The workings of Destiny

by | Dec 14, 2012 | Uncategorized | 14 comments

Just one manual typewriter at St. Vincent De Paul’s in the last 5 or 6 months … what a drought! There was nothing there now but some inanimate wedges, some ca. 1980 monsters, and a baby blue Smith-Corona electric portable — good typewriter, but what would I do with it?

Then I got an e-mail yesterday from a reader of this blog:

Two Christmases ago you were so kind to recommend a typewriter for my 8 year old daughter. She has loved her Royal Heritage portable. Now I am looking to get one for my 6 year old daughter. She has loved watching her sister type but gets easily frustrated because she doesn’t have the strength to push the keys consistently. I was thinking of maybe getting her an electric like I had when I was a kid because it would likely be easier for her to use. Do you have any recommendations?

Well yes, I did! I knew where to get a fine Smith-Corona electric and could send it to her.

So this morning, I swung by St. Vinnie’s — and the machine was gone. Snapped up by some mystery typist!

I reported back sadly. But this afternoon, one of my colleagues came by with a typewriter that needed a home:

Destiny, wouldn’t you say?

Now this Coronet will be on its way to a six-year-old girl in Cokeville, Wyoming. What a place to settle down with a typewriter for the winter and write your heart away:

These Smith-Corona electrics have a special place in my heart. My father used one when I was growing up, and to me it was a magical thing. I enjoyed putting this one through its paces. They’re very fast, smooth, powerful typewriters. Ultimately I prefer the self-sufficiency of a manual, but if I wanted to put typewritten text onto paper quickly and easily, one of these (or a Selectric) would be my choice.

It’s fun to serve as a matchmaking and adoption service for typewriters … guided by Destiny!

PS: Here is the Royal Heritage from Christmas 2010 getting some good use.


  1. Ted

    Indeed. I invariably pass these up just because I don't know how I'd unload them once I got past the Gee Whiz honeymoon stage of a new typewriter acquisition. Someday I'll probably own one, they seem common enough in thrifts, but for now I stick to the 5TE electric for when I want the hum and chug of electrically assisted typewriting. (:

  2. Ryan Adney

    Richard, you are the typewriter Yente! Great match and the green is quite nice. I had one of these in blue way back in high school. It was a fine typer.

  3. Jason

    I got (for cheap) one of these in a nice 70s brown. I was surprised at how nice it is to use. It really is a nice typewriter. Downside is that the thing will fly across the table when you press the return key! You could use it as some sort of launcher for weaponry!

    I guess Selectrics wouldn't have that problem but I wouldn't know, I still need to get mine fixed… bleh…

  4. shordzi

    What goes around, comes around. Pre-christmas bliss.

  5. Bradley Denton Reese Jr.

    The Smith-Corona electric was the first typewriter I got, at a local second-hand store, thing is loud and powerful, I still enjoy the hum of it. And Jason is correct about the return key, I have one of those cheap desks from IKEA and it shakes something fierce every time I type on her. Also is that a copy of Intro to Metaphysics, didn't you and Gregory Fried translate that? He has an old essay in Heidegger and the Greeks where he gives a reading of Heidegger's "Plato's Doctrine of Truth" that I really enjoyed, especially the bit about a more zetetic understanding of Strauss. Anyways glad for your fortuitous electric boon.

  6. Rob Bowker

    What a place to settle down with a typewriter. I mean, what a place to settle down with anything. What a place!

  7. Sue

    Rob, it's as good as it looks! Winter lasts 6 months and we have mosquitoes in the summer, so there are downsides, I suppose that's why only 500 people live here!

    Richard, you are a Christmas angel!

  8. Richard P

    Yes, that's IM — sitting on a printout of the second, revised edition, which we sent to Yale yesterday.

  9. Bill M

    Great work Richard.

    Cokeville looks like a wonderful place & a perfect place for inspiration for typing( in one of 2 of my favorite states, Montana & Wyoming).

  10. Miguel Chávez

    Fantastic place! And fantastic job as always, Richard! I agree, those machines are fantastic to work with; my own Coronet has the best of two worlds: it still has a manual carriage return but the electric motor makes typing fast and consistently very easy. The only weak point I've found in them is the rubber belts that connect the motor with the main shaft. As long as those don't snap, the machine should be good to work for years.

  11. Ping A

    I like a story with a happy ending.
    There's been a thrift store drought in our area too. We speculate that typers are no longer slipping through the clutches of estate sale buyers. Sigh… It was fun while it lasted.

  12. Martin A. Rice, Jr.

    From that picture of Cokeville, I hope you sent along a generator to go with the typer!

  13. Ted

    …and of course, just 4 days after this post, I hit the thrifts and pick up a Coronet Automatic in pristine shape for $5. Like free candy, really… :D

  14. Tom

    Moved out to Wyoming a year and a half ago with my Smith Corona Galaxie II, since supplemented with a few others found at local auctions. One of the best places in the country for a writer to settle down in.


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