Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Service call for a Conover

There are some models I see again and again coming in for service at The Urban Legend Institute: Royal Quiet De Luxe, Royal KMM, Smith-Corona Galaxie, Underwood no. 5, and so on. Many typewriters are from the late ’40s, reflecting the upsurge in typewriter manufacturing after the war. But I got a surprise the other day when a customer recently brought in a Woodstock, an Oliver 9, and a Conover. With his permission, I'm sharing some pictures of thc Conover here.

This is a rarely-found name variant of the Chicago sold by Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co., a big Chicago hardware store which originated the still-famous name True Value Hardware.

Some cleaning is in order:

When you remove the name plate you see the wonderfully ingenious mechanism (which was left exposed on the predecessor to the Chicago, the Munson).

An exchangeable type cylinder rotates and slides into the correct position.

This ribbon is long, purple, and one inch wide.

A view with the ribbon and type cylinder removed:

The centers of the ribbon spools are covered in inky wax.

This machine is nearly complete, but is missing the bell clapper. (Thanks to Greg Fudacz of Antikey Chop for sending me one!)

Note the serial number stamped into the shaft on which the type cylinder turns; it matches the machine's serial number (5383). The type cylinder is also stamped with little numbers, which may be a serial or may designate the type style.

This machine should look very pretty once I'm done with it. I'll post followup pics when it's ready.


  1. Very nice old typewriter. One I've never seen before.

  2. I wonder if the type drum was easily interchangeable for different fonts? I needed a wide ribbon once, and was able to get a purple one for a cash register that did the job.

    1. Yes, you can change the type in less than a minute.

      I have a two-inch purple ribbon for a time clock that can be cut right down the middle to provide a good ribbon for this machine.

  3. With the restauration done, I can see the many hours that went into cleaning and assembling - for the collector, mostly hours of bliss (sparsed with some difficult moments)...