This new-to-me American Writing Machine Company Century 10 is an eBay impulse buy with free shipping. I had admired Scott K’s Remington J from afar and when I saw the J’s froggy-eyed cousin online, I jumped on it. Very out of character. I think that the solvents I have been recently using in typewriter clean-up have affected my self-restraint. The solvents may also be opening doors of perception that are better left closed.
1919 American Writing Machine Company Century 10
serial number: HS90097
So my petite 17 lb sorta-portable has arrived from eBay in one piece. The seller packed it beautifully. The typewriter even sort of types a little – a bit arthritic, but game.
Such an old weirdy – why are the ribbon spools tilted like the bulging eyes of Keroppi?
This is my oldest typewriter (my Oliver No. 9 is from 1921). Of note: the Century 10 Richard Polt mentions on his collection page has a serial number of HS90099 – he dates it from June of 1919 (that’s pretty specific). It sounds like my Century 10 (serial number HS90097) was two ahead of his on the assembly line on that June day in 1919.
The typewriter is missing the paper table which would have had a huge Century 10 decal, but overall she seems pretty much intact with all her weirdy parts. Fortunately there is very little rust, just a thick layer of dusty, greasy grime that has undoubtedly protected her for many years.
I think it was Stan Lee – or Voltaire – who said that with great power comes great responsibility. I feel the weight of responsibility to do my best by Old Weirdy and do no harm. I plan to clean her gently and get her running and admire her strange froggy stare.
10 thoughts on “Old Weirdy: Century 10”
Looking forward to seeing how she types. What a relief she arrived well packed, too!
I think she’s going to be a great typer.
I was very relieved when I unpacked. The typewriter arrived boxed in a heavy duty box within two walls of styrofoam and several layers of bubble wrap – I don’t think I could have wrapped it better.
Fantastic! I can’t wait to see the finished product.
Those Century 10s are pretty dang cool. Something about the tilted spools and three bank keyboard just calls to me
I am still trying to figure out a rationale for the tilted spools – they are very unusual.
AH! I can enlighten you on this. The Remington J has the ribbon positioned behind that platen. While it keeps it nicely out of the way, it makes it really hard to change ribbons. The redesign attempted to correct this by positioning the ribbon at the front, where it was easier to change. This was to make it more competitive in the market. However, due to the construction of the frame and the way that the ribbon is advanced on these machines, it meant that there were design compromises involved with moving the ribbons. The angle of the ribbon allows the typist to still have a view of the paper, while the very clumsy pushrod feed mechanism still pushes the ribbon spools.
I’d love to see what it looks like once it is cleaned up. Very nice machine that is worth your efforts!
Thank you for the enlightenment!
Wow, just two serial numbers away from mine! The dating is based on the Remington code (http://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/rem-portables.htm#serialnumbers) — this was a Remington product.
You were right to get it. These are actually quite hard to find.
Thank you for the detailed serial number information -it’s sort of neat to be able to date these to month.
*very* nice pickup! Can’t wait to see it shine 😀