Sunday, August 31, 2014

1967 Royal 890

I bought this typewriter in Tacoma, Washington. It is a later model Royal 890--this can be identified by the Litton Industries logo, located to the right of the word Royal. (When I was younger, I used to think that the logo was a lowercase r instead of "li") It and the serial number put this typewriter at roughly 1967. Strangely, it is much easier to find higher-end Royals (like the Safari) and Smith-Coronas (Silent/Silent-Super) than their mid-range equivalents (like the 890, 990, Aristocrat, Telstar, and the Smith-Corona Sterling and Clipper models). This may be because of their prices compared to the additional features offered by the higher-end models (such as Magic Margin, a 1/! key, and a paper guide), which usually added very little to their price. For some reason, this typewriter has a tendency to glow when photographed: 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

1941 Underwood Universal

This typewriter was made in early 1941. I bought it at Red Door Antiques in Mount Vernon, WA. It is easily the best Underwood I have ever owned.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A So-Called "Russian" typewriter--Olympia SM-1, 1950

In 1950, when this typewriter was made, few Americans had heard of the Olympia portable. Those who were lucky enough to have known about them had no access to them until 1950, when the Inter-Continental Trading Company of New York City began importing them to the United States.  However, at the same time, a well-known foreign correspondent, Theodore H. White, was visiting Russia, where a diplomat sold him a light gray Olympia for $25. While it said "made in Germany" on the rear, he thought that it could have been made in Russia, and not "Germany". Add to that the general fear of Communism, and McCarthyism, and suddenly the German typewriter became "possibly Russian." The articles below are the results.
And, of course, as it turned out, the J.K. Gill Company, the store that wasn't sure if they would ever sell Olympia portables, became one of the biggest Olympia dealers by the end of the's that for irony?

Simply by looking at the typewriter, one thing becomes completely clear--the manufacturer took a lot of pride in their product--notice the raised Olympia logo in polished chrome. The typewriter has soundproofing in many places, including the resting place of the ribbon cover. The plastic knob caps are designed to look like 
I forgot to mention the most ironic part--this typewriter is painted red! 

The Amazingly Sturdy Smith Corona Classic 12

I went to the big Seattle Goodwill, and found one of the last Smith-Corona manual portable typewriters made, a Smith-Corona Classic 12 Correction/Typewriter. When I transferred buses, the case fell open, and out fell the Smith-Corona. After popping the ribbon cover back into place, I noticed that only 2 parts had been broken--the plastic margin stop toppers! 
 The very last manual Smith-Corona typewriter was produced on May 11, 1983