I’m still trying to find an 1890s typewriter, but having zero luck. I’m rather surprised that there isn’t one in the museum collection already, but I suppose they don’t come up that often.
Last weekend, I spent Saturday trolling antique malls and flea markets with my mom as we searched for something suitable. I saw a lot of really fabulous machines, some not-so-fabulous, and some that just made me cry (like the Royal that had been turned into a planter, and the Underwood that was a solid block of rust, left out in the rain).
The first one I spotted was this Woodstock, which I think is from the 1930s. (The 30s & 40s were very popular for the typewriters I saw. So were the 60’s). It took a lot of willpower to walk away from it, even though it was not from the era I was looking for. I love my Woodstock.
These Underwoods were both in pretty good condition, but not what I was looking for. I was intrigued by the wide carriage, however. I don’t think I’ve seen more than one or two in the wild before.
The next one to catch my eye was this Corona folding. I’d love to get my hands on one of those some day, but not for $295.
At first the $35 price tag on this looked reasonable. And then I realized I was looking at the price tag for the glasses, not the typewriter, which was selling for $200+.
This Oliver 9 was hidden at the back of a display case. I had to have someone open it so I could get a better look at it. Alas, it was not the #2 I’d hoped for.
But the search wasn’t over! Through sheer force of will, I forced myself to walk away from several lovely spinning wheels, to turn my back on the Woodstock, and I didn’t even investigate the multitude of books, patterns, and crafting supplies that were on display.
As we neared the end of our tour, I felt my hope begin to flag. My spirits were buoyed when I spotted two gorgeous machines in quick succession, both hidden from view.
The first, tucked behind a shelving unit in a crowded little booth that was mostly full of disassembled furniture, I found this Royal. Even though I knew it was too late for the Village, I snapped a picture and hastened over to tw-db.com to look up the serial number, which dates it to 1927:
The last good typewriter of the day was this Underwood, which I found hidden under a Remington cover that clearly didn’t fit properly. This #5 is from late in the line, around 1933 by the serial number. I’ve wanted a #5 since I was about ten years old, so village or not, it was a hard one to walk away from.
Since my hunt was unsuccessful, I’m trying to fix two machines from my own collection that might, maybe pass a cursory glance, if the viewer isn’t a typewriter aficionado. The Woodstock needs a new foot, but I think that if a piece of paper is inserted to cover the (very art deco) logo, it looks enough like a period Underwood n. 2 that we might be able to get away with it, at least until a suitable replacement is found.
My other option is the Oliver 9. It’s been sitting under a cover in my parent’s living room since I moved out. When last we met, I tried and failed to reattach the draw band. All of the pieces are there, I just can’t get it hooked back into place. I’m hoping that with Missouri’s help, I’ll be able to fix that. I dusted it off last night, added some oil to the stiff spots, and gave it a once over.
It appears that my initial assessment was incorrect–I found at least two leavers on the Oliver that don’t seem to work, and I’m not sure what they’re supposed to do. There’s also a problem with the platen. Aside from being rock hard, it will only go two clicks forward or two clicks back, not enough to load and type and entire page. I can see where the problem is, but I have no idea how to fix it. It looks like this week I’ll be rewatching old “Secrets of the Oliver” episodes on Youtube.
I’m really looking forward to being able to use a typewriter again. Anymore, it seems that the only time I can pull them out is for Nano write ins. Typewriters and apartments just don’t mix.
So if you see, say, an Underwood no. 2, or an Oliver no. 2, or maybe a Blick that’s in decent condition, let me know, ‘kay?