Tag Archives: Smith Corona

A Fine Month is April

Goslings in the park

I like April, especially this year. I got my vaccine last Friday. Found a very good typewriter too, a 1963 Smith Corona Clipper which is in fact a Sterling for those of you who understand these things (Series 5A that is). This one has elite type, and best of all it scans to OCR almost perfectly. That can be a problem if you write a lot on typewriters and wish to scan and edit. I completed my 12th novel last week, 60,000 words typed and scanned and edited. Some of the scans were atrociously poor, others worked well. I try to use a variety of my collection of typewriters, so results vary when scanning. The benefit of smaller type is that you can write more on a line before having to return the carriage, which interrupts the flow. Less interruptions are desirable to keep the words flowing.

’63 Clipper in pale blue

Now that I have finished this book and also the latest guitar, I think I’ll take a break and do something else for a while. Maybe write some more poems. Here’s one from last night. I typed it, then scanned it and edited the text, then printed it and scanned it to a JPEG!

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Filed under Poetry, Typefaces, Typewriters, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Writing

Auction Madness

Smith Corona Clipper Item #156

Last week I saw this Clipper was to be auctioned at Salvation Army. The auction closed at 6 pm. I left at 5.20 in pouring rain, thinking I was mad to go out in this weather. When I arrived, the parking lot was full and there was a crowd waiting for the end of the auction. It was a silent auction, so they claimed, but in reality it wasn’t. If anyone there was interested in anything at all, they held a live auction after closing of the silent auction. I checked the Clipper – still the same price after a week. One bid. I hung out and found something I needed, a ruler for an old drafting machine I picked up last week, to use for laying out large paintings. A bargain at $2.

More waiting around, then I checked the price of the typewriter – same as before. OK, I was now convinced nobody was interested in the typewriter but me. I got a bid form and filled in my bid for $2 more. So generous. The silent auction closed at 6 pm and 10 minutes later they threw open the auction to induce more bidding, of course. The real bidding was about to begin. The first thing up was some gold jewelry. There were half a dozen people keen to have that. The silent auction “winning bid” was $40, but it went for $200. After that there was more of the same. Jewelry, more jewelry and then something called Donald and Mickey. I presume that was Duck and Mouse, but certain humorous images popped into my head just the same.

A guy who told me he’d driven in from way out of town in the darkness and driving rain bought that. After a half hour passed I decided to inquire about the typewriter. Big mistake! Now it would go live and open for bids by anyone present. I should have left my bid and gone home. But, as luck would have it, I was the sole interested party. I paid and went to get my prize. A fellow saw me putting the typewriter in its case.

“If I’d known it had a case, I would have bid on that”, he said, then added, “Tom Hanks uses a typewriter”.


Filed under Thrift shop finds, Typewriters

They Came in Pairs

baby hummingbirds

I received a reminder today of what photos I had taken exactly one year ago. Google does this, for reasons that escape me. All I wanted was a place to backup my picture files, but this is what you get when you join the big machine. However, it was synchronous with a thought I’ve had mulling in my head for some time, which is the phenomenon of pairs – the duality of things. When you get right down to it, everything started with a singularity, which was simply everything in the universe compressed into a point with no dimension. It had no dimension because there was nothing to measure with. Try to imagine the concept – it floors me, so I avoid thinking about it. Maybe Steven Hawking could have explained it to me, alas, but we shall never meet.

So what happened? It expanded, fast. But, mathematically it had to go from being one thing to two, didn’t it? I mean if mathematics holds true in all universes, then the whole number that follows one is two. So I say that two is thus extremely important. With one, there was nothing, but with two there was instantly something, because the 2nd thing made the first thing a point of reference, before which there was none.

Before this gets too confusing I just want to share some pairs of things that I have recently encountered, just because they were a pair. Some were alive, others man made.

Here we have a pair of Smith Corona Sterling’s; a 1951 and a 1956 – one pica, one elite = a perfect set. Since I had collected a few of these, as wonderful as they are, I decided to sell them both. One sold in 2 days. The other just went on the market. What’s the point of having only one of them? So I have to sell the pair. I’m hanging on to my pair of Silent Supers however.

A pair of Olympia SG1’s, both 1963. Both had the same problems – including a disintegrated right margin stop. How odd – clearly a design defect. One elite, one pica – is this a pattern? One sold, the other still for sale. The advantage of this pair coming along in short order is that I have had a chance to examine the engineering closely, since they both required a fair bit of tweaking.

Buying and fixing these is not only fun, but also is a small contribution to keeping these great old machines from the dump. There are no repair shops left in this town, so when I get a typewriter back on the road I feel like I’m contributing something, and the money I make helps me buy and fix more machines, so I’m not out of pocket. Still, they are cheap when you think about what they are worth and what it would cost to buy one in today’s money.

Smith on the left, Corona on the right

Now we move on to wildlife. I always thrill to a pair of bald eagles. This pair was first encountered in one tree, then they flew away. Later on my rambles I saw them again in another tree. To see a pair of them take flight up close is a wonder to behold.

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I saw a pair of ducks we could eat!

Moving on we find some ducks. They tend to hang out in pairs, male and female, but I wonder if they form couples? I think not, but they say geese do.

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Filed under Birds, Philosophy, Photography, Typewriters, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Look Up, it’s Skywriter!

1-dec 7001


Sears Chieftain – Smith Corona Skywriter

1-dec 7002

Royal Futura with new paint job

Royal Futura with new paint job

Does Sears still fix 50 year old typewriters?

Does Sears still fix 50 year old typewriters?


Filed under NaNoWriMo, Thrift shop finds, Typewriters

Winter – Day One

The Canadian Corona Standard

The Canadian Corona Standard


"National Typewriter Exchange Montreal"

“National Typewriter Exchange Montreal”

I forgot to note that this one came from Montreal, my home town. The phone number is MA-2142.

Reminds me of a piano

Reminds me of a piano

Naturally it should have a red/black ribbon, no?

Naturally it should have a red/black ribbon, no?

the following version in a new shell

the following version in a new shell

I think these keys are the most beautiful typeface!

Remington Portable No 2

Remington Portable No 2

Remington 5

Remington 5

That’s the All-Black Typewriter Team!

Complaint department: today I saw a nice old Remette at the Salvation Army. Most frustrating that they had it up for auction. Unsporting I say, contrary to the very spirit of thrift shops what? Spoiling all the fun they are!


Filed under NaNoWriMo, Thrift shop finds, Typewriters

Typewriters and More

Eaton's Prestige c. 1958 (Smith Corona Silent Super)


A close inspection of the mechanics of this machine reveals some interesting engineering. There are variations in the lengths of the key levers, spring hooks, and ribbon lifters which would seem to balance the forces and distances traveled by each key. This is unlike most other machines that I have, where all the levers and rods are strictly proportional to their distance from the centre of the basket. Another feature is a lever which opens the ribbon vibrator so that the ribbon does not require threading into the usual contraptions on either side.


Little Brother

The small Brother is very portable, all metal, and works well. It’s not impressive from an aesthetic standpoint, but it feels good and makes very nice clean type. If you want aesthetics then look no further than the Olivetti Lettera 22. This machine is a designers dream. There is beauty in every little part of it, including the arms of the paper bail, and the fact that they choose to put chromed rollers on it instead of rubber ones. Not only does it look great, but it has amazing touch, and types very softly with no sharp whacking sounds or tinny vibrations. Typing on this is like the feeling you get when you slam the door of a Mercedes.


I discovered an advert for the Eaton’s typewriter from the Montreal Gazette c. 1959. As a native Montrealer it was funny that this was the only ad that my searches turned up. When I was a university student I once worked at Eaton’s, selling…..(not typewriters) … luggage.

Notice in the ad they include a touch typing course on records. Well guess what I found:


Another find was a box of  ‘Eaton’s Corrasable Onion Skin’. Same name but different companies.


One last detail from the Sears Achiever – the gear shift! Actually the ribbon vibrator/holder release lever. Unofficially that is – I have no idea what they called this, but that’s what it does.


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Filed under Thrift shop finds, Typewriters