Monday, September 2, 2013

1959 Smth-Corona Skyriter and a Hypothesis

If I had to pick a favorite typewriter, there is a good chance that it would be this one:
This typewriter was manufactured in 1959. It is one of the last American-made Smith-Corona Skyriters; later ones were made in Great Britain.
 Notice that this typewriter has the longer carriage-return lever. This can be found on the Corsair series as well.
 Like most Skyriters, a large amount of paint had rubbed off of the space bar. I repainted the space bar in a color that perfectly matches the case of this typewriter.
 This typewriter even had the original manual! And the brush!
There were ten Smith-Corona dealers in Seattle in 1961
  • Burt Typewriter, 1204 Second Avenue, Seattle
  • Clark Stationery Company, 12750 Bothell Way (now Lake City Way), Seattle
  • Foster Office Equipment, 457 SW 153rd, Burien
  • Gene Brown Typewriter, 5511 24th Avenue NW, Seattle
  • Lowman & Hanford, 1515 Second Avenue, Seattle
  • MacDougall & Southwick, Second and Pike (Now a parking lot behind City Target), Seattle
  • Record Stationery and Office Supply, 801 Walla Walla Avenue, Seattle
  • Tom's Typewriter and Hobby Shop, 3402 Claremont Avenue South, Seattle
  • University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle
  • Washington Book Store, 4316 University Way NE, Seattle (Now part of the University Book Store
These dealers were sourced from a Seattle Times advertisement. All of these dealers sold Smith-Coronas in 1959 as well. Because the typewriter is unmarked, I am guessing that it was not sold by a typewriter shop, but rather a department store. However, most typewriter dealers in Seattle did not bother to label compact typewriters. (I have seen a report of a Royalite that was sold by Burt Typewriter that did not have a label, but came with a receipt.) Burt Typewriter was a very high-volume Smith-Corona dealer. Since this typewriter was purchased directly across the King County Line, in Edmonds (barely), I am guessing that it may have been sold in the North End, or Downtown. If this is true, it removes Foster Office Equipment (who labeled all typewriters), Tom's Typewriter and Hobby Shop, and Record Stationery and Office Supply. Lowman and Hanford put metal labels on the cases of the typewriters that they sold (the two labels said "L" and "H".) Since there is no label on the case, I can probably rule out Lowman and Hanford. MacDougall and Southwick was on its last legs by 1959, partly because of its out-of-the-way location. This does not rule it out, but the odds are against it. That leaves Burt Typewriter,  Clark Stationery, Gene Brown, and the two UW Bookstores (Washington Book Store was separate from the University Book Store.) The University Book Store labeled the typewriters that they sold, leaving Burt Typewriter (possibly), Clark Stationery (very likely), Gene Brown, and the Washington Book Store. Gene Brown was located in a relatively out-of-the-way location in Ballard. Both the Washington Book Store and Clark Stationery were located on very main streets (University Way, better known as "The Ave," and Lake City Way, respectively.) This typewriter was very well cared-for, and had the manual and the brush, making me think it belonged to an older person. (I think if a college student had used it, the case would be more scuffed, and the typewriter would be more worn-out, due to use.) I think that this typewriter was a prized possession--the case shows very little wear, there was only minor paint loss on the space bar, and there is only one chip out of the finish, caused by the carriage-return lever. The Skyrier was the bottom of the Smith-Corona line. As a result, these typewriters were often used as second typewriters, or for students. I think that someone saved every penny to buy this typewriter--it is a very clean machine, requiring no lubrication or cleaning. (This was true when I bought it, too.) The ribbon was slightly dry when I bought it (I have replaced it with a better one, but kept the original as a backup) The case was remarkably clean--there was only a small amount of dust.

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