Here’s a look at residents in detention in my neighborhood junk shops near San Francisco. Unfortunately, I did not post bail on any of these beauties. Most of the prices were beyond my current cheap thrills limit. I lucked out with my first six typewriters – they were all free to very affordable.
I had some free time last week, so I decided to go typewriter sightseeing. There were no typewriters at either Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul so I headed over to the town junk / antique stores. First stop: an antique shop with three typewriters:
196x Underwood 21
There was a huge piece of luggage that looked like it had a typewriter in it. I popped the case to check it out.
It sort of worked. I was unable to appreciate the fine Olivetti engineering since the keys were so gummy I had to manually return them to the basket with each stroke. The price was a non-starter for me and it was really HUGE for a portable. This Underwood 21 is about as portable as my KMC – it would be better with wheels.
193X Remington 5
$95.00 – $125.00 (two price tags)
Neat looking typewriter with swell curves. Seemed to work (ribbon dried out so I couldn’t get a type sample), but there was something funky about the margins which I couldn’t figure out and the keys were pretty sticky. I do love the red “Self Starter” button:
1948 Smith-Corona Silent
I love the looks of these, but this one was in terrible, terrible shape. Looks like someone must have sat on the keyboard as I could see the imprint of buttocks on the sunken keys. Carriage string snapped. Bent and gummed up keys. I didn’t ask the price on this S-C Silent. I feel like I should go back and ask if only to put it in protective custody. When researching the Floating Shift mechanism online, I ran into a website where someone had made jewelry out of a Floating Shift key. 😦
Next stop – thrift shop down a few blocks away.
195X Smith-Corona Silent Super
In great shape and typed well. It had a San Jose business sticker:
193X Underwood Universal
Gorgeous machine in fine typing shape – with those nifty Underwood spool covers.
Now onto one of my walk-to neighborhood junk shops:
1970 Brother Echelon 89
This one triggers some heavy 70s nostalgia in me with that simulated wood grain trim – it’s the Country Squire of typewriters. It typed fine, but I wasn’t thrilled with the sound and feel. I do love those big chunky keys though. And the wood grain trim. Ah, the 70s!
And lastly to my favorite walk-to neighborhood store. This is where I got my Corona Four, Skyriter and Torpedo. The owner is very flexible about pricing.
I could bring a lot of things home from this place if I had less restraint.
Here is a Burroughs cousin for $50:
I spotted this bevy of beauties:
They were on a shelf almost out of reach.
196X Smith-Corona Electra 120
S/N 6LE2 -120200
I am generally not an electric typewriter person though I have bitter-sweet memories of the Selectrics of my youth. This Electra 120 is on the fugly side, but she won me over once I plugged her in – so much fun to play with.
1965 Olympia SG3
This Olympia is a honey. Large Marge. I am worried that I might bring her home at some point. I kind of love everything about her except I couldn’t get the right margin to work. And she is HUGE – a mountain of a typewriter. I might be able to talk the junk store owner into a price reduction. I am enamored of the double spacing key.
And she’s just filthy dirty. I could spend so many happy hours cleaning up this Olympia.
196X Royal FP
I couldn’t test this one as the ribbon was tangled, I couldn’t pop the lid and the left Magic Margin wouldn’t hold. Another day perhaps.
Update: I stopped in an antique store in next town over yesterday and saw this:
195x Royal Quiet De Luxe
Wow – knock out color and very clean. The price is…more than I am budgeting for typewriters right now. The font is beautiful:
That’s all for my sightseeing – I added the Brother Echelon 89 and the Smith-Corona Electra 120 to the Typewriter Database as the database didn’t yet have photo examples of these fine machines.
Note: this post is partly inspired by Richard Polt’s Typewriter Safaris – they are very entertaining reads:
The Typewriter Revolution: Photo safari
The Typewriter Revolution: Sunday’s safari
The Typewriter Revolution: January’s safari and guessing game
7 thoughts on “Inmates of the Junk Shop: Typewriters Doing Time”
I took a shine to Large Marge too!
Marge is a babe. She may come home with me yet.
Ha, you have a stronger will than I. The SG3 would have come home with me in an instant, even though I already have two 😉
This SG3 was very hard to resist – especially since I know the store owner can be very flexible with pricing.
Some very good machines there, at prices that seem a bit…. excessive.
The prices did sort of take the wind out of my sails –
Lovely safari! I would have had a difficult time walking away from the Remington 5. Bit of a 30s obsession right now. Someday…