Monday, June 2, 2014

Typewriter by Typewriter Breakdown - #1

I thought I'd put my money where my mouth is and start documenting my collection here. Never have so many orphaned, broken typewriters been accumulated in such a small space. In no particular order, I do typewriters #1-6 today. These are mainly posted because they were out of their cases for me to easily photograph.

Oh, Remington Noiseless. This one is a heartbreaker. The first problem I encountered was when I tried to put paper in it. The second problem was when I tried to advance it. The third problem was when I hit the return. It types well enough, once you manage to get the paper in (you have to use the paper release and feed it through)...but the space bar sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. And the platen won't advance the paper correctly. But the bell works, there's that. Came to me without a case.

This Underwood Universal looks beaten up, but works fine. Everything works as it should even though it got a LOT of use.  No case when it got to me, but I haven't found any issues with it besides the letters on the keytops wearing off and the paint chipping. I ordered some stick-on key covers from Amazon and put them on. They aren't as straight as they should be, but they work okay.

Underwood Noiseless, like the Underwood Universal and Remington Noiseless above, came to me without a case. This is a good typewriter. Very shiny and clean. My main problem with it is the carriage return. It's very small, and you basically have to flick it from above. It's so different from other return levers I found it annoying. I didn't get it in the pictures I took of it, but it's very small. The bell also doesn't work on this one, which is a shame.

The Royal HH is a fine, heavy typewriter. This one was missing the number 7 key, so I was able to cannibalize one from the old broken Smith-Corona desktop I could never do anything with. The bell works, but seems to stop just short of it. I was trying it out earlier and noticed it skipped once during a paragraph. No major issues detected with this one.

This Underwood Standard is one of the heaviest things I own, and I drive a Chevy. The bell seems hit and miss sometimes, and the carriage wants to slide all the way over if you turn it on its side, but it's in place when you're typing. The keytops are wearing off, so the extra stick-on letters I have might come in handy.

This Cole Steel is a beautiful machine, and it types cleanly and is pretty neat. But the backspace doesn't work, and if you hit the space bar you had better mean it. I mean you practically have to punch the damn thing. These don't come up a lot that I've seen, though the ones I see don't cost that much. I really wanted to own one, though I can now see why I wouldn't use it very much. I'm not sure how much I paid...but I'm notoriously frugal in my typewriter purchases, so it couldn't have been that much.

When I get a little more time I'll list the next 5 or 6 typewriters. Probably a few days. I await the final two stragglers I have coming in the mail, and I'll give the details when I get them in.


  1. Good stuff. I have a list of my machines and notes on each and have planned something similar to this post for a long time but it's a daunting undertaking that I just cant muster the fortitude or hardheadedness. Nice machines here.

    1. Thanks. I really do enjoy them, and some of the more enjoyable moments of my life lately come from messing around with them. It's a sort of emotional time-travel therapy.