Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tower of No Power

Back to the Bizarro World From Whence You Came!
 Again I found myself in Downtown Lufkin, looking at the same old antique and thrift stores. I thought it would afford me the opportunity to get a better look at the same old broken typewriters. The Tower Tabulator in particular stirred my interest. It's such a clean, good-looking typewriter, I wanted to see if they'd managed to put a price sticker on it. They hadn't. I hit the keys and nothing happened again. Well, not nothing. The ribbon vibrator functioned as intended, but the letter arms wouldn't budge. I tried to work a few of them and they were very hard to move at all. I moved one on the end and noticed it wasn't connected to anything. It feels like they are glued in place but I doubt this. Someone probably just put a dubious lubricant on this thing decades ago and it's frozen in time. Even if there was a price on it, I'm no typewriter repairman, and these '50s Smith-Coronas (Tower typewriters for the most part being rebadged S-Cs sold in Sears stores) are usually pretty inexpensive. So inexpensive, in fact, that I have four or five of them already. Although it looks fantastic, I don't think it's worth more than $15-$20 in its current non-working state. If everything worked, I'd be willing to go as high as $45-$50, tops. I already have a battered but working Tower similar to this that I picked up for $20 last year at a thrift store.

There's just not much used typewriter action in this area. I don't think I'm the only one actively searching out old machines here, I couldn't possibly be. I was working on a story in the lobby before work the other day (I work in a fast-food restaurant) using my old Hermes Rocket when I was approached by an older gentleman who said he hadn't seen a typewriter in years. He seemed completely fascinated by it, like he was looking at some sort of space alien. I get a lot of those sorts of looks, but few people say anything.

I've been having a bit of a problem getting days off from work, and I have yet to hook up my flatbed scanner on this new computer, but I do plan on doing some good old fashioned typecasting on here. I have about a week to get all my stuff out of my storage unit unless I want to get charged $46 for another month, and I would like to rescue the typewriters and get them all back into service again. I'm way behind on my new story, "Moustache of Evil", that will be available for Amazon Kindle as soon as I can finish it. Who knows when that will happen, though.

Stick with me, keep checking back, and perhaps I'll get back to doing this on a more regular basis. Shouldn't be long until things get a bit more normal, whatever that means.


  1. The problem you describe on the Tower is probably a basketful of disconnected linkages, A common problem with this particular Smith-Corona design. It can be fixed, but it's a tedious job. I'd pay $10 just for the "Tower Atomic" shell, though - or I would if I didn't already have one from just such a linkage-busted Tower President XII. I swapped out the shell with an old '56 Silent in great mechanical shape, but with the baby-poop colored crinkle-painted shell. The shell will get a repaint to match the keys of the Silent soon, to make the world's first "Tower Silent Atomic". Should end up looking pretty sharp. (:

    1. Yep. I have a two-tone President XII model, in much better shape than this, as well as the one that looks like this one. When they put a price on it, they'll probably be asking so much it's not really worth it, though.