The latest typewriter safari

by | Dec 5, 2013 | safari | 19 comments

Time for another safari this morning at the Ohio Valley Antique Mall
’50s Smith-Corona Sterling with a broken pull cord, $40:

 Oliver 5, with case but no base, frozen with rust, $45. 
There was a nice new leather handle on the case, though.
Cute little Sewhandy. Hi, Adwoa!

Royal Academy, $18:
 Smith-Corona Silent-Secretarial, $49:

Wide-carriage Royal KMM with replacement (?) green keys, $39 
(sorry about the blurriness of these photos):

Airline radio, $24. If only it didn’t have that big crack on top … and if only I had shelf space … 
in some parallel world I am a radio collector!

Olivetti-Underwood Studio 44, $35. The typebars on left and right are very sluggish and the ribbon cover doesn’t fit — it’s as if it came from a similar, but not identical Studio 44.

Smith-Corona Corsair, $59:

Tom Thumb, $30 (there were 3 similar ones):
The joys and sorrows of a ’50s marriage: 
Wide-carriage Olympia SG1, $49:

Olympia SG3, rusty, no price shown:

In the end, I didn’t buy any of these. Would you? 
(I see you, Ton, looking at that Studio 44. I would have bought it if that cover had fit!)


  1. Unknown

    I once had a second Studio 44 and I tried to interchange its ribbon cover with my other one (like I love doing with my Torpedoes and Olympia SM3s) and it strangely didn't work just like here. I wonder if it's due to lack of precision manufacturing over time, or if there were actually two slightly different designs.

  2. Ton S.

    I think I would pass, Richard. Much as I love Studio 44s, I hate potential headaches more. Something is misaligned somewhere and I am sure it is damage due to (mis)handling. I never have any problem switching parts between Studio 44's (and I've done that a few times), not even between Ivrea and Barcelona-made models.

    Now that 50s Schlitz ad, maybe. ( :

  3. Richard P

    Nick's experience suggests that there really were slight differences in design between earlier and later (?) Studio 44's. (Similarly, the Lexikon 80 and Graphika look like the same machine painted different colors, but in fact their ribbon covers are not interchangeable.)

    I just told my wife about that Schlitz ad and she was not amused!

  4. Phil

    I would have been tempted at that Royal Academy for only $18, but I would check it out first to make sure it worked. And, maybe, the L C Smith Super if it was in the $30 range.

  5. Ton S.

    I did a comparison (I think in 2011), there are differences in the length of the return lever design between my 1950s Ivrea and my 1965 Barcelona (and another 1950s Ivrea- Double Gothic). Other than that, I switch ribbon cover screws and typebar covers with ease.

    Remember this?

    "I just told my wife about that Schlitz ad and she was not amused!"- Uh-oh! I have one an IBM Selectric card with an even more irreverent message that involves women… maybe you'll get it for Christmas, but do not show! Haha

  6. L Casey

    Ah HA! I've heard you mention the Ohio Valley Antique Mall so many times, but have only now clicked the link to their website. This place was the BEST antique store that Leila and I visited on our honeymoon. They have such late hours and SO many typewriters! Of course, we were there until closing. I had finished checking out and the cashier started shutting the lights in the store out so Leila would FINALLY 'make her final purchases' and come to the register. Ah…good times, that.

    Any idea on the typefaces of the SG1 or 3?

  7. Richard P

    Sounds like you guys had a great time! Nope, I did not check the typefaces on the SG's.

  8. Unknown

    The only difference between the two I had was the branding. They both were from Barcelona, but one was Olivetti-Underwood (nr. 483193) and the other was Underwood-Olivetti (nr. 257653).

  9. Anonymous

    Asking prices seem to be rising as the word of the typewriter renaissance spreads. I checked my local thrift stores lately and it seemed everything was overpriced, even the non-working ones. My closest thrift store has a strict no-haggle price policy, so I just pass them by.

  10. Miguel Chávez

    I love the typewriters! … but something tells me I would have come out of that place with a certain vacuum-tube radio under my arm. The crack on the cabinet can be filled with resin and the whole thing refinished with old-fashioned Shellac; it would buff to a very nice shine. And once you fit a better Ferrite core antenna to the variable capacitor, clean and check the lamps, the old thing could provide a suitable background for the nightly typecasting on a 1940s – 1950s machine.

  11. Rob Bowker

    I think I'd have gone for the Secretarial. Great looks, great price. Even has a bust! Probably types great too – it looks bomb-proof. Fixing sluggish typebars at the extremities of the Studio 44's keyboard is straightforward. Could it just be a slipped spring that's causing the cover not to fit? It would seem unlikely that it isn't the original – the key tops show it as fairly late but it is a good price for a stonking machine! Thanks for the trip to the mall :-)

  12. Rob Bowker

    The keytops evolved I think, becoming a bit thicker, not black and possibly less circular. I bet the ribbon cover would fit with a little encouragement and that case looks very classy!

  13. Rob Bowker

    Having said that, switching round the Lexikon 80 and Graphika covers (as one does) did show slight mis-matching. Both Glasgow made but the casting may have been outsourced and supplied as matched pairs? Just a thought.

  14. Bill M

    Depends on how I could weasel a good price out of the place to sell the SG1 & SG3 together.

  15. Ted

    I busted out laughing at the Schlitz ad, but then my wife once managed to burn wine…

  16. shordzi

    What a cute Corsair portable. Thanks for reporting!

  17. TonysVision

    I'm thinking that Smith-Corona Silent-Secretarial could be a sweet typer, if my portable version is any indication of their quality and touch. But it is so big, and of a beauty that is difficult to discern, i.e., just plain ugly.

  18. Piotr Trumpiel

    If I only had a place to put it – Smith-Corona Silent-Secretarial. In my eyes it is such a beautifully ugly behemoth.

  19. Richard P

    Tony and ZetiX — yes, it's an interesting looking typewriter. They took the same old LC Smith and put a streamlined shell around it to try to make it fit the Deco age. Not very succesful, although it would look better with a good cleaning. It's a good typewriter.


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