in good working and cosmetic condition - a very solid, useable machine. It comes in its original case in good condition except for staining on the bottom. It came with a manual for a later Royal typewriter.|
|Royal Quiet Deluxe (1952) (Large Image) (also Royal Quiet De Luxe) Mine is serial number RA 2823179. The serial number is on the left side under the carriage. (See photo.) According to The Typewriter Database it was made in 1954. The machine is similar to the one above with stylistic differences. To set the tabs and margins, you lift the plate on the carriage. (See photo.) I purchased this at the annual garage sales along Fairway Drive in an unincorporated area of La Mesa, California (near Lemon Grove and Spring Valley) in the Summer of 2009 for $5. There was some white debris on the keys which largely came off. The "n" and the "i" keys stick. The ribbon is in good shape. (See sample of text.) It came with its original case in good condition.|
|Royal Forward I (1961) (Large Image) Date is from the date of an Operating Instructions listed at The Shannon L. Johnson Typewriter Collection. It looks almost identical to the Royalite typewriter below. Like the Royalite typewriters below, it was made in Holland. It was made for Montgomery Ward department stores. The little symbol to the left of the name is the Montgomery Ward symbol (M over W). An ad in the August 9, 1961 Kingsman (N.Y.) Daily Freeman newspaper gives the price in the new Fall/Winter Montgomery Ward catalog as $57.77. That's equal to the buying power of $421.54 in 2010 dollars, about the price of a budget laptop and printer in 2010. That budget laptop would exceed the computing power of computers costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in 1961. By April 20, 1962 the price had been reduced to $54.88 from $62.89 according to an ad in the Red Bank Register newspaper. It came in three color schemes - blue/gray, gray/gray, beige/gray. It came with a luggage type case. The typewriter just sits in the case. It is not fastened to the bottom. I purchased mine in good cosmetic and operating condition with a good case for $5 at a La Mesa, CA estate sale on 7-8-10.|
|Royalite (Large Image) Appears to be from the late 1950s to around 1965. For example, an ad is for sale from 1956 and S.L. Johnson Vintage Typewriter Collection lists one as 1964 and another as 1965. S.L. Johnson Vintage Typewriter Collection also lists "Instructions for Use and Care of a Royalite Typewriter, 1959." The Portable Typewriter Reference Site shows a couple of different Royalite models, one called the Royalite 64 which may be from 1964. There appears to have been multiple Royalite models. All were similar, small, light-weight portables, but with various cosmetic differences. I purchased it for $5 at a garage sale in early 2007. The elderly gentleman said he used it when a student at San Diego State University around 1960. It is made in Holland and comes with a fabric case. The typewriter is in good working condition.|
|Royalite (Large Image) another version of the Royalite. This one has primarily metal construction. It is also made in Holland and comes with a similar soft brief case style of case. This looks like the Royalite 64 at the Portable Typewriter Reference Site which I assume may be from 1964. The Serial number is 4987006. Purchased at a San Carlos area (San Diego) estate sale on 12-30-07 for $2.50. I had purchased two other machines when the seller mentioned he had thrown two other manual typewriters in the dumpster. It survived the trip to the dumpster well. It is in good working condition. It could use a cleaning and has several scratches by the space bar. It also needs a new ribbon.|
|1965 Royal Aristocrat (Large Image) This script font typewriter was delivered to the original owner on October 4, 1965. The serial number A15940915 is located under the carriage on the left. The box and case were damaged in transit, but the typewriter was not damaged. The purchaser asked for a new case. Since the case I have is in great condition, his request was apparently eventually granted. The correspondence appears to have been typed with this typewriter and provides a nice sample of the script typeface. The Aristocrat model name may have been used since the 1920s. The Typewriter Database refers to "Portable Standard, Arrow, Speed King, Aristocrat, and Quiet DeLuxe" models going back to 1927. Mr. Typewriter has a 1941 model and refers to pre- World War II models. The Aristocrat was apparently the high end version of portable line at any given time. A Royal Quiet Deluxe and an Aristocrat would be largely the same machine, but the Aristocrat would have a few more features. For example, a 1950s Aristocrat looked like my 1952 Royal Deluxe above. Vintage Typewriters has a 1963 Aristocrat like mine and states it looks almost identical to the 1963 Royal Safari. The styling change from those made in the 1950s compared to the 1963 and later Aristocrat typewriters was rather dramatic. I like the sculptured front and the bright baby blue or sky blue color. While it has the fashionable space age or atomic age look to it, Royal emphasizes below the Aristocrat name that it is still "made in the USA" and on the back that it has "rugged Royal all-metal structural design." The "all-metal structural design" apparently allows for the white plastic front. It is a solidly made machine that types well. Mine is in excellent cosmetic condition with just a few scratches from putting it in and out of the case. It is also in excellent working condition except the "2" key often hits the cover when coming up. My typewriter has a "1" key. An earlier 1963 Aristocrat sold on Etsy.com did not have a "1" key instead having the user use the small letter "l" key instead. Perhaps squeezing in a "1" key is the cause of my adjacent "2" key hitting the cover when it comes up. My 1965 Royal Aristocrat came with the case in excellent condition and the original paperwork including the warranty card, the instruction booklet/poster (Reverse Side), "The Speed Typing Chart," the 1954 "Touch Typing in 5 Easy Lessons," and the correspondence regarding the damage to the original case. I purchase it for $5 at a January 14, 2012 garage sale on Jackson Drive in the San Carlos area of San Diego. I also purchased a Smith-Corona portable and Sears branded Smith-Corona portable, both also likely from the 1960s, for $5 each at the same garage sale.|
|Royal Alpha 2002 (1983) Date from warranty. A portable, daisywheel, electronic typewriter with correcting features similar to a Selectric. Made by Royal Business Machines, Inc., a subsidiary of Triumph-Adler. Made in West Germany. Triumph-Adler was historically a German company although at various times they were acquired by Litton, Volkswagen and Olivetti. According to the Triumph-Adler Web site, in 2003 "Kyocera Mita acquire[d] 25 % of TA Triumph-Adler AG's equity capital." Royal Typewriter Company was founded in 1906 (in the United States) according to the Royal Consumer Information Products, Inc. Web site. According to Wikipedia Royal was acquired by Litton in the 1970s at which time they ceased the production of typewriters but continued to market them under the Royal Adler name. Wikipedia indicates the company is now owned by Olivetti, the Italian company dating back to 1908 and also famous for its typewriters. You could purchase a custom interface system which allowed you to connect the typewriter to a computer so it could be used as a printer. It was expensive, however, with the standard interface system retailing for $299.95 ($627.46 in 2007 dollars) and the memory interface system with 4K memory (about two pages of text) retailing for $349.95 ($732.06). They also sold a word processing program called SuperWord for the VIC-20 and Commodore 64K which retailed for $99.95. Purchased for $5 at a yard sale in the Rolando area of San Diego (south of University Avenue) in the area's annual neighborhood yard sales on 8-4-07. In excellent cosmetic and working condition producing very clear text. To show how cheap typewriters are now, and how nearly obsolete they are, I passed on a Xerox Memory Writer up the street with LCD window that was selling for $3.|
|Silver-Reed 730 Tabulator manual portable typewriter made in Japan by Silver Seiko, Ltd. Serial no. 92603972. Japanese Portable Manual Typewriters, part of the Will Davis, Portable Typewriter Reference Site, indicates Silver Seiko was one of the three big Japanese typewriter companies, the other two being Brother and Nakajima. According to that Web page, Silver Seiko made many small, metal portable manual typewriters for Litton Industries from 1965 to 1974 under the Royal or Imperial brand names. My typewriter looks very similar to many of the Royal and Imperial machines on that page. After 1974 the typewriters carried the Silver-Reed name independent of Litton. Later in the 1970s Korean clones of the Silver Seiko machines appeared under the Clover brand, according to Clover from Korea at the Will Davis, Portable Typewriter Reference Site. Mine is made of metal. It has a plastic cover that snaps to the top of the typewriter. The enclosed metal bottom of the typewriter forms the rest of the case. Mine was purchased for $5 at a La Mesa, CA garage sale a couple of blocks from my house on 10-18-09 for $5. It is in good cosmetic and working condition. All keys work. The ribbon still has life. It is generally quite clean except for White-Out and White-Out dust here and there.|
|Silver Reed Model 225 C, made in Japan by Silver Seiko, Ltd. (Company identification not verified.) The 225C is similar to an IBM Selectric II, introduced in 1971, with the same "golf ball" typing elements. Like the Selectric II, the 225C's correcting feature lifts the mistake off the page. Also like the Selectric, the 225C is built like a tank weighing in at about 50 pounds! It is in good cosmetic and working condition although the return key is a bit slow. It cost $5 at a garage sale in La Mesa on March 12, 2005. It came with eleven IBM Selectric I/II typing elements (not interchangeable with Selectric III elements which have additional characters). The price of a Selectric I in the early 1970s was about $500. (IBM site) The Washington Wilderness Coalition reports purchasing a Silver-Reed in 1981 for $43 per month for three years! Astonishing since the cost of inflation has increased over four times since the early 1970s and over two times since 1980. My Averatec laptop with a color printer cost only $700. Reconditioned Selectrics still cost up to $500 today with new typing elements at $40. (See www.typewriters.com.)|
|Singer Scholastic Typewriter (Large Image) (1963) Date is from a part of an eBay listing. The listing was no longer available so I could not identify that it was the exact model. The case and typewriter were made in England. The outer body and the bottom of the typewriter are plastic. The bottom is also plastic. The bottom serves as one side of the plastic case. The 1963 date seems reasonable with a move from metal to plastic in some machines by that time. It is similar to some Royalite typewriters at the time. Its construction is also similar to the modern Rover made in China. It was purchased on 4-4-09 during the last hour at a Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA) estate sale for $6.25 when things were half price. It is in good cosmetic and working condition except the space bar sticks sometimes.
Singer was formed in 1851 in New York City and is best known for its sewing machines. The Singer Web site celebrates its long history. The Scholastic name was also used as a sewing machine model. In 1965 Singer acquired Friden calculator company. The sewing machine and electronic devices divisions were split and sold in 1989 and 1990 according to Wikipedia - Singer Corporation. The company today appears to concentrate again in sewing machines but also has other products. Brother also made both typewriters and sewing machines in the 1960s.
A much earlier connection between typewriters and sewing machines was the very first commercially successful typewriter, the Sholes & Glidden, made in 1874. As explained at The Virtual Typewriter Museum, the original Sholes & Glidden was on a sewing machine platform with the foot treadle operating the carriage return. It was manufactured by E. Remington & Sons, which at the time made sewing machines as well as Remington firearms. By 1883 the typewriter operations were sold off, but with the continued right to use the Remington name. (See The Virtual Typewriter Museum - Remington 2.)
|Corona 4 (Large Image) (March-April 1928) Introduced in 1924 by Corona Typewriter Company, Inc., of Groton, New York. By 1926, Corona had merged with L.C. Smith to become L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriter Inc, or the familiar Smith Corona. The Model 4 continued to be made until 1941, a very long sales history for any product. My typewriter was made in March or April of 1928 according to the excellent serial number information at the S.L. Johnson site. Since this was after the merger, I have put my model 4 under Smith Corona. There are many cosmetic similarities to the Model 3 listed under Corona in the museum with the main differences being that the Model 4 did not fold and has 4 rows of keys instead of three as discussed at typewriter.be. My Model 4 was purchased through an ad on Craigslist in the Clairemont area of San Diego on 6-13-08 with 4 other typewriters and an adding machine, all of similar vintage for $75. I think we allocated between $5 to $15 for this machine. It is in good cosmetic condition. The keys don't touch the platen, however, and the platen doesn't move as the keys or spacebar are struck. The top to the right spool has also come off (but I have it). Given its good cosmetic condition, I'm hopeful these things can be fixed. It comes with the case in good condition.|
|Corona 4 - Mountain Ash Scarlet (Large Image, Side View) (January-February 1930) My typewriter was made in January or February of 1930 according to the excellent serial number information at the S.L. Johnson site. It is, of course, largely the same as the Model 4 above with one startling difference - it's red (Mountain Ash Scarlet with a crackle finish of black, to be exact). The Dupont Duco finishes are explained in depth at the S.L. Johnson site. They were used in the automobile industry also. My serial number begins with S for the scarlet color. A similar fully restored one is shown at www.mytypewriter.com. Purchased on 7-31-08 as one of 23 typewriters and mechanical calculators for a total of $200 in Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA). (I learned that you can fit 23 machines in a Prius.) The seller was a former school secretary who, like myself, finds typewriters fascinating, but wanted to pass her collection on now. The typewriter is in good condition. The finish is very good. Most keys were sticking but I lubricated the mechanisms and freed them all but the 1/2, 1/4 key. The "a" key was stubborn, but I think I finally got it. (I figured I could do without the fraction key. The "a" is pretty important, however.) There is some rust on the exposed metal parts. It comes with at least the bottom of the case. (The top is around somewhere.)|
|Corona 4 - Channel Blue (Large Image) (May-June 1938) My typewriter was made in May or June of 1938 according to the excellent serial number information at the S.L. Johnson site. It was purchased from the same seller as the Mountain Ash Scarlet colored Corona 4 typewriter above. It is in very good working and cosmetic condition with a few scratches. Very little rust. All keys work without having to lubricate them. Comes with complete case in good condition.|
|L.C. Smith 8 (Large Image) This is a refurbished machine which must have been originally made somewhere between 1915 and 1923. 1915 was when the Model 8 was introduced. The Will Davis Collection has a similar Model 8 from 1923 but it has the later left hand carriage return. Mine has the older right hand carriage return. It appears to have been professionally repainted and likely refurbished at some time. There is no mention of the name except if you look very closely in the right light you can make out the impression of L.C. Smith where the decals were previously. I cannot find any serial number. It is not in the location of serial number on the L.C. Smith 8-10 below. It may have been removed during refurbishment or I am just missing it. While very similar to the L.C. Smith 8-10, the 8-10 has several panels which enclose the internal workings. With the No. 8 it is very easy to see what's going on inside. An excellent article on rebuilt and refurbished typewriters is at Re-built Typewriters. Mine is in good cosmetic and working condition except a few keys tend to stick and the ribbon is broken. Purchased on 7-31-08 as one of 23 typewriters and mechanical calculators for a total of $200 in Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA).|
|L.C. Smith 8-10 (Large Image) (1929) L.C. Smith Model 8 with a 10 inch platen. The L.C. Smith No. 8 in some form appears to have been made from 1915 to 1936. According to The Typewriter Database mine was made in 1929. These machines originally were made by L.C. Smith. By 1926 L.C. Smith had merged with Corona. Therefore, while this says L.C. Smith above the platen, it says "L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriters Inc." on the front. Earlier models were open on the sides as shown at S.L.Johnson Typewriters Collection, mellow60s.com and Powerhousemueseum.com. My No. 8 weighs in at over 30 pounds! Typewriter.be has a nice discussion about the 8-10 and the similar 8-11 Secretarial including vintage ads. Will Davis L.C. Smith Gallery also has the 8-10 and other L.C. Smith machines. Mytypewriter.com has a No. 8 as well as a later No. 8 Silent which looks quite different. My No. 8 was purchased through an ad on Craigslist in the Clairemont area of San Diego on 6-13-08 with 4 other typewriters and an adding machine, all of similar vintage for $75. I think we allocated between $5 to $10 for this machine. It is in good cosmetic condition - some loss of decals, minor rust and dirty but generally okay. Also, curiously, several of the letters on the keypads are rotated. It is in good operating condition except the ribbon doesn't rise up. You can manually move it up so the keys strike it, however. It also needs a new ribbon.|
|L.C. Smith Super Speed, purchased April 23, 2005 at a San Carlos (San Diego) garage sale for $10, the Super Speed model was introduced in 1937. According to the owner it was used at a fuel dock on the bay in downtown San Diego in the 1940s and 1950s. It is in good working condition although the keys are covered with tape, it could use a good cleaning internally and externally, there is some minor rust, and it needs a new ribbon. The footprint is roughly 15" x 15" (38cm x 38cm), the height is about 10" (25cm), and the weight is about 35 pounds (16 kg). While the front identifies the make as L.C. Smith, the back has L.C. Smith & Corona, which was later known as Smith Corona. According to The Typewriter Database, the Super Speed was made between 1937 and 1953. If I could find the serial number I could pinpoint the exact year of manufacture. A 1940 magazine ad describes the Super Speed as "... a sensational triumph of typewriter design . . . an executive's ideal of economy and efficiency . . . a secretary's dream come true!"|
|Corona Standard (1941) part of the "Speedline" series, this portable has smooth flowing lines. It is in good cosmetic and working condition. The serial no. is 3C257519 giving it a manufacturing date of 1941 according to The Typewriter Database. As indicated on the back of the typewriter, made in USA by "LC Smith & Corona Typewriters Inc." This is after the merger of Smith and Corona companies, although the Corona name is still used alone as the model on the portables. The company name is the same on the Smith Corona Clipper below, although by the time of that typewriter they used the Smith Corona name on the front of the typewriter. Purchased in the San Carlos area of San Diego on 3-14-09. It was purchased with the Clipper below for a total of $30.|
|Smith Corona Clipper, (1948) Described as a "classic workhorse" at mytypewriter.com, this is really simply a renaming of the Corona Standard portable above. The name is apparently from the Pan Am Clipper aircraft of the 1930s. According to Machines of Loving Grace, this was the last of the Speedline series. The serial no. is 4C229421 giving it a date of 1948 according to The Typewriter Database. Purchased in the San Carlos area of San Diego on 3-14-09. It was purchased with the Standard above for a total of $30. The Clipper is in good cosmetic and working condition except the cord which advances the carriage return as you type is broken or not attached. I can see the end of it and plan to investigate further. Also, some of the letters on the keys are twisted. I see this occasionally on old typewriters and don't know how they get turned around.|
|Smith Corona Skyriter (circa 1950) (Large Image) I couldn't find the serial number for the date, but it looks like the 1950 model at Will Davis - Smith Corona Portables. In good cosmetic and working condition with the exception of a few sticky keys and a sometimes slow space bar. I haven't lubricated it yet. Several black and white photos of a similar one at www.warrenworks.com. The Skyriter, and the rest of the 1950's Smith Corona portable lineup, are labeled as among the best manual typewriters to use today at the Best Typers page. A 1954 ad is available at eBay Express for the 1950s lineup. The Skyriter is very small at about 12" x 11" x 3.5" with its metal cover on. It's the perfect 1950s laptop to take aboard that Douglas DC-3 prop plane or, by 1958, a Boeing 707 jet. (See U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission, The Opening of the Commercial Jet Era.) Purchased at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in the Rolando area of San Diego on 8-4-07 for $25.|
|Smith Corona Sterling (circa 1953) (Large image.) Date from The Typewriter Database (serial number 5A485573). Portable manual typewriter. Smith Corona Portables has an excellent discussion of the Smith Corona portable lineup in the 1950s. This typewriter was purchased at a San Carlos area (San Diego) estate/garage sale on 6-15-07 for $5. It is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition. It does have a bit of "White-Out" on it and could use a fresh ribbon. It comes with a case also in excellent condition.|
|Smith Corona Silent Super (1956) (Large Image.) Date from The Typewriter Database (serial number 5T 567475X). Portable manual typewriter. Smith Corona Portables has an excellent discussion of the Smith Corona portable lineup in the 1950s. It is the same typewriter as the one below but in a neat light green color and three strips on each side of top cover. Purchased at a garage sale in the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon, CA on 3-28-08 for about $15. It is in good mechanical and cosmetic condition except that several keys stick. I'm quite sure they just need oil. The mechanics of the typewriter are exceptionally clean. The case is in good working condition but has numerous scratches.|
|Smith Corona Silent Super (1957) (Side View - Large.) Date from The Typewriter Database (serial number 5T 567475X). Portable manual typewriter. Smith Corona Portables has an excellent discussion of the Smith Corona portable lineup in the 1950s. This typewriter was purchased on eBay around Spring 2007 for just under $20 including shipping. It is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition. It comes with a case also in excellent condition.|
|Smith Corona Portable Electric 5TE (1957) the first portable electric typewriter, it was introduced in 1957, the same year Sputnik was launched. It appears to be featured (brand name omitted) on the cover of the recent novel, Mary After All, by Bill Gordon (Dial Press 2005) as can be seen at amazon.com. It is quite compact with dimensions of about 12"X 12" X 5.5", but weighs in at a heafty 24 pounds with its all metal construction. Made in USA and uses 44 watts. Electric typewriters had been widely sold since the 1935 IBM Electric, but their expense delayed a portable version until the Smith Corona. Smith Corona's advertising targeted wealthy college students and small doctor and attorney offices stressing that the portable electric was less expensive that a desk manual typewriter. Several excellent sites, many with ads, feature this historic machine. See Electric Portables, Smith Corona Portables, Portable Typewriters, and McGuinnessonline (scroll down to ad for the 5TE, but peruse the other other business machines of that period in the process). My 5TE was purchased at a local garage sale on November 19, 2005 for $10. It is in excellent working and cosmetic condition and comes with a brown hard case. It has a sticker from El Cajon Typewriter which is still in business. Even the ribbon is in good shape.
I acquired a second one from an ad on Craigslist on Sunday June 8, 2008 in the City Heights area of San Diego, also for $10. It is also in good cosmetic and working condition with case, except the "z" key came loose from the typebar and isn't striking. I think it can be fixed, however.
|Smith Corona Electra 12 (Large Image) (circa 1960) Essentially a 5TE with a new name, a new color scheme, a larger platen (12" vs. about 9.25"), and a more modern piece above the platen with the Electra 12 name. That was the first of several design changes to come which would make the Smith Corona portables more angular with the coming decade. The Electra name was also used for many years to come. The date is from a 1960 magazine ad being sold on eBay. That ad also gives the price as $190.27 which the ad says is less than half the cost of a full size desk electric typewriter at $471.43 and even 20% less than a full size manual desk typewriter at $238.23. $190.27 was itself a hefty sum in 1960, however, equal to over $1,400 in 2008 dollars. For a third of $1,400 in 2008 you can get a budget laptop and an all in one printer/copier/scanner. My Electra 12 was purchased at a San Carlos area of San Diego estate sale less than a mile from my house on 7-19-08 for $10. It is in good working condition except the ribbon is broken. It did not come with a case, however.|
|Sears President 12 (circa 1961) Portable, manual typewriter. Made in USA. Comes with grey steel case typical of Smith Corona and Sears branded Smith Corona typewriters in the 1960s and 1970s. That and its general styling leads me to believe it is a Smith Corona. Date is an approximation from the title of an eBay listing. While the title shows up on several Internet sites, the actual listing is no longer present. I'm therefore not sure it is the same machine. The "President" name was used earlier with the Sears "Tower" brand as indicated in the delightful Web site freshribbon. That author's 1958 Tower President 12 is named Agnus. I'm not sure from that discussion whether she also has another Sears President 12. The Sears "Tower" name was used on many products including many fine cameras throughout the 1950s but appears to stop by the early 1960s. My Sears President 12 was purchased at the Thrift Coral in La Mesa, CA for $13 plus tax on 2-14-09. It was priced at $20, but everything was discounted 35% for Valentine's Day. It is in good working and cosmetic condition. It had a lot of dust and dusty "White Out" remains inside. It does not have an enclosed bottom so I was able to blow much of it out with a foot pump. It also included a small wooden handled Adler typewriter cleaning brush and a circular typewriter eraser with the plastic bristles at the end. The eraser and "White Out" dust all remind me why I hated typing on typewriter and why I loved when personal computers were available by the 1980s. It also included the original manual which does not have a date.|
|Smith Corona Sterling (circa 1963) (Side View - Large.) Portable, manual typewriter. Date is an approximation based on it looking similar to the blue Sterling at the bottom of the page at Smith Corona Portables. Serial number is 5AX195101. I don't know of a site with serial numbers for typewriters this recent. Purchased at a La Mesa, CA estate sale on 7-29-07 for $5. In fair cosmetic condition with some scratches and some rust where it looks like it rubbed against the case. There is also some very minor rust inside. A few keys stuck at first. I sprayed it with Tri-Flow lubricant and all keys now work although the "4" is still a little sticky. It types well with relatively clean, crisp type. Comes with the grey steel case typical of Smith Corona typewriters, both manual and electric, in the 1960s and 1970s.|
|SCM Smith Corona Poweriter, (1963) Date is from a magazine ad for sale on eBay. A cordless rechargeable portable electric typewriter purchased at a garage sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego on 6-3-06 for $5. I was surprised to find a rechargeable typebar typewriter. It is in very good cosmetic condition. I have not been able to get it to work, however. With the power cord attached, the power light comes on with or without the battery. The keys do not work, however. The battery "Power Pack" is at the bottom of the typewriter. It is a cylinder with the diameter of a D cell and about 15cm long. There was no leakage on the outside of the battery. I slit open the case to reveal four separate cells, shorter than D batteries. The cells are joined, but are easily torn apart. Clear liquid with a peculiar odor covered the cells. I relegated the battery to a firmly sealed Ziploc bag for proper disposal! I did not see any indication of the voltage of the cells and therefore have not tried some other kind of battery. The typewriter in AC mode has a 110/220 volt selector. The typewriter comes with the case and a general manual, although unfortunately the separate manual or instructions for the cordless model are not included. I don't know if a working battery is needed for it to work in AC mode. The 1963 ad which occasionally shows up on eBay reads: "Most people think portables are pretty much alike. . . until they find there's one with portable electricity. Smith-Corona Poweriter types electrically anywhere on its energy cell or plugged into any outlet (110 volts AC). And, like every Smith-Corona, its parts are guaranteed 5 long years. The cell is good for days of normal typing without recharging. The energy cell fits into a hidden compartment on the bottom of the typewriter. Just plug in Poweriter to recharge cell. You can also type at the same time. You know electric typing is fast, easy, beautiful. And now it's truly portable. The Poweriter types electrically outdoors, indoors, anywhere . . . with or without a cord. You won't have to pound the keys. Electricity does the work for you. You can underline a whole row of words just by holding down the underline key. Electricity also repeats dots, dashes, spaces and the letter "x." Automatically! Even hunt and peck typing looks expert, because electricity strikes each letter with the same even stroke. And, like every Smith-Corona, Poweriter's parts are guaranteed five full years. This is one reason more people buy American-made Smith-Coronas than any other portable." There is a one page "Personal Use Report" in the November 1963 Popular Science entitled "Electric Typewriter Has Battery, Will Travel." It is available at Google Books. (See also July 1963 Popular Science stating motor made by Black and Decker and power pack made by Gould National Batteries.") The November 1963 article states: "A nickel cadmium battery powers a 5.2 volt, permanent magnet DC motor that powers the keys." It weighs 26 pounds. The price was $199.50. $199.50 has the same buying power as $1,500 fifty years later in 2013! In 2013 you could buy 3 or 4 laptop computers and printers for $1,500! While I don't hear of many Poweriters, production had to continue until at least May 1966, the date of an ad in Boys Life Magazine that mentions the Poweriter. Also, Google Books refers to a 1968 Consumers Digest Magazine with an ad mentioning the Poweriter. A Yahoo Groups Discussion has several entries about the Poweriter. (See also Other Yahoo Groups Post.)|
|Smith Corona Super Sterling (circa 1965-1970) (Large Image) Portable, manual typewriter. Date is from a November 24, 2009 eBay listing which has a warranty registration card from October 1965. That mint condition Super Sterling sold for $49.95. Machines of Loving Grace also has a Super Sterling like mine and dates it to circa 1966. Google News has an advertisement from the June 18, 1970 St. Petersburg Times (page 4) for the Super Sterling from J. Byron Department Store on sale for $68 reduced from the regular price of $99. It lists the features as: "88 character office-size keyboard, full length tabulator, key sets and clears. Personal touch selector, quick-set visible margins. Complete with carrying case." I assume given the earlier dates above, it may have been a clearance item. $99 in 1965 has the same buying power as $680 in 2009, the price of a nice laptop computer or two "netbooks." $68 in 1970 has the same buying power as $379 in 2009 which can still get you a netbook and printer. Google News also has an ad from the August 14, 1969 Milwaukee Sentinel for a Super Sterling for $72. The ad notes it comes in the following colors: Slate Gray, Bengal Tan, Oasis Green, or Starmist Blue. It also came in Pica or Elite typeface. That ad also shows three other SCM typewriters: a Coronet Electric 12 for $119.97, a Corsair manual for only $36.97 and a Galaxie Deluxe manual for $88.45. Smith Corona's Figurematic Adding Machine (addition, subtraction and multiplication by repeat addition) was $56.90 (same buying power as $335 in 2009 dollars). Machines of Loving Grace - Evolution of the Sterling notes that the Smith Corona Sterling line continued for five decades. Mine was purchased at a garage/estate sale in Spring Valley, CA (near Casa de Oro) on December 26, 2009 for $10. It is in excellent cosmetic and working condition. Comes with the grey steel case typical of Smith Corona typewriters, both manual and electric, in the 1960s and 1970s.|
|SCM Smith Corona Electra 120 (circa 1968) portable electric typebar typewriter. It was purchased on 5-19-06 for $2.50 at a La Mesa garage sale. In good cosmetic and operating condition with case, although the latch for the case does not work. This is very similar to a 1966 Sears electric typewriter made by Smith Corona which my parents bought my sister and which I used frequently. My sister's had a power return, which this does not. In constant dollars an electric typewriter like this cost as much as a good computer with printer today. Made in USA.|
|Sears Medalist Power 12 (circa 1966) portable electric typebar typewriter. Purchased at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 7-26-08 for $3. This is essentially the same as my sister's 1966 Sears electric typewriter made by Smith Corona which my parents bought my sister and which I used frequently. My sister's was gold where this is blue. This is in good cosmetic and working condition except the x key, which is to repeat when held down, is very touchy. It will sometimes continue to repeat even when not held down. Adjusting the touch selector knob on the bottom of the typewriter does not seem to help. It comes with the manual and case both in good condition. Made in USA. While it is clearly a Smith Corona, it does not say Smith Corona anywhere on the machine or manual from what I can see. Besides the name change, there are subtle cosmetic differences from the named Smith Corona machines at the time. For example, this typewriter has a lighted name plate. Also, the cover over the keys has a slight bend to it as an accent, while the covers on the machines with the Smith Corona name are smooth.|
|SCM Coronet Automatic 12 (Large Image) Described at mrtypewriter as "vintage 1970's," "[b]eautifully crafted and light to the touch." Flickr.com has one belonging to a grandmother who refuses to move on to a computer - "too many bells and whistles!" A commenter agrees, "there's just somethin' about a real typewriter!" This typewriter appears to fall between the Electra 120 above with the addition of a power return and the Super 12 which adds the cartridge ribbons. Smith Corona developed the first power return in 1960 and introduced their cartridge ribbons in 1973 according to their history page. Purchased at a Fletcher Hills (El Cajon, CA) estate sale on 7-21-07 for $2.50, this typewriter is in very good working and cosmetic condition with the exception of some discoloration of the keys. I like the blue and green color scheme. Serial number 6ELN198931. I can't find a site with dates from serial numbers for more recent machines like this. Comes with case with sticker inside that states "Made with Care, Packed with Pride." "Smith-Corona typewriters are made in the U.S.A. by American Craftsmen." "5 Year Parts Guarantee." According to a detailed article on the History of Smith Corona at answers.com, some Smith Corona typewriters were beginning to be made overseas by 1985. By 1994 Smith Corona moved the last of their U.S. manufacturing from New York to Mexico. On July 5, 1995 the company filed for bankruptcy protection. Smith Corona has a Website today with a limited product line of two typewriter models and supplies.|
|SCM Smith Corona Coronet Super 12 (1975) portable electric typebar typewriter with "Coronamatic" cartridge ribbons and correction tape which are easily removed and replaced. Besides the cartridge feature, the typewriter is similar to the Electra 120 above, except this has a power return. Purchased at the same garage sale as the Electra 120 also for $2.50. In good operating and cosmetic condition with working case. Made in USA. On 12-9-06 I purchased a blue Coronet Super 12 with plastic case at a Fletcher Hills garage sale for $3.50 in excellent cosmetic and working condition except it needs a new ribbon.|
Large Image, Front View
|Smith Corona Coronamatic 2500 (introduced circa 1980) Date is from the copyright date on the instruction manual. Purchased at a La Mesa, CA estate sale on 5-15-10 for $1.50. Model prefix 9ELB. Serial number 333628. It is in like new working and cosmetic condition with all original documentation. The case is also in excellent condition except the handle is missing. The original receipt indicates it was purchased on 10-12-1982 for $279.50 at El Cajon Typewriter Co. in El Cajon, CA. $279.50 in 1982 has the same buying power as $630 today. It was still being sold as late as 1984 as indicated in an ad in the 4-24-84 MIT The Tech newspaper, page 11, where it was on sale for $299.95. The regular price was listed as $339.95. A Kaypro II computer in the same newspaper was being sold for about $1,300. Computer and printer prices would keep droping and by the end of the decade typewriters would be largely obsolete. Made in the USA. While this had the traditional typebar design, daisywheel typewriters would soon predominate. It used the Coronamatic ribbon cartridges. They were available in either inked nylon fabric or carbon film, and also in colors (black, red, blue, green and brown). Carbon film produces a very crisp impression. It can only be used once, however. In other words, once the character is typed, that space on the film can no longer be used. With fabric ribbon, the same spot on the ribbon can produce more than one character and is hence more economical. This typewriter also supported the, apparently new, "Smith-Corona LIFT-RITE System." With the LIFT-RITE system, an incorrect character is actually lifted off the page, not merely covered up. This allowed for very clean corrections. The IBM Correcting Selectric allowed for similar lift off corrections. With the Selectric, however, you did not have to take out the regular cartridge and instert a correcting cartridge. Rather, with the Correcting Selectric, the correcting tape always remained in the typewriter. Since the Coronamatic was a traditional typebar machine, you could not change the typeface as you could with the ball of the Selectric or a daisywheel of a daisywheel printer. The Coronamatic had two keys that had changeable type, however - the 1! key and the += key. The Coronamatic 2500 was a fine typewriter which in many ways represented the pinnacle of the traditional typebar Smith Corona portable typewriters which dated back to the turn of century. (See, e.g., my 1915 Corona 3.)|
|Smith Corona SD300 (circa 1985) purchased at an estate sale on the expansive grounds of a former Scripps family member in La Jolla, California in February 2006 for $10, this daisywheel typewriter with a small one line, 16 chararacter, LCD display is the identical model as one purchased by my parents at Price Club in 1985 and which I used to type letters and resumes. Manual has a 1985 copyright date by SMC Corporation. Made in USA. Has 3,000 character memory in up to 8 separate files. Spelling correction with Spell Right II. While the memory and LCD display are tiny compared to a computer, it was wonderful since you could correct a typo or make minor changes to a letter or resume without having to re-type the entire document. Correcting ribbon. In good working and cosmetic condition although the latches on the cover are missing.|
|Smith Corona PWP-40 (circa 1987) purchased new in about 1987 at Cousins. I do not recall the price. An article titled "Technowriters" in the June 1989 Popular Mechanics at Google Books, has the list price at $599. I'm pretty sure I didn't spend more than $300 something. It works like a normal daisy wheel typewriter and also a computer dedicated to word processing. It stores up to 42K in memory and uses special data disks slightly smaller than a 3.5 inch floppy for secondary storage. The 80 character by 8 line backlit LCD display pops up. It is in good working condition. It wasn't used much since by 1992 we got the Dell Precision 386SX/25. The Smith Corona site outlines their history. The PWP-40 was made in the United States. Mine was in good shape, but when I tested it before my appearance on Modern Marvels (taped October 2008, aired December 2008), the LCD screen had significant LCD bleeding. I purchased a PWP-40 and a later PWP-2100 at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 9-18-10 with at least six extra daisywheels and a dozen or so data disks for a total of $18. The screen for that PWP-40 does not appear to have bleed, but the back light is out making it largely unreadable. The drive of that PWP-40 does not appear to be reading disks. I have not tested the drive of my original PWP-40 for years.|
|Smith Corona PWP-2100 (circa 1990) date is from an ad for the MIT Coop on page 8 of the December 7, 1990 MIT The Tech newspaper which was selling it for $399.95, $50 off the usual price of $449.95. ($399.95 is equal to $668.05 in 2010 dollars indicating pretty tame inflation for the past twenty years.) That ad also lists several other Smith Corona models from a plain daisywheel typewriter, the Smith Corona XL 1700 at $119.95, to the Smith Corona PWP 100C with 12" CRT monitor for $649.95, or the Smith Corona PWP 7000 LT, a laptop word processor with printer selling for $595. A Toshiba general purpose laptop computer on the same page sold for $2,040 (over $3,400 in 2010 dollars) with a 80C286 processor, 1MB RAM, a 20MB hard drive, 3.5" inch 1.44MB floppy drive and 640 x 400 pixel monochrome LCD display. With laptops costing about 4 times more, the lower priced dedicated word processors filled a niche for budget strapped buyers who only needed word processing. To demonstrate how laptops have changed in twenty years, I purchased in August 2010 a Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4036 LED TruBrite 14-Inch Laptop for $470 with 14-inch widescreen HD TruBrite LED-Backlit color display with 1366 x 768 resolution, 1.8 GHz AMD Phenom II P820 triple-core processor, 320GB hard drive, 4 GB of installed DDR3 RAM (expandable to 8 GB), 8x SuperMulti DVD drive with double layer support, and integrated Wireless-N Wi-Fi networking capabilities. Obviously, with computers so inexpensive today, personal word processors have become obsolete. I purchased my Smith Corona PWP-2100, as well as a Smith Corona PWP-40, and numerous data disks, daisywheels and ribbons, at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on September 18, 2010 for a total of $18. Everything on the PWP-2100 works except the disk drive. It does not appear to read the disks and makes a lot of noise. The display is in excellent condition. Cosmetically, the machine is in good condition except one side and the cover have significant yellowing.|
|Cartridge AC VII by Smith Corona. Typebar electric portable typewriter with power return. Carriage shift. Uses Coronamatic cartridges like the SCM Smith Corona Coronet Super 12 above. Every Smith Corona typewriter above was made in the United States. The Cartridge AC VII was made in Singapore, however. According to the article on Smith Corona at answers.com, Smith Corona, apparently in the mid 1980s, began to manufacturer some typewriters in Singapore for export to the United States. This was a major change for a company that prided itself on making its typewriters in the United States. For example the SD300 above and several other models in the 1980s had a ribbon proudly stating they were made in the United States. As indicated in the answers.com article, Smith Corona also had previously alleged Brother had engaged in "dumping" typewriters in the United States that were made overseas. The Cartridge AC VII appears to be largely the same as the Smith Corona Sterling Cartridge typewriter. My Cartridge AC VII was acquired for free at a garage sale in San Carlos/Del Cerro area of San Diego on 1-10-09. It is in good working and cosmetic condition. It came with three cartridges but they appear to be all used up. It also comes with a plastic case.|
|Smith Corona Typetronic III, a daisywheel typewriter and printer with a parallel port in the back to hook up to a computer. While most SCM machines were made in the US, the Typetronic III is made in Japan. Further, while most SCM typewriters and printers in the 1980s and 1990s, such as the SD300 and PWP-40 above and the TP1 printer, were directed to consumers, the Typetronic III is clearly an office quality machine competing with machines like the Wheelwriter and Xerox above. The Typetronic name goes back to at least the 1960s with the Typetronic being some sort of data processing machine. (See National Museum of National History (use of Typetronic in about 1967 to catalog natural history database), Borland (biographical summary of a man who programed the SMC line of Typetronic desktop computers in 1966.)) The ribbons and daisywheels for the Typetronic III are readily available at numerous office supply stores. I could not find other information on the Web on the Typetronic III, but in August 2009 a gentleman who worked at a typewriter dealer in Philadelpia for about ten years from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s gave me more information. Thank you! He indicated the Typetronic III was made by Nakajima All, a Japanese company that also made typewriters for other typewriter companies including Olympia and Royal. Olympia had a similar typewriter, the Compact II, without the memory, which was a big seller. Nakajima All is still in business. It manufactures a variety of business machines including typewriters. The retail price was about $595 and the dealer in Philadelpia sold them for about $495. My Typetronic III is in excellent working and cosmetic condition with very clean, crisp type, and perfect corrections. I purchased it at a garage sale in La Mesa, CA on 11-25-06 for $5. It came with a vinyl cover, two extra ribbons and an extra daisywheel.|
From this description, it is obvious that besides being a typewriter, this machine is also a computer with built in word processing and spreadsheet applications. These types of machines were designed for those who just wanted to do word processing or simple spreadsheets, and wanted to avoid the expense and steeper learning curve of a general purpose personal computer. The problem for Smith Corona and others, however, is that the price of general purpose personal computers continued to fall throughout the 1990s. (See Smith Corona: Information form Answers.com.) By 1995 with the introduction of Windows 95, most PCs were also much easier to use with graphical user interfaces. Most Apple computers had also used a graphical user interface since 1984. 1995 also marked the start of the incredible growth of the Internet and World Wide Web. (See Internet World Stats and W3C - A Little History of the World Wide Web.) By 1995 people were therefore looking to not only write papers, but to surf the Web. Images also became much more important on the computer and a monochrome monitor with no graphics capabilities was no longer appealing. The 1990s marked the end of most uses of the typewriter - a general purpose personal computer was simply much better at word processing and could do so much more. The price of computers and printers also continued to drop toward the price of what typewriters had historically cost. By the 1990s the typewriter was obsolete for most purposes. They are still very cool to collect, however!
I purchased this machine at a garage sale in La Mesa, CA on 3-14-09 for about $10. It is in very good working and cosmetic condition and includes the manuals and utility diskette. The original owner said she had only used it only maybe six times, which is likely given the history above.
|Smith Premier No. 2 (1903) This typewriter departs from modern typewriters in two major ways. First, it has separate keys for lower and upper case letters. Second, the keys strike the bottom of the platen and they are not visible when they strike. The whole carriage can be lifted up so you can see what you typed. The ribbon is well over an inch wide. The No. 2 was sold from 1896 to 1914 with apparently over 132,000 sold according to the serial numbers which are available at The Typewriter Database. The No. 2 was the most common of the Smith Premier line. The No. 1 is similar but has very ornate sides and is hence more desirable. (See Smith Premier Typewriter at "All About Typewriters" and The Virtual Typewriter Museum.) Mine is serial no. 86075 which gives it a date of 1903 according to The Typewriter Database. A brush is mounted inside to clean the keys. (www.typewritercollector.com - Smith Premier) The Smith brothers started the Smith Premier Company but eventually left it to form a new company, L.C. Smith & Brothers Typewriters Inc., in order to make visible front stroke, single keyboard typewriters. L.C. Smith & Brothers later merged with Corona to become the familiar Smith Corona and later SCM. The Smith Premier Company survived after the formation of L.C. Smith & Brothers, however, and hence was a separate company. This is all spelled out in fascinating detail at Antique Typewriters by Will Davis which gives a glimpse into the world of corporate trusts at the beginning of the 20th century before antitrust laws were created. My Smith Premier No. 2 was purchased at an estate sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego on 12-30-07. The price was $80 with an Underwood Champion typewriter, some Popular Science magazines from the 1960s and a 1949 Algebra book. The magazines and book came to $3. About $65 would be allocated to the Smith Premier No. 2. It is in decent condition for its age. It was very dusty and has surface rust on most unpainted parts. There is some paint loss. All keys work although some stick somewhat. The platen initially did not rotate but after spraying the ends with Tri-Flow lubriant it now rotates freely. The space bar does not work. Also, the carriage does not advance as you type. The carriage was initially frozen but loosened up with lubrication. A part is cracked in the back, however, which is probably why the carriage does not advance. All in all a very interesting machine which is now my oldest and most expensive used typewriter. Images: Large, 3/4 View, Back, Cracked Part, Before Cleaning.|
|Triumph Perfekt (1962) (Large Image.) Date is from The Typewriter Database which lists the Perfekt as being made from 1961 to 1962. Mine is serial number 3060466. The Typewriter Database actually stops the Perfekt, however, at 3050000. The Classic Typewriter Page dates a similar model, the Triumph DeJur Perfekt, as 1960. (See entry #162.) The company history is set forth at Funding Universe. Triumph was founded in 1896 as Deutsche Triumph Fahrradwerke AG, a German bicycle manufacturer. In 1909 it started making typewriters. It also made motorcycles and over its history a variety of other products. In 1953 it was taken over by Gundrig and later merged with Adler. Later major stakeholders at different times included Litton, Volkswagen and typewriter competitor Olivetti. (See also The Online Museum.) I acquired my Triumph around December 2008 for $20 in the Normal Heights area of San Diego from an ad on Craigslist. It is in very good operating and cosmetic condition although some keys are a little sticky. It comes with an Aluminum case which is heavily scratched and corroded. The typewriter's outer shell and cover over the keys also seems to be made of cast Aluminum, although in excellent condition. In the photo, the typewriter is attached to the bottom of the case. The type is a script typeface simulating cursive handwriting. - my only one out of 80+ typewriters. (See Sample Type.) I remember by grandmother in the 1960s had a Smith Corona portable with a script typeface.|
|Underwood Model 5 (1927) Additional images: large image, 3/4 view, ribbon tins. Manufactured from late 1900 to around 1932 the Underwood Model 5 is the most successful typewriter design ever with millions being sold according to The Classic Typewriter Page. Mine has serial no. 226463-5 which makes it from 1927 according to a site about Underwoods only. That site has a nice collection of advertisements. The Model 5 adopted the front stroke, typebar design with a QWERTY keyboard, all of which became the standard in typewriter design until the IBM Selectric was introduced in 1961. Even then the basic front stroke, typebar design continued in the majority of models. Since millions were produced, they are still readily available and hence not particularly valuable. Mine is in decent cosmetic and operating condition. It is quite dirty and has some surface rust on some chrome pieces. The Model 5 decals on the bottom bar in front are either worn off or painted over. You can just barely see the imprint in the right light. All keys work except the q and *, both of which stick. The ribbon is very worn and needs to be replaced. After working fine, the carriage would not move when a key or space bar was pressed. I played around with it, however, and got it working again. I think the backspace key was in the wrong position. It could use a good cleaning and lubrication. It has a very open design, so cleaning might be easier than on many machines. I purchased it on 7-2-06 at a garage sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego for $30, probably a little on the high side, but no shipping. See www.mini-itx.com for an Underwood Model 5 turned into a modern computer!|
|Underwood Portable (1927) Underwood 4 key bank portable. The serial number is 4B81272. Ignoring the 4B and looking at the 81272, it appears to be a 1927 model according to the information at the Typewriter Database. According to A Brief Look at Some Underwood Portables at Typewriters by Will Davis, Underwood started to produce 4 bank portables in 1926. The Underwood portables of this period came in a variety of colors, although mine is mine is a rather drab grey brown. Mine was included as part of a purchase of three Apple IIe computers and a Texas Instruments 99/4A computer for a total of $80 in La Mesa, CA on 10-17-09. The typewriter and a Western Electric Princess phone were thrown in for free. The typewriter came with the case. The typewriter has significant condition issues. The carriage is loose and can be pulled off. The carriage does not move. The covers on the shift keys are missing. The ribbon and ribbon covers are missing. There is a crack all the way through the back right corner making the entire frame of the typewriter loose. There is a chunk missing from the back where the typewriter is fastened to the case. All of this leads me to believe that this typewriter took a significant fall at some point in its long life likely when it was in its case. It looks like it is all there (minus the chunk in the back) and could probably be made to work again with some effort. Due to the cracks, however, it could not be restored to original condition. Despite its flaws, it is a nice addition to the Typewriter Museum.|
|Underwood Model 3 (large image) (1928) Underwood No. 3 typewriters were basically the same as Underwood No. 5 typewriters, except the No. 3 typewriters had wider carriages. See Classic Typewriter Page - Underwood No. 5 and Underwood Gallery. Mine is a 12 inch with an interesting two tone paint scheme - a rough light grey and a glossy black - similar to the 12 inch model at The Underwood No. 5 Typewriter Page. Using the table at that site, mine dates from 1928. They were in production from 1900 to 1931. My No. 3 was purchased through an ad on Craigslist in the Clairemont area of San Diego on 6-13-08 with 4 other typewriters and an adding machine, all of similar vintage for $75. I think we allocated $5 for this machine. It is in decent cosmetic condition. It does not work properly. The keys move well but do not hit the carriage and the carriage does not move when the keys are hit.|
|Underwood Portable (1927) Underwood 4 key bank portable. Serial no. is 4B81272. Ignoring the 4B and looking at the 81272, it appears to be a 1927 model according to the information at the Typewriter Database. According to A Brief Look at Some Underwood Portables at Typewriters by Will Davis, Underwood started to produce 4 bank portables in 1926. The Underwood portables of this period came in a variety of colors, although mine is mine is a rather drab grey brown. Mine was included as part of a purchase of three Apple IIe computers and a Texas Instruments 99/4A computer for a total of $80 in La Mesa, CA on 10-17-09. The typewriter and a Western Electric Princess phone were thrown in for free. The typewriter came with the case. The typewriter has significant condition issues. The carriage is loose and can be pulled off. The carriage does not move. The covers on the shift keys are missing. The ribbon and ribbon covers are missing. There is a crack all the way through the back right corner making the entire frame of the typewriter loose. There is a chunk missing from the back where the typewriter is fastened to the case. All of this leads me to believe that this typewriter took a significant fall at some point in its long life likely when it was in its case. It looks like it is all there (minus the chunk in the back) and could probably be made to work again with some effort. Due to the cracks, however, it could not be restored to original condition. Despite its flaws, it is a nice addition to the Typewriter Museum since it is twenty years older than my next oldest Underwood portable, the 1947 Underwood Universal below.||Underwood Noiseless (Large Image) (1935) Serial no. 3938286 giving it a date of 1935 according to Underwood. That site also has excellent information on repairing Underwoods. The Underwood Noiseless was manufactured under license from Remington and from 1929 to 1934 and 1946 to 1949 was actually manufactured by Remington under the Underwood name. It therefore has a similar feel to the Remington Noiseless Portable above. Removing the top cover reveals the complex structure of the key mechanisms. (Key being depressed.) Purchased at a garage sale in El Cajon, CA on March 31, 2007 for $20. It was in decent mechanical and operating condition. All keys work. It was quite dirty with considerable rust, however. Further, the carriage failed to advance sometimes and when shifting, it would get stuck in the shifted position. I cleaned it treating it like a bicycle using citrus degreasers and water. This might be incredibly stupid, but I thought I would give it a try. After all in overhauling bicycles myself and others formerly used mineral spirits or similar solvents, but water based degreasers are now widely used for environmental reasons. It seemed to work well. I towel dried it as best I could and then dried it with a hand hair dryer. I then liberally sprayed WD-40 on all the mechanical parts, wiping it off as best I could. This leaves a lot of WD-40 which may attract dirt, but I figured it would help get rid of any remaining moisture. I got a new ribbon and hand wound it onto the metal spools of the Underwood. Overall, it looks much better and was working better. After awhile I had the carriage problem again. Like the portable above, avoid the urge to pound the keys - a gentle tap is enough and the noiseless feature really works. All in all a very nice addition to the museum.|
|Underwood Portable (Large Image) (1935) Underwood 4 key bank portable. The serial number, on the bottom of the typewriter, is 762268, making it from 1935 according to the information at the Typewriter Database. According to A Brief Look at Some Underwood Portables at Typewriters by Will Davis, Underwood started to produce 4 bank portables in 1926. Mine is largely the same as the 1927 four bank Underwood Portable Typewriter above except this 1935 model has a glossy black finish. The Underwood portables of this period also came in a variety of colors. This one is in great cosmetic and working condition. I bought it in May or June 2011 at a Sunday garage sale in the Clairemont area of San Diego for $10. It comes with a case which has the warranty label inside. The serial no. on the warranty label is 763172, different from that on the bottom of the machine itself. The warranty label states: "Underwood Elliott Fisher Company guarantees new Underwood Universal Portables. . . for a period of 6 months." (emphasis omitted) The Dealer was The Bookstore, 322 Pacific Avenue, Bremerton, Washington. The Date sold was November 20, 1935 confirming the date from the serial number information.|
|Underwood Standard Master Model, purchased April 23, 2005 at a San Carlos (San Diego) garage sale for $10. According to myTypewriter.com the Standard Master Model was introduced at the 1939 New York World's Fair. (My dad went to the World's Fair in the summer of 1940 and recalled hot dogs made on new high tech microwave ovens (I think I have the time right) and a demonstration of freeways. Television was demonstrated at the fair also.) According to the owner it was used at the family's insurance business in downtown San Diego starting in the early 1940s. It is in good working condition although the keys are covered with tape, it could use a cleaning internally and externally, and it needs a new ribbon. It is in better cosmetic condition than the L.C. Smith typewriter. Very similar in size to the L.C. Smith, the footprint is roughly 15" x 15" (38cm x 38cm), the height is about 9" (23cm), and the weight is also about 35 pounds (16 kg). myTypewriter.com sells the later version of this model (door on side instead of in front) for $475, of course, fully cleaned and serviced.|
|Underwood Standard (circa 1943) (Large Image.) Date is from The Typewriter Database. Serial no. is S14-5749550. In the database, 5715000 is January 1943. 5775000 is July 1945. It is therefore between those two dates. Usually there is not such a wide spread. I assume production may have ceased as a result of World War II. I'm guessing the S means this is the Standard Model. Made in USA by "Underwood Elliott Fisher Co." Wide carriage of 14.75 inches. Purchased at a Lemon Grove, CA garage sale on 8-10-07 for $5. In working condition although some keys stick and sometimes the space bar is slow. The Underwood decal or paint is barely visible. Paint is in pretty good condition. Not much rust, although dusty and dirty.|
|Underwood Standard Desktop with 26 inch carriage (1946) (Large Image with meter stick.) Date is from The Typewriter Database. The serial no. is S26 5856303. The serial no. is to the right of the right ribbon well. I believe the S stands for Standard Model and the 26 stands for 26" carriage. The next seven digits are the actual serial no. The first 1946 S Model was serial no. 55849000. By May 1946 the SS model was started with serial no. 6000000. Mine therefore had to be made during the first 4 months of 1946. It is largely the same as the machine above but with a huge 26 inch carriage. As indicated in this photo with a meter stick, the black bar in front is about 1 meter long. There is a chrome bar in the back which is blocked in the photos which is about 104 or 105cm long. I bought it on 7-12-10 for $25 in the Clairemont area of San Diego, CA (Business Park at end of Morena Blvd.) for $25. The young lady I purchased it from indicated she bought it years ago from an antique store in Ocean Beach. The ad said she paid $150 for it. The seller at the antique store said it was used by a newspaper. Perhaps, but I don't think newspapers at least directly used typewriters as part of the printing process. A Google Book called Practical Pointers for Shorthand Students, 1903 states: "Railroad and steamship offices, as well as accountants, dry-goods stores and many mercantile firms, require occasionally machines that will do what is called 'wide work.'" It further notes that the very wide machines used by steamship and railroad companies also only had captital letters. A YouTube Video entitled 1941 Underwood Typewriter shows the prior model Underwood with a similar wide carriage receiving a quick tune-up. The comments indicate that some of these wide carriage typewriters where used for large ledgers in accounting. Another comment indicates that they were sometimes used for maps. Mine is in good cosmetic condition. Mechanically, the carriage advances well. The keys generally work with a few sticky ones which a cleaning like that in the YouTube video would likely fix. It is stuck in capitals, however. The shift key and shift lock seem to be disabled. Perhaps it is just broken, or perhaps it was purposely put into the all caps only position.|
|1947 Underwood Universal Portable, (Large Image.) Date is from The Typewriter Database and from the copyright on the features list that came with the typewriter. Serial no. is F1759833. Made in USA. Comes with case. The novelist William Faulkner used an Underwood Universal, although I think an earlier model. (See Wikipedia: The Faulkner Portable.) In good cosmetic and working condition. All decals are clearly readable. All keys work, although a few are sticky. Dusty. Case in good conditon. Minor corrosion. It is a very usable typewriter with nice key action. Comes with very neat Features That Make You Proud of The Underwood Portable and Your Guide to Better Typing by George L. Hossfield, 10 Times World's Professional Champion Typist. The Guide points out: "You'll have lots of fun learning to typewrite." To my students: Remember that! Purchased at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 9-30-07 in my neighborhood for $20.|
|Underwood Leader Portable (1950) (Large Image) Date is from The Typewriter Database. Made in USA. Comes with case. It is the Underwood portable design that was introduced in 1939 and then re-appeared after World War II until 1950. It was followed by the design of the 1954 Underwood Leader shown below. The Leader was the lowest cost model "with no tabs, no ribbon selector and no touch control" as indicated at Will Davis - Underwood Portable Gallery. Mine was purchased at an estate sale in San Diego for $2 along with several other portables of the same vintage, all for $2 each. It is in good working condition with the exception of some keys sticking. I brought it to my classroom for kids to try out keyboarding the old fashioned way.|
|Underwood Champion (circa 1951) (Large image) Serial no. is J2030526 which appears to put it at about 1951 according to the Typewriter Database although it is listed under "Universal, Junior, F-Model, Student, Leader, Ace, Correspondant." Another number, L1291, appears on the bottom of the typewriter. It appears to be very similar to a Underwood "Finger Flite" Champion in an ad in the November 17, 1951 Saturday Evening Post which was for sale on eBay. There were earlier pre-World War II Champions sold from 1934 to 1942 which looked different. Mine is in good cosmetic condition. It was in a case and the typewriter is therefore quite clean. It is a little sluggish advancing especially with the space bar and a few keys stick. These problems could likely be easily fixed with a bit of lubricant. Overall, a nice, solid 1950s portable. The case is in good working condition but has some stains on the outside. Purchased at an estate sale in the San Carlos area of San Diego on 12-30-07 for $80 with a Smith Premier No. 2 and some magazines and a book. I allocate about $65 to the Smith Premier No. 2 and about $12 to this typewriter.|
|Underwood Leader (circa 1954) (Large image.) Date from The Typewriter Database (serial number U2487495). Apparently this and similar models were made from 1949 to 1959. The serial number is under the cariage return on the right side. Pre-1949 Leader typewriters were a different model. See for example the 1947 Leader at mytypewriter.com. The Leader typewriters had only basic features such as one color ribbons. See Will Davis' Portable Typewriter Reference Site. Made in USA. My Underwood Leader was purchased at a La Mesa, CA garage sale on 8-19-06 for about $25. It is in very good cosmetic and working condition and includes the case, also in good condition. All keys work and even the ribbon is fresh.|
|Underwood Model 319 Portable, purchased April 2005 on eBay for $6 plus $17 shipping (as revised). I originally assumed it was from the late 50s to early 70s. The Portable Typewriter Reference Site, however, indicates the Italian company Olivetti purchased Underwood in 1963. The last typewriter with the Underwood name was in the late 1960s until Olivetti again used the name in the 1980s. The Underwood Model 319 looks very similar to the Underwood Model 378 (actually an Olivetti Lettera 92) pictured at that site and made in the 1980s. My Model 319 was therefore apparently made by Olivetti in the 1980s. It was made in Spain. It is in good condition, but needs a new ribbon. It has a plastic outside. It weighs about 11.8 pounds (5.4 kg). It has dimensions of about 5" x 13" x 14" with top cover. See also Portable Typewriters and The Shannon L. Johnson Typewriter Collection (includes links to many other sites). I have listed this under Underwood and Olivetti since it is clearly made by Olivetti, but retains the old Underwood name.|
|Xerox Memorywriter 6010 (1985) introduced in 1985 according to Xerox. This is a solid professional daisywheel typewriter in excellent working condition. (Other side of daisywheel.) I remember we used Xerox Memorywriters when I started my first job in downtown San Diego as a lawyer in 1987. Those were a model or two up with a small LCD screen for editing which this machine lacks. By that time many other firms had switched entirely to computers. This was purchased on 10-22-05 at a San Carlos (San Diego) garage sale for $7.50. Initially, it was not printing the letters but it works fine after I resat the ribbon cartridge and the correction tape. It came with the manual and a vinyl cover. Xerox is a diverse Fortune 500 document processing company which grew out of patent attorney and part time inventor Hestor Carlson's invention of "electophotography," later known as "xerography," the first photo copies. The process was refined in the 1940s and 1950s with Xerox producing the first plain paper office copier in 1961. Today, it is hard to image an office without a copier. Even inexpensive ink jet copiers are commonplace in homes. Xerox also has an important place in the history of computers since the graphical user interface was first developed at its Palo Alto Reserch Center (PARC) in 1975. Both the Macintosh and later Windows operating systems expanded on the ideas first developed at PARC which also made great strides in computer networking. While Xerox made some computers, it never fully capitalized on the important research at PARC. Xerox no longer make typewriters.|