Craigslist strikes again

by | Oct 5, 2014 | craigslist, electric, Underwood, Underwood Electric | 16 comments

What could it be?
An Underwood Electric from Craigslist!
The price was right—$25.00—and I couldn’t resist.
The seller used it for years at a furniture store, starting in the ’70s (when it was already 20 years old).

Too bad it smells like a catbox …

… and types about as well as one, too.
This thing is staying in the garage until I can get it to stop reeking.
A first step is Scrubbing Bubbles.
Aha, it’s not brown but gray.
Now it’s looking a bit more presentable. But this creature is going to need some serious work. And there’s a good chance I’ll strip the paint right off. 
Should I give it the H. R. Giger treatment?
To be continued …


  1. Bill M

    It's a brute! and the fresh aroma of cat too.

    I just returned from a Craigslist trip myself.

  2. Miguel Chávez

    Wow, now that's one hefty looking machine! I'm amazed by the change of color, wouldn't be surprised if that yellowish tan was composed of (un)healthy doses of nicotine…

    If I were to put that monster to work, the first thing in my to-do list would be to replace that broken and badly mended power cable. Safety first.

  3. Ted

    Ha! I was already thinking you should Geiger it halfway through reading the post :D

  4. teeritz

    You know, I keep thinking Silver Surfer with this one. Would give it a real dieselpunk vibe. Either way, looks like it's gonna need some work, RP. Should be pretty shweet by the time you're done with it.

  5. Richard P

    Mad Max's writing machine … I like it.

  6. Ton S.

    Very cool machine. The only one I've seen was on a fridge magnet on ebay! I'd go for a high gloss black.

  7. Richard P

    Yes, I keep seeing that magnet too! And this is my first in-person encounter with an Underwood Electric as well.

    Glossy black is definitely a possibility.

  8. teeritz

    And only half the work!

  9. Anonymous

    Perhaps reinstate the brown/taupe that the original layer of filth suggested? An interesting exhibition piece.

  10. Scott K

    I love the look of these machines. The art deco inspired desgin gets me every time. I have wanted one for a while, but never been really given a chance to get my hands on it yet.

    That said…. paint! PAINT LIKE THE WIND!

    Well, maybe not the wind. A machine like this would look magnificent given the right colour to flatter its design features. Go as far away from drab as possible. Art deco was about excess…. so if there was every a machine deserved to be painted in pearlescent – it is this machine.

  11. Don Lampert

    I too love the Streamlined design of these, but have never seen the real thing. They just never seem to show up. This one may need to go in for a real typewriter repair session at the "Spa". I agree, something brighter and in the Deco vein would be cool. Possibly a medium dark green, with deep blue trim, and some gold metallic accents – although there is the key color to contend with!
    By the way, I got my Army Teletype Model 15 – am researching how to hook them up through the phone lines, and the internet. These days, the internet seems to be the best way, but I'd need to build an electronic interface box, so that they were speaking the same "language". Do you know any good electronic geeks who understand this stuff? The language these teletypes speak is Baudot 5. Good luck with the Underwood!

  12. Anonymous

    What is it about cats and typewriters? I've disassembled two typewriters twice to remove cat hairs and the second still reeks.

    So the cats just get jealous of their humans petting the keyboards instead of them?

  13. Phil

    Minor point: I suspect the gear box between the motor and the belt actually slows down the r.p.m., not increases it.

  14. Richard P

    Thanks. You're right, I got that backwards.


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