Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Smith-Corona Deluxe Secretarial typewriter

On the road to Milwaukee I picked up a big Smith-Corona for $15. The glossy gray finish appealed to me and the name wasn't familiar, so I thought there might be something unusual about it.

It must be unusual indeed, because I can find hardly any references to this model. One other blogger (not a typospherian) mentions that she owns one, some ribbons were sold with the name, and there is this little ad from January 30, 1959.

Note that the Deluxe Secretarial doesn't get top billing here, as if the dealer hardly expects that anyone will want it. The difference in price between the DS and the Pacemaker was a significant $35.50 (comparable to $300 today). I wonder whether the DS was designed as a model that would make other models look like good deals by comparison; in other words, it was not expected to sell, but to drive consumer interests to other Smith-Coronas.

So what was "deluxe" about this model? Other than the glossy paint, I can find only one feature:

At the printing point, a plastic lens enlarges the readings on the scale. A good idea, I think, but is it worth $39.50 in 1959 dollars? You be the judge.

My machine has serial number 6B3081243-11. The serial number records available on The Typewriter Database don't include any "6B" series, so I can only guess at the date of manufacture. The ad reproduced above suggests 1958 or 1959.

This typewriter needed a good cleaning and some work on the escapement. The right platen knob, as you can see, has been smashed in an odd way (anyone have a replacement?).
In my opinion, the Smith-Corona standards of this time have an attractive, streamlined design, which is brought out even more by the shiny paint.

The front "control panel" looks great.

Now, who has one of these or can tell me more?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Biting the hand that feeds me

PS: I've added a fourth ringtone / alert tone to my collection of typewriter tones. (No, it doesn't look like I'm going to completely break free of the digital world any time soon!)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Keep your typewriter working for Uncle Sam

A recent purchase came with a pamphlet I'd never seen before, published by the Federal Work Improvement Program in 1945. It offers good advice on caring for standard office typewriters of the day. Pictured are Remington, Underwood, and L.C. Smith machines.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pad testimonials

Many thanks to these buyers of a Jackalope typewriter pad who've taken the trouble to send me these unsolicited testimonials. Type on, friends!

Monday, August 11, 2014

The road from Milwaukee

On the way back home from Milwaukee, I got to return to my old haunts in Chicago (where I lived for 6 years) and see my friend Ton S., whose report on the visit you can find here

Here's Ton in his office, where his MP1 is proudly displayed.

The "reveal": I bought his Omega II. Looks just like a Princess, and it's a good typewriter, but it doesn't feel as smooth as the German original. (I sure look like a conehead from this POV!)

Then there was still time for a little typewriter hunting on the road. This rusty and dusty RNP7 for $77.50 was, unfortunately, typical of what I saw.
 A simple UB Royal portable from 1940 had these "suggestions" with it, so I took the opportunity to snap a couple of pictures: 

Here's an Underwood 5 with a familiar-looking printout from my website.

I got home without acquiring any new typewriters. Just as well—if my count is right, I already had 15 16 in the car!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Saturday at the convention

Saturday started with a good swap meet, including rarities and common machines, art by L.A. Marler (who was here with her mom), and typewriters just brought for show and tell.

I sold this Standard Folding to a journalist who's looking forward to displaying it. Someone said that it would be neat if this typewriter could write in the same style as its logo. I agreed that that would be a cool American counterpart to the German Fraktur machines.
 ETCetera editor Ed Neuert holds the world's tiniest Oliver no. 5. (The summer issue of ETCetera should be ready in a couple of weeks.)

FUTURISTIC: George Jetson's favorite typewriter platen!

Gigi Clark gets started on her presentation about teaching typewriters of the 1930s and on: machines with color-coded keyboards, animal keyboards, blank keyboards, etc. In the foreground: two Oliver 7's with consecutive serial numbers.

Mike Campbell spoke on techniques for working with rubber and making new rubber feet.

Peter Kirwan, founder of Collexion, also introduced us to this new website for collectors.

Meanwhile, Professor Typewriter, AKA Herman Price, had devised a challenging quiz. For instance:

High Volume = ?
Slick Willie = ?
blocuiam = ?

All answers are names of typewriters.

The prize for whoever got the most quiz answers right: a one-of-two-kind Lego model of the Travis Typewriter, created by the Professor himself. The winner was a local collector who's been at it for just one month!

There was also a five-minute typing speed contest. Gabe Burbano lugged this Remington electric from New Jersey just so he could type the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners' names on certificates that he had designed himself ...

... and look at its 6-point typeface! Maybe it should be called ... Standard Folding.

As for the typing contest, it was won by this contestant on a KMM who managed to get into the second paragraph of expertly prepared drivel from 1924 quick enough to make up for his numerous typos ...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Friday at the convention

On Friday at the collectors' convention, we went to the Milwaukee Public Museum for presentations on the industrial history of the city (Jeff Vanevenhoven), the typewriter insurgency (me), and the history of typewriters and women (Peter Weil) ...

... and we also got to gawk at a small selection of the museum's amazing typewriter collection.

Early Sholes experimental model (big—these are real piano keys):

The Harr, a complex and delicate index typewriter. Only example known. Type is located on tiny upward-swinging typebars.

Jones Mechanical Typographer. First factory-produced typewriter, 1852. (More on Jones.)

My personal favorite: the Nickerson, a very complex vertical-platen machine.

But this is the most impressive piece of antique technology in Milwaukee, and it's still in use:

Onward we proceeded to Forest Home Cemetery and the grave of Christopher Latham Sholes, marked with a monument erected some time after his death (1923?):

Many of us, including me, took selfies with our buddy Chris.

And to top off a good day, I added a little something to my collection ...