Meet Frank and Larry

by | Mar 21, 2013 | Smith-Corona, Spitzfaden's | 22 comments

For appropriate musical accompaniment to this post, play this video while reading.


  1. notagain

    I love the pic at the end. I well remember those "fashions" at the time.

  2. Ton S.

    Nice, I used to own the brown variant. Are these eventually for WordPlay or have you diversified to electric?

  3. Richard P

    I don't want to keep my '70s friends forever (sorry, guys). A similar typewriter is popular with the kids at WordPlay. They probably don't need another electric, but they may be able to sell one in their store. (I think Larry's chances are good.) Once the store gets going and we make some typewriter sales, I'll decide.

  4. Richard P

    Monkey Wards sold these leisure suits for $27.88 apiece in 1975!

  5. Adwoa

    Aha! Another mention of Monkey Ward! At least now I know what it is…

  6. schrijfmachine

    Haha, very funny post and nice machines + pictures. You don't see these machines too much in Europe; I like them – nice design.

    I wouldn't be able to type on n.o.s. one-time ribbons; it feels like everything you type has to be extremely important, because the used piece of the ribbon will be gone forever.

  7. Adwoa

    What a fun post! Thanks for introducing us to Frank and Larry, and for revealing their sharply-dressed human alter egos. They look positively groovy! (Can't believe I typed that, lol.) I don't have an electric and have never wished for one, but these Coronets type beautifully and that blue film ribbon is fantastic.

  8. Miguel Chávez

    Groovy, man! Back to the '70s! They are very nice machines indeed; my only concern would be to get as many replacement ribbons as possible, or taking one of the old ones apart and see if it could be remanufactured with the film ribbon of a, say, IBM Selectric or a Wheelwriter (those use thinner ribbons).

    One word of caution regarding most Smith-Corona electrics: mind the rubber bands connecting the motor to the rotating shaft. In my machines, they are not of the reinforced type (with textile reinforcements embedded in the rubber), and the moment one of them snaps, the machine becomes a groovy paperweight. I've tried to locate a spare, but so far, no luck.

  9. Richard P

    Good point about the ribbons. As of this writing, the "guns" are still manufactured, and are available both with film ribbon and with reusable cloth ribbon. I haven't tried taking one of these cartridges apart.

    Thanks for the warning about the bands. Frank's bands look a bit shabby and I was concerned about this very issue.

  10. shordzi

    Thank you for the music & good read.

  11. Ted

    See? Spring Typewriter Hunting Season is in full swing! I'm happy to pick up Coronamatics with normal ribbons, but have eschewed the gun-ribbons ones even though I know Bill keeps those ribbons in stock (but not *colored* ones!). Maybe that ought to change?

    I do know that Bill hasn't been able to get the peculiar v-socket replacement belts for 5TE's and Coronamatics for almost a decade. I asked and he's so out of them it's painful. I am in support of a worldwide search for suitable replacement belts, possibly some kind of tape recorder, sewing machine or vacuum cleaner belts that might happen to be the same size and V-shape, so if the Typosphere happens to happen upon a supply that works, I would very much like to know about it. I have 2 machines that presently function on their original belts, but I don't know for how much longer.

  12. Cameron

    Very GROOVY, indeed!

    I've seen several of this model "in the field" in the past few months, but shied away from them because of their specialized ribbon. It's good to know that the ribbons are still being made — amazing!

    There was an extremely beaten-up example of this model at the ReStore where I later found the Remington Standard and Adler J4, but they wanted FAR more money for it than the other typers, strangely enough. $25 was too much for a typewriter in poor condition.

    Will you be keeping these or donating them to WordPlay?

  13. Vikram

    Nice pic at the end. I've seen more of these around than manual typewriters, but for me, the charm of a typewriter comes from the fact that I am independent of the grid. That blue ribbon sure is cool, though…

  14. markhinton@montanawriter.com

    The ribbon cartridge brings back fond memories. My college roommate had one. He could always finish his papers much faster than me… and with the correct ribbon, they always looks better than mine as well.

  15. notagain

    I have the same problem with fancy notebooks

  16. Bill M

    Nice looking typewriters. I do not recall seeing any ribbon cartridges like that. I really like the blue one.

    @Ted (Richard I hope you don't mind) I used to get all kinds of small parts like belts and pulleys and such from Stock Drive Components (now Precision Mechanical Components http://www.sdp-si.com/ and W.M. Berg http://www.wmberg.com/ when I built high speed precision machinery. They have tons of things McMaster-Carr does not. I do not know about prices and ordering though since I have not purchased from them for quite a while.

  17. Duffy Moon

    I like my Selectra, which I got as an afterthought at goodwill when I was picking up a Webster machine. Takes the regular ribbons, and is so much like the Galaxie machines.

  18. Scott K

    Hilarious take on the look… But you are dead right though. Blue ribbon! You lucky chap.

  19. Rob Bowker

    So glad the 70s are gone. Next door, as I write, the Young Master is funking away with and almost complete lack of irony some 70's disco riffs and beats on his new synthesiser. Gone but not forgotten :-) Blue ribbon is pretty amazing. Use sparingly – I doubt they still make them.

  20. TonysVision

    A wonderful post – glad you linked back to it from Robert's post today. I have a couple of these Corona electrics as well, which I hadn't yet been able to find a way to love – thanks for showing me this wonderful 70's connection. I am glad to say I never acquired a leisure suit, but there are some photos with the long hair, bell bottoms, and the wide-collared shirts that make me shudder.


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