Friday, June 6, 2014

Typewriter by Typewriter Breakdown - #3

Round 3, in which I show and tell about typewriters #13-18 in my seemingly endless collection. Things are looking up as I mostly present machines I'm not completely ashamed to own.

This poorly-lit beauty is a Royal Heritage, circa 1958. These were apparently exclusive at the time to Montgomery-Ward stores. This one was $15, I believe, and extremely filthy at the time I got it...but it cleaned up nicely and it works well. No major flaws with this one. Push the Royal emblem on the front and the ribbon cover pops right up. When I purchased it, it still had a very old square Roytype ribbon in it, completely dried out.

I've been a computer guy for a long time, since the mid-'90s, but there was a time when I wouldn't touch one. In fact, I sought out and purchased a manual typewriter in 1988 for $80 from a used office supply store. It was identical to this one, the (Brother) Montgomery Ward Signature 510. This one has a standard typeface, but the one I formerly owned had a weird capital italic font. My old one is pretty beaten up, missing the case and ribbon cover, but is now the property of my mother and living in her storage room. It does still work though, because I put a ribbon on it last year and tested it out. I felt nostalgic about buying this, but it's not that great compared to everything else I own. Works fine, for a Japanese typewriter made in the 1960s.

I was typewriter-less for over 15 years, until 2010, when I literally stumbled over this for $10 at a thrift store in East Texas. It's a Sears Citation 12, made by Smith-Corona. It's a deep green with a fake woodgrain insert above the keys. Classy. Nice and heavy, with a slightly extended carriage that looks to be able to take larger paper. Works really well still. No major problems with it that I can detect.

 I love these later Underwoods, but they're getting harder to find. They seemed to have come in a variety of colors, but I've mostly seen blue and white for sale. This one is just beautiful, a nice clean Jewell. It types like a dream, but it stops like a nightmare at the end of the line...sadly, the bell is broken. But a broken bell is not the worst thing to happen to a typewriter, and I know it can ultimately be fixed. It's been known to happen, even if I don't currently have the skills to pull it off.

A fine later Underwood that does work is this wonderful green '55 Universal Quiet Tab. This one cost me $20 in 2010. It literally looks like a Buick. It works perfectly and I adore it. When it came, the ribbon vibrator had come off and was loose inside the typewriter. Fixed it in just a few minutes without having any idea what I was doing. I have a strange connection to these old machines...probably a past life thing. I should ask the Long Island Medium, if she still takes those kind of questions.

A seemingly too-good-to-be-true Ebay purchase turned out to be true, and this Royal Arrow came to me at a great price. It's in seemingly mint condition, with only a suspicious scratch and small dent on the side that I suspect happened in the shipping process (it had not been secured properly inside its case). But, otherwise, looks and performs like a brand new 65-year-old typewriter. Very happy with it, though it needs to be used fairly regularly to keep the ribbon vibrator from sticking. I tested it out just before taking these pictures and it worked fine.

That's #13-18. Believe it or not, this is about a third of my collection. As I say, I do have a problem. In a day or two I'll post up some more. In my spare time, in addition to hocking my poorly-selling stories on Amazon, I also collect sleazy 1960s/'70s  private eye/spy novels and other series fiction paperbacks. If anything is more obscure and weird than typewriters, that's probably it. 

1 comment: