Some time ago I pulled out my Rheinmetall to type up some stuff, and I said to myself, “How sweet it is!” The typing was perfect. I love the way this thing rolls – serious surfin’ swagger.
Last weekend, I drove out from DC to West Virginia to attend the Spring Typewriter Jubilee at Herman’s. About 50 typewriter enthusiasts were getting together, and how could I say no to that kind of good times energy?
I have some messy hobbies that junk up the house, and one of them is amateur typewriter repair. Some people garden or crochet, but I enjoy the sweet thrill of finding the fix that makes a broken typewriter sing again. I try not to collect typewriters, but a few have worked their way into my heart.
The other morning my husband spotted my dear neighbor Connie standing silently, patiently outside my front door with a Royal 10 in her arms. She had carried the machine up the street from her house despite the fact that it weighs a full third of her body weight. The Royal 10 had been in the family and no one wanted it (!), so she hauled it up the block to my home for unwed typewriters. I haven’t lived here long, but the neighbors are already on to me, familiar with my strange quirks and enthusiasms.
A few weeks ago I had the run of the house while my husband and daughter were out of town, so I conducted a science experiment that involved dunking a very rusty typewriter in a citric acid bath.
There was so much orange, gummy residue in this S-C Silent-Super that I got from Ebay a couple weeks ago. I think it was old WD-40. The escapement (and carriage rails, margins, shift lock, space bar) responded to a good cleaning with mineral spirits, but the typebars required a lot of work. I searched my mind, but I don’t think I have ever come across as sticky a typewriter as this one. The typebars were gummy not only in the segment but at many other tight pivot points. Some keys were sticking in the sublever segment, and some were gummy at the clevis connections. Others (I think) were sticking in the key guide comb. I also had a couple type slugs that had little corrosion burrs that caused them to stick in the typebar guide. I cleaned up the sides of the affected type slugs with some steel wool.
The mineral spirits I buy in Virginia seems to be a more aggressive formulation than the gentle, forgiving mineral spirits I get in California. I have to be very careful to keep these Virginia mineral spirits away from any painted surface.
After de-gumming the mechanics, I removed the Silent-Super’s tangled drawstring from its guts. I made the new drawstring from heavy duty waxed thread. I didn’t have the little hook end for the drawstring, so I just made a knotted loop and tightened it down at the anchor point at the right end of the carriage.
I used the Robert Messenger method of drawstring attachment and pre-wound my mainspring before I attached my drawstring to the mainspring. However, I just saw a very interesting Phoenix Typewriter video that demonstrates a Smith-Corona mechanism that allows you to wind the mainspring after you attach the drawstring. You learn something new every day !
The tabbing mechanism was still halting and sluggish. I wiped down all the pivots points I could see, but it was still slow on tabbing. Fortunately I had Ted Munk’s Smith-Corona Floating Shift Typewriter Repair Bible. This repair manual is also available as a PDF download. After reading through the section on the tabulator, I found the buried spots I had neglected to clean with mineral spirits. After a good clean, tabbing was fast and smooth.
The uppercase/lowercase alignment was a little off. The lowercase letters were printing a wee bit high.
I referred to Ted Munk’s post about making vertical alignment adjustments on segment shift typewriters. Phoenix Typewriter also has a very good Youtube video on making the adjustments.
I used a 3/16″ nut driver to loosen the lowercase lock nut and turned the adjustment screw a bit with a teeny screwdriver.
Whoops! Wrong way! It’s going up higher. Other way, other way. That’s better.
I tightened down the lowercase lock nut and it’s all good.
Here’s a parts diagram for the Silent-Super that I snagged from a 1958 Silent- Super/Sterling/Clipper manual in Richard Polt’s typewriter manual archive:
I removed the platen to clean it and all the bits around it which were still very sticky and furry from congealed something-or-the-other.
Removing the platen is pretty easy on this type of Smith-Corona portable. Joe Van Cleave has a good Youtube video describing the features of a S-C Silent. At about 11:30 in the video, he demonstrates how to pop out the platen.
- Lift the paper bail
- Tilt back the tab cover
- Pull out the variable line spacer on the left platen knob
- Press the platen release latch forward
- Lift platen out
I cleaned the gummy residue from the platen, rubber bail rollers and feed rollers with denatured alcohol.
Pinkie’s outer skin was still pretty rough. She had lots of surface rust and bare metal.
I used diluted Scrubbing Bubbles to gently clean the pink paint. I was worried that it would remove paint, so I tested in an unseen spot in the back. It removed gray grunge but no pink paint.
Here’s a photo on my work bench after I had cleaned her backside. The machine arrived from Ebay with a gray, grubby cast, but a careful cleaning slowly revealed her bright pink flesh.
Pinkie’s pink paint was very bright, but she had some major dings. I primed bare metal spots, and I made up an acrylic paint mixture of various pinks for paint touch-up. It was tricky because the pink was not uniform in color over the typewriter: salmon here, coral there, dusty rose over there.
I made very conservative, respectful paint touch-ups. This Silent-Super is a Smith-Corona Super-Sweet:
Old Pinkie has lost a lot of her grungy, corrupt toy vibe. However, I “kept it real” with this clean-up, so she still has her charming smattering of corroded freckles.
X Over It has a nice collection of Smith-Corona portable advertisements. Pinkie’s color is officially called “Coral Pink”. In 1957, Silent-Supers’ list price was $129.00. If you convert that to 2019 dollars, that’s about $1160.00. That sounds like a lot, but I know that I spent more on computers in the early 1990s that are now considered e-waste. Hello, 386/33 with a whole 4Mb of RAM!
Pinkie gets along great with her blue S-C Sans-A-Tab brother. Maybe I can rent out my pink and blue Silent-Supers to people throwing gender reveal parties. Typewriters seem safer than involving alligators.
I have a pretty collection of colorful Easter eggs sunning themselves on the bookshelf.
Sing it, Pinkie:
In our dining room, we have a framed artifact from a simpler time.
This is Old Pinkie. It started out as a Halloween costume and was worn every day for several months in 2005/2006. Here is Old Pinkie in late December 2005.
It was about 50 degrees and foggy, so my daughter is wearing Old Pinkie and flip flops. Contrary to the opinion of every grandmother out there, going coatless and wearing the same ballerina costume every day are not life or death situations.
We framed Old Pinkie because it serves as a reminder of the limits of power when faced with a wily, tenacious, and vocal adversary.
Welp, there’s a new Old Pinkie in town: a 1956 Smith-Corona Silent Super, serial number 5T 416581X.
Last week both my husband and my daughter were out of town, so I had the whole house to myself for a few days.
I conducted a science experiment in the garage. More about that in a future post.
I thought that having the run of the place was going to be a lot more fun than it was, but I was at loose ends without the customary structure to my days. I binged-watched Russian Doll, finished off a bag of marshmallows for dinner, and trolled eBay.
I found an Art Nouveau beast at eBay that I really, really wanted, so I put it on my Christmas wish list.
Also on eBay, I found this SC Silent Super that I impulsively, guiltily bought. What a honey. This is my kind of typewriter: one that looks like it will involve many pleasant hours of tinkering and cleaning.
It came with a “Holiday” case:
I had no idea you could remove the metal fastening frame from the case, but you just push the frame release lever to the right and lift it out. This is going to make cleaning so much easier.
Here’s a Godfrey’s Fix-it Shop (Seattle, WA) price list from September 1969:
It looks like rotisserie repair was more lucrative than typewriter repair at that time.
The typewriter itself was impressively dirty, full of orange gunk and hair. Touching it left me sticky and hairy.
The drawstring was snapped and twisted around the mainspring.
None of the keys moved initially, but I got the letter T to type. I pulled left on the carriage to see if the escapement would advance, but no go.
Underneath, all the dogs and rockers and wheels and springs and whatnot were paralyzed in orange congealed goo – perhaps this typewriter was the victim of WD40?
I did a quick wipe down with mineral spirits and manually worked the escapement until it was springy and responsive. The carriage began to advance when I hammered the letter T.
This Old Pinkie is going to be just fine. I have another Silent Super to refer to if I run into problems:
To be continued.
Ah, Spring. I think it was Tennyson who wrote, “In the Spring a young woman’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of typewriters in the garage.”
Last week I got a desperate “help needed” text message from J. As you might recall from a previous post, J. is a typewriter enthusiast who lives in Northern Virginia. She teaches 4th grade art and has begun integrating typewriters into her classroom. I had fixed up a rusty Underwood-Olivetti Lettera 22 for her and she has been using it for journalling. It has become her most favored typewriter because of its touch and light weight. Unfortunately, the drawstring snapped last week and she was devastated.
My brain is kind of pickled by pop culture and the internet, so in my failing state, I made this. I apologize for acting like somebody’s mom who just discovered memes:
I had to do it; her look of knowing approval just kills me.
The big Typewriter Jamboree (AKA the 11th Annual Chestnut Ridge Typewriter Rendezvous hosted by Herman Price AKA Hermanpalooza) was last weekend. Before I set out for Herman’s on Friday, I packed up a couple donations for Wordplay Cincy: a real nice Olympia SM3 and a Lettera 22 with script typeface that I bought in North Platte, Nebraska. The Lettera was very sticky and had the gummy escapement problem that causes the carriage to slide willy-nilly, so I did quick clean.
I hit the road on a beautiful fall day and headed west out of DC.
Into the mountains I went:
I reached Morgantown, WV and then made my way to Herman’s where Friday arrivals were to congregate. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
Good grief – the party was already rocking and rolling Friday afternoon. Porta-Potties at the ready.
This is a beautiful Oliver 9 rehab in fire-engine red:
In the evening I headed out into Morgantown proper which is a nice little college town with a very happening nightlife:
I saw a manhole with my favorite exasperation exclamation. It is frequently heard coming from me, bent over a typewriter:
Saturday dawned chilly and gray. The rain started.
It got muddy. Like Woodstock, but with less LSD.
Fortunately we had a huge tent for presentations and vats of hot coffee (courtesy of Mrs. Price who deserves a medal for Extreme Hostessing Skills)
Herman formally welcomed us with jokes. He is very funny – his comedic timing is pro-level.
And then came the presentations: Typewriter First Aid using the gun technique which I ate up. It was so good – I picked up a bunch of good ideas.
The Brumfield clan brought a slew of typewriters – many from the Magdalinski Collection of South Bend , IN. Brian B’s presentation on the incredible work his family did in saving many of the typewriters in the collection was riveting.
I didn’t know much about Royal electrics, but I came away with a new appreciation of them after Ian B’s presentation. Some of these pictured are extremely rare.
There was a typewriter beauty contest:
Number 88, the Pittsburgh won:
A lot of people came with business cards. I’ll have to make up some for myself.
I talked typewriters with people all day Saturday until I was hoarse. I picked up so many excellent tips on typewriter repair and cleaning. It was a novel feeling, talking typewriters with people equally passionate about the crazy things. There were so many typospherian rock stars in the flesh at the gathering – I felt a bit shy. I was thisclose to asking for pictures with them, but I chickened out.
Saturday evening, mid-sentence in a discussion about Smith Corona 5 series, I felt the abrupt onset of overwhelming exhaustion. A career introvert, the day had got the best of me and I cratered. I slunk back to the silence of my hotel room to recover and work through the conversations of the day.
I had to leave early Sunday morning, so I missed the speed typing contest. However, other attendees posted pictures of the Jamboree on the Facebook Antique Typewriter’s Collectors group page.
Resolutions for next year at Herman’s
- Plan better so that I can stay for Sunday’s events
- Talk to all the people I didn’t get a chance to pester this year
- Get pictures with people
- Bring business cards with contact information
- Encourage Herman to open his swimming pool (just kidding!)
Early Sunday I returned to the DC area – a light early snow blanketed the mountains.
I came back with three delightful junkers that were essentially freebies: two Royal 10s and a LC Smith No. 8, all with “issues”.
The L.C. Smith No. 8 is a pretty early one, serial number 278424-8. It’s a 1916 which would make it the earliest No. 8 at TWDB.
Side note: Typewriter Database Version Epsilon is looking pretty snazzy! It’s so nice to have the mobile and desktop versions united.
The L.C. Smith was rusted solid – boat anchor/doorstop condition. I blew out the crud and doused it with PB Blaster penetrant and left it to reek quietly in the garage while I unpacked.
When I came back, I gently tried to move the carriage. It moved with crusty squeaks. With patience and petroleum-based penetrants, I gently freed the stiffened parts. Using my hands and a soft touch, I delicately tried to move the rust-frozen parts that should move: typebars, ribbon vibrator, universal bar, sublevers, carriage return, back space. I got the letter “T” moving. The slug met the platen, there was a ba-dump as the escapement did its thing, and the typewriter moved a space.
Here’s the “T” and space bar working it:
Now that I am sure that the LC Smith can type, I want to clean it thoroughly. I wish I could do the kind of work that Words Are Winged does – he’s amazing. I may do a careful Evapo-rust/cleaning dunk if I can get the keys and platen off. The platen is soldered on (!) Someone lost the screw and decide to affix the sliding platen holder with a blob of solder. Oh well. Onward.
*Postscript to Anne ’88: drop me a line at the email address below so I can come pick up your typewriters.
We formally put Summer to bed more than a month ago. Though it remained hotter than Hades for a good long time after, they closed the pools and everybody had to Get Serious.
I experienced a severe summertime hangover and really had problems Getting Serious. The familiar rhythms of work and school have resumed, but I am stuck in summer. It may be that my Typewriters Across America Experience was too rushed and I haven’t had time to process everything I saw and felt.
I started doing some work for a new company and in the course of new employee orientation, something in the employee handbook jumped out and caught my eye:
This means the party is officially over.
I had a few days in California in August before I had to return to the east coast. I played with my new 1956 Alpina, but ran out of time cleaning it up. It looks like a chunky 1950s robot.
It was very dirty:
Even so, I put some paper in her and did a short typing comparison with the new Adler J3 and the Olympia SM3:
Both my son and I did comparison typing. The Alpina (even in its grunky state) was a very close competitor to the almost brand new Adler. The Olympia is wonderful (also almost brand new), but both of us didn’t like its heavy carriage shift.
The Alpina uses a partial carriage shift (skeleton shift). Will Davis describes it this way:
One notable feature of Alpina machines is that, while they employ carriage shift, only the platen actually moves when the shift keys are depressed. This makes shifting rather easy considering the size and weight of these machines — these are among the very biggest and heaviest portables in the post-1958 enlarged overall size.
He is right. The shift is light, but the Alpina is incredibly heavy. I wish I had put it on the scale.
Its lovely clamshell case is arresting.
The case looks like it’s metal, but it’s actually very thin, fragile 1950s plastic. It has a couple small cracks at the hinges:
I understand that this type of Alpina case is fairly rare. I imagine not many of its fragile kind survived the years, hauling superchunk Alpinas.
One interesting thing about this Alpina is that it has two serial numbers: one riveted to inside body (#73969) and one under the carriage on the left (#75330).
I took a few more pictures for Typewriter Database and then l lovingly kissed the Alpina goodbye. I’ll see her again in December/January.
I flew home to Virginia in August with two typewriters as carry-ons. I’ll be taking them to Herman Price’s Typewriter Jamboree for someone who expressed an interest in them. The Lettera 22 fit perfectly into my laptop backpack.
And the Olympia SM3 fit inside a rolling carry-on.
I have taken typewriters through airports in the past and have been disappointed that I have never had them examined by TSA. This time though, I was waved to the side for further inspection. I guess one typewriter is fine, but two or more trigger the Typewriter Smuggler Alarm.
I was very satisfied with TSA agent’s sincere surprise when he opened my luggage and saw typewriters. He loved the Olympia (who wouldn’t?)
“Oh wow!” he said. “That’s really cool. Does it work? Really?? It’s worth like a $1000.00, right?”
It is worth that.
Met with genuine approval by the TSA agent, we were waved through and the typewriters made it safely to Virginia.
Now that I am back in the old routine, I have been thinking a lot about a tweet that I saw at the end of the summer. The Alpina typed it out for me. I think about it frequently in the shower. It’s a perfect way to start each day.
I ended up bringing home the Adler J3 and the Alpina SK24:
The Alpina’s gigantic prehistoric clamshell case is worth the price of admission.
I paid more than I usually do. I was feeling flush, so I brought home a couple typewriters.
The Alpina was just junky enough. It needs a good cleaning, and it then will look and type great. I have always wanted to play with an Alpina and an Adler and here’s my chance.
The Adler looks like it was never used. It had the factory control sheet, cleaning packet with brushes and a user manual.
The carriage lock was on, and I wasn’t sure how to unlock it, so I checked the user manual:
Stern but kindly. Star Wars Extended Universe needs to introduce a Yoda-like character that talks like this. I assume this was translated word-for-word from the original German. I am going to start talking like this to my kids.
I had problems removing the Adler from its bottom plate of the case. I carefully read the directions:
Ok – that sounds easy. But no go. Turn, lift. Turn, lift. Turn, wiggle, lift. Turn, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, lift. It was stuck, stuck stuck. I could pry it off with brute force, but the case and base are 1960s plastic and I didn’t want to crack or damage them.
Fortunately, I found out that I am not the only person in the world who has had a problem like this with an Adler portable. As usual, thetypewriterman had some insightful comments and very sensible advice.
I also vaguely remembered a Rev. Munk post about a Triumph Perfekt that wouldn’t come off its base and how he remedied the problem.
Both Oztypewriter and Writelephant have documented the entwined Triumph + Adler history. Apparently the two companies joined their development and production programs in the 1950s. The Triumph Gabriele 10 looks an awful lot like my Adler J3.
Anyhoo – the upshot is that on some of these Adler and Triumph portables, the rubber collars that hold the typewriter to the base compress over time, lose their shape, get hard, and prevent removal of the typewriter from the base.
I read through thetypewriterman’s instructions and Rev. Munk’s post and determined that I needed to remove the ribbon cover and with a long handled tool, pry off the e-clips that hold the rubber collars in place.
Here’s what I was after: the e-clip on each side which sit on top of a metal washer which sit on top of a rubber collar.
I didn’t have any long handled screwdrivers in the house, so I emailed Good Neighbor Brian. He came over with a bunch of tools. Here is Brian petting my Adler as if it were a friendly cat:
I decided to work on the living room floor because why not. I laid out an old white sheet to work on in case little typewriter pieces went flying. I am glad I did because I had some washers that went on the loose.
Through some extreme finagling with a long-handled screw driver with a small thin head, I was able to pop the e-clips off each side and lift the typewriter free. The secret is getting in the little space between the clip and the spindle and popping from there. The misshapen rubber collars were stuck in the bottom of the typewriter so I popped them out:
Here are the latch components:
- two metal washers
- rubber collar
- metal washer
Here’s the whole latch assembled:
It’s a weird little setup. The rubber collar is supposed to slide into the bottom holes of the typewriter. When the latch is turned, it squishes the rubber down and secures the machine to the bottom plate.
Unfortunately after 50+ years of being compressed, the rubber collars have flattened, hardened, and won’t willingly leave the holes in the bottom of the typewriter.
In Rev. Munk’s fix, he found tubing of the correct diameter and cut new rubber collars to size. Since my rubber bushings were still fairly pliable and I didn’t have any rubber hose, I decided to sand them down so that they would slide easily into the holes into the bottom of the typewriter. Good Neighbor Brian suggested the drill-mounted set-up below for sanding:
I mounted the rubber bushing on a long bolt in the drill and then ran the drill against a sanding block to sand off a little of the bushing.
I sanded just a little so that the bushings would slide snuggly through the holes. I dabbbed a little olive oil on the rubber to make things slide and put the assembly back together. Silicone lubricant would have been best since it doesn’t degrade rubber, but all I had was olive oil. I’ll see if Brian has silicone grease.
Poifect! The typewriter attaches and de-attaches to the base flawlessly.
Here are some beauty shots.
1964 Adler J3
Serial number : 3352292 (stamped under carriage on left)
It looks like the Adler typeface is Ro 82 Pica Imperial:
I am going to end it here with Barbara Mandrell playing the steel guitar and singing the sorrows of an Adler whose base just won’t let go:
I know this is Patti Page’s song, but I love Barbara and the multi-talented Mandrell sisters.
Odds & Ends
Typewriter Twitter Ha Ha
I saw this on Twitter the other day. Is Robert Caro in 2018 using a Smith-Corona Electra 120 to write his fifth LBJ volume?! Whatta guy!
My son saw my Chinook van with cow catcher in my last post:
and raised me a three-axle endtimes van (also seen in the neighborhood):
Sad to report that we didn’t take any fun typewriter hunting excursions to antique malls in Nevada. I was concerned about the roads between Winnemucca, NV and San Mateo, CA. There are currently 17 active wild fires burning in California. I worried that we might hit road closures in the Sierra. It was a bit smoky in parts, but otherwise the roads were fine—congested with weekend traffic but fine.
We made it to San Francisco, the City of Year Round Wool. I love you, Fog. It was 64° as we crossed the Bay Bridge.
We got to the House Without Parents: Bay Area Edition™ where my son greeted us. We delivered the car and accomplished our primary mission. The old house smelled vaguely of old typewriters – I added a couple more to the aroma:
I felt like I needed some closure to my Typewriters Across America Experience, so I went out walking in the neighborhood to visit some of my old haunts – various thrifts, Goodwill, antique stores. I saw a really cool van, but no typewriters:
I drove down the peninsula to an antique mall that I have been to before and saw some typewriters:
Three out of the five didn’t have a price, so this wasn’t a very informative typewriter safari.
I was restless, so I decided to head up to San Francisco check out an antique and collectibles mall I had heard about.
When Moe closed her shop in San Mateo, she opened a small display at an antiques and colllectibles collective in SF called Stuff.
I took the train up to San Francisco and hiked over:
150 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94103
It’s big: two levels with 17,000 sq ft of display space and 60+ vendors.
I found Moe’s case – a distillation of the pure essence of Mozo’s:
Stuff is full of stuff, and they had typewriters.
The Adler came with the factory control sheet, user manual, cleaning set. Looks like it has an interesting typeface.
I hadn’t meant to buy anything since I was on foot and on the train. I ended up with two. Can you guess which two?
Now I need to drive up to San Francisco to retrieve my loot.
I’m a bit late posting this installment of Typewriters Across America because of a lack of internet access this morning. Better late than never!
Friday we traveled from Salt Lake City, UT to Winnemucca, NV. Before we left Salt Lake, we decided to try an antique mall.
Capital City Antique Mall
959 S W Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
It is a large and well-organized space:
We immediately saw a typewriter:
And then we saw a whole shelf of typewriters:
Wowie! Let’s go through these.
Check out the beautiful badge on this Underwood – pure delight:
The Remington portable below was being sold “as-is” and I was tempted. I tested it and there didn’t seem to be anything really wrong with it besides the poor condition of the decals and lack of a case. I took a pass:
The Underwood below was being sold in “as-is” condition for $199.99.
The number and variety of typewriters at this single antique mall suggests that the supply is good here in Salt Lake and judging by the prices, the market is healthy and hungry for typewriters.
After the antique mall, we drove by the Mormon Temple:
The streets in Salt Lake are incredibly wide, and I’ve read that Brigham Young himself directed them to be built thus so that wagon teams could turn in the streets without “resorting to profanity.”
We then stopped by the Great Salt Lake on our way out of the city. I have fond childhood memories of a family vacation when we played in the Great Salt Lake. The salinity of the lake is so high that you can’t sink – you just float and bob in the water. This lady gets the Great Salt Lake exactly right. It’s stinky and buggy, but so fun.
After that we hit the road for Nevada. We raced past salt flats that ran for miles in every direction.
After we entered Nevada, we noticed that it was getting hazier and hazier. By the time we reached our hotel, the air was gray with smoke.
Fire season is a terrible thing in the western states. In summer and into the early fall, the vegetation turns dry, the winds begin to blow, and the fires start. Right now there are several active fires burning in California.
In Winnemucca, a smoky haze hung over the town. The hotel lost wi-fi service while we were there because of fires to the west. I watched a whole troop of sunburned firefighters check into the hotel.
Parts of the road home through the Sierra today were very smoky, but fortunately we encountered no road closures.
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of Typewriters Across America: Typewriters of the SF Bay Area.
Yesterday we started out in Laramie, WY and ended the day in Salt Lake City, UT. My daughter and I decided to hit a couple antique malls in Laramie before leaving town. It’s a college town (University of Wyoming) and a pretty big city for Wyoming, so the typewriter prospects were good.
Bart’s Flea Market
2401 Soldier Springs Rd, Laramie, WY 82070
Bart’s is a huge standing flea market that occupies what looks like a former grocery store.
Well, this looks promising:
There were about 50 separate booths, but among them all we could only find one typewriter:
Huh. Well, onto the next antique mall:
1575 N 4th St, Ste 107, Laramie, WY 82072
SALS was conveniently located next to a Goodwill. Looks like another old grocery store.
It was huge (almost as big as Bart’s) and packed with interesting stuff. But no typewriters. Not a single one.
The gentlemen at the counter seemed bemused when I asked about typewriters. They rarely got them and the big ones were hard to sell. He had an old black Underwood (very heavy) at home that was broken that he couldn’t sell. He wished he could sell it to me but he didn’t have it at the store.
Another gentleman in the store told me he had three typewriters, but they were in west Laramie and would I like to come see them? I thanked him and told him no, we were just passing through.
My daughter and I then walked next door to see if there was anything at Goodwill. There were no typewriters at Goodwill.
I took the opportunity to yell at some unsupervised kids who were playing in traffic in front of Goodwill. “YOU KIDS: GET OUT OF THE TRAFFIC,” I yelled. That was deeply satisfying. I could do that all day.
We hopped in the car and headed west. See those snow covered peaks way off in the distance? Those are the Rocky Mountains. That’s the only time we saw snow covered peaks all day. Instead we ascended to high flattish-lumpy desert that got progressively more barren as we climbed.
Up, up, up we went and it became increasingly arid. Alkalai flats and sagebrush began to appear. We saw groups of pronghorn antelope. Sadly no pictures of the pronghorn, but here are some desert horses hanging out.
Out of nowhere popped an oil refinery – like Gas Town in Mad Max.
I had mapped out a first stop at an antique store in Rawlins, WY. It had a pretty little downtown, but many vacant shop fronts.
420 W Cedar St, Rawlins, WY 82301
Sadly, our destination had gone out of business:
Back in the car. Fortunately, I had thrift shops mapped out in Rock Springs, WY which is a largish town with a community college.
We were up at about 7,000-8,000 ft. We crossed the Continental Divide twice (long story)
Rock Springs was a bust in terms of typewriters: one thrift shop was closed and two others had no typewriters. There were lots of empty store fronts in the historic downtown area.
Back on the road.
We couldn’t get a data connection on my phone to research thrifts and antique stores in towns further down the road. Fortunately, my husband back in Virginia texted us a list of shops in a town called Evanston, WY, so we made a stop.
Some stores on the list were closed (either permanently or for the day), but we found one open:
NU2U Thrift Shop
221 10th St Ste 1, Evanston, Wyoming 82930
This thrift shop is housed in what was formerly the post office and court house:
It’s a grand old building, and it was a little jarring to see the racks and shelves jammed into the space.
The old building directory is still up:
There was one typewriter there – a gray and mustard combo:
Back in the car for our last bit of road to Salt Lake City, I thought about the typewriters I saw (and didn’t see) in Wyoming. I had hoped to find untapped troves of typewriters in wilds of Wyoming. I saw just three: one in Cheyenne, one in Laramie, and one in Evanston. Was I looking in the wrong places?
More likely I saw few because they are few and far apart. It’s a state with low population density – second lowest density state after Alaska with 6 residents per square mile. Few people = few typewriters. And they’re all spread out. It may be that I actually did pretty good spotting three in Wyoming.
We made our way to Salt Lake City, UT descending the Wasatch mountains into the Great Basin.
This morning we’ll try our luck typewriter spotting in Salt Lake City.