The latest typewriter safari

by | May 13, 2016 | safari | 24 comments

My latest trip to the big antique mall yielded lots of photographic trophies and one metal-and-rubber one. Let’s take a look, shall we?

This Remington “need work on Advanced Lever.” The carriage return lever seems to be missing a spring. $130? I don’t think so.

Another Remington portable is much cheaper at $38, but it’s been used within an inch of its life:

This is much more attractive: a clean Smith-Corona Sterling for $42.

Some other machines for sale in the $40-$50 range were not nearly as clean as that Sterling. This Royal KMM is filthy.

There was lots of rust on this KMG:

This Underwood is pricey at $189 …

… but it comes with some interesting literature:

Here’s a wonderful wartime pamphlet on caring for your Underwood standard, which “helps speed the nation’s victory” (remember that typewriter production was severely curtailed during World War II, and civilians couldn’t buy new machines). Click to enlarge.

An Underwood Universal at $89.95 is in good shape:

… as is this cute Tower (Smith-Corona Skyriter). I think it was $85 or so.

There were two very-wide-carriage typewriters. The L.C. Smith is $59.99:

And the Woodstock is $175. The shift on this machine was pretty easy despite the size of the carriage; it must have some very beefy assisting springs.

And finally, here’s the typewriter that was such a good combination of condition and price that it necessarily ended up in my trunk.

A perfectly functional Royal FP for $22? Yes, please!


  1. Anonymous

    I always enjoy your safaris and seeing what is out there in other parts of the world. Coincidentally, I am working on 1959 Royal FP that has skipping and magic margin issues. I think it's just dirty and is already responding to cleaning. What a fantastic typewriter. It makes me re-think my firm catch-and-release policy.

  2. Ted

    Nice catch! Love the look of those little Tower skyriters, but I only paid 99 cents for mine :D

  3. Words are Winged

    Safari's are always fun. It's great to see the wide diversity of machines, and their outrageous prices.

  4. Joe V

    I should do a safari blog post one of these days, plenty of overpriced or junker typewriters out there.

  5. Mark

    Looks like you made a good choice given the lot! I'd have been tempted by that trashy looking "last inch of it's life" Remington… there is something about a severely beat up typewriter that still works which appeals to me. I'd have to have seen it in person to decide and at that price I'd be on the fence even so in that shape. Great photo of it though! And way to score a cheap FP!

  6. Anonymous

    I would do a safari blog post, but no where in my neck of the woods can you see that many machines.

  7. Anonymous

    Interesting selection, but it's the Underwood Universal for me. ;)

  8. Margie_M

    Wonderful machinery – but where do you put it all? In a more modern style, my 70-year-old sister has a Brother AX-24 electronic typewriter with Word Spell!!! Any suggestions as to what to do with it? Can't just throw it in the e-waste skip :)

  9. Richard P

    It's difficult to find a buyer for used electronic typewriters. You could try donating it to a charity shop, or advertising it on some local online classified ad site.

  10. shordzi

    How different a selection from those machines you find in Europe, also price-wise. These days typewriters pour in almost free of charge – only space is the limit.

  11. Phil

    Re that Remington with the black and white ribbon. What idiot would install that ribbon with the white edge on top?

  12. Unknown

    Hooray for you! It is raining FPs! Mine arrived in the trunk of a Prius. As one other commentor said, there isn't anywhere nearby I could go to see that many awesome typewriters. I would have gone for the Sterling, myself.

  13. Richard P

    Yes, the Sterling was pretty tempting.

  14. Mr.E

    That Underwood standard has something interesting.
    The piece that goes over the return lever is blackout chrome not nickel.

  15. Phil

    How about giving it to child? They seem to be fascinated by something that types, many don't even know what a typewriter is. I gave one to my gardener's daughter, and she loves it.

  16. Richard P

    That's a good idea too, Phil.

  17. Edwin Feliu

    Interesting: I recently bought a Royal Futura 800 in great shape for $30. It types in italics.


  18. Edwin Feliu

    And it came with a leather case, albeit without handle.

  19. Richard P

    Great. Italic typewriters are hard to find!

  20. AmsterdamAssassin

    Thursday I will pick up an FP with FPS 13-92-6326904, so I take it to be a 1957 with either mint green or blue cover. FPS would be 'special typeface' but I have no idea yet what typeface it would be. I think the 13-92 prefix could be some indication, if only I could find out what it means… According to the owner, only the ink-ribbon is broken, but the rest should be working. I've heard that before when I picked up a Remington Portable 3 from 1929, which had a broken drawstring on the carriage, so I'm not getting my hopes up too much.

  21. Richard P

    I hope it's an exotic typeface!

  22. AmsterdamAssassin

    I hope so too.
    So far I figured out through some people at Reddit/Typewriters that 13-92 has nothing to do with the typeface, but with the width of the carriage (13 inches) and the amount of printable type (the keyboard has 46 print keys, times two would be 92).
    The owner told me the ribbon was broken, so I didn't ask for an example of the typeface – I didn't want to alert someone that the FP might be worth more than they're asking. It's already an hour's drive from Amsterdam, so I'm investing time also and I have no idea if the FP is in working order.
    I also figure that, since the FP has not lock on the carriage, that it will be handy to take rubber bands to clamp down on the carriage release levers to unburden the escapement and to wrap the carriage so it won't go sliding about during transport.
    Would you like me to send you some pictures once I have her in my possession?

  23. AmsterdamAssassin

    I have the FPS and I took some pictures, with a picture of the typeface. I emailed the pictures to you.


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