Tag Archives: underwood universal

A Cryptic Message

I am now in the black with my typewriter collection, after many years. Last week I sold two virtually identical late 50’s Underwoods within an hour. Oddly, both were bought as gifts. One went to a young English major, no, not in the army – at university. He tired of the usual digital overload and professed a desire to his girlfriend for a typewriter. The other went to a lady of 71, courtesy of an old friend. She likes writing poetry. I just love selling these machines to writers! Like many of us, I feel good about returning a typewriter to circulation, especially if it needed my attention to get it back on the road, so to speak. Many typewriters that I have bought have needed a fair bit of fiddling, cleaning and adjusting to work well, a job I really enjoy. So, of course I just picked up 2 more yesterday, both which needed some work. The work is minor, but necessary, and there aren’t any repairmen left here.

hello english major

hello poet

Meanwhile, in my haunts I sometimes come across old postcards, and here are a pair that tell a tale. The message on the Canadian one is courtesy of my imagination, and typeface thanks to RP! The other has notes that I can’t read. Hard to imagine what you could say on that one.

Banff, c 1950’s

 

And then there was this:

Alexanderplatz, Berlin

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50% Off Day

1939 Underwood Universal

1939 Underwood Universal

I have too many typewriters, but I still enjoy hunting for good ones in thrift shops. Last week I dropped into the local SA where they have been putting every interesting donation up for auction for the past several years. This has aroused my ire and whenever I return there I’m usually in a sour mood just from the mere thought of this outrageous money grab. After all, I always thought thrift shops were originally conceived as places for folks of limited budgets to acquire goods they need at less than retail prices. Am I wrong? However, on this occasion they have made me glad because they not only didn’t put this lovely machine up for auction, but it and all else in the store, was half price on that day. I grabbed it in glee, and while there picked up several other goodies at half price. I should say that the prices today are twice or more what they once were, so this merely made my purchases seem like the old prices, but still I was very pleased.

side view - Underwood Universal 1939

side view – Underwood Universal 1939

When I got it home and out on the table I tried it out and it worked fine. It has elite type, which is OK, but I suppose it would be too much to hope for something rare? Anyways, after the test I discovered that the rubber feet were falling apart and the table had been scratched by one of the rear feet. I fixed the table with a little more spray varnish, but how to fix the feet?

old rotted rubber feet and new raw material

old rotted rubber feet and new raw material

While browsing the dollar store I saw a package of 3 large size white rubber erasers – bingo! One dollar and a half poorer I arrive home with the goods, which were put aside until today. The basic repair is this: you carve, drill, cut the white rubber to match the shape of the rotten old piece, if you have that. Attach, adjust, etc. Type away. By the way, I discovered that you can super glue this white rubber to itself. Imagine the endless possibilities of white rubber eraser constructions!

Three new feet

Three new feet

One of the 4 old feet was in perfect shape, oddly enough, as if it was new old stock. The other three looked like they’d been barbecued.

close up of new foot

close up of new foot

The keys on this one are interesting, they look like they are glass covered but are in fact plastic engraved inserts within the old style metal rings.

lovely keys these are

lovely keys these are

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