Friday, March 29, 2013

20's Week Part III: Typewriters!

The 1920s and 30s are my favorite decades for typewriters, aesthetically speaking. I love the candy colors of the 20s, and the lines of the 30s. This was also a great time for portable typewriters, as they became more solid and reliable. 1924 even saw the introduction of the first electric typewriter (okay it was the second, but the first was something of a flop), which eventually became the IBM Selectric.

I love portable typewriters, even though my track record with them hasn't been the best. Here are my top 5 from the 1920s. Since there's nothing I can really tell you about the history that isn't already available on the typosphere, I've just linked to various pages with more details, mostly Machines of Loving Grace:

Image borrowed from the internet. All of my pic of Remy
are still in computer limbo.
1. Corona folding 
Who doesn't love a machine that folds up to be travel size? 

2. Remington #3 (left)
I didn't have much luck with my #3, but I'd love to get my hands on one that works, since they seem like the perfect portable machine.

3. Royal Portable
You know I love my Royals!

4. Underwood #5
 For me, this is the iconic typewriter. I guess I'm not the only one who feels this way! I remember seeing pictures of them as a kid, and they are what initially sparked my interest in antique typewriters.

5. Underwood portable (4 bank)
I love the different variations over in the Machines of Loving Grace gallery.


  1. Some very solid choices there. I'm a huge fan of the coloured Royals, as they managed a whopping 550 colour variations on them! As were the coloured Remingtons.

    That said: I got to have a look at Steve Snow's Corona 4 recently, and I have to say... That was an amazingly beautiful machine in person.

  2. I have very similar likes in the 20s and 30s typewriters. Many you mention are on my wish list. When I started this hobby it was not long until an Underwood no. 5 was (and still is) at the top of the list. I'd have one if it were not for lack of space. My Underwood 4B would be my favorite if it had a recovered platen and pressure roller so paper fed straight. It would be nice to have the money to buy, and the space to store or display, one of each of the variants of the Underwood 4 bank.

  3. Portables of the '30s were my first typewriter love and continue to be a main interest.

  4. For some strange reason (could be they type better, could be they are just less worn-out) I have more recently been tracking down European machines from the 50s and 60s. But yes, the 'core' to which any of these relate would still be 1920s Coronas, Underwoods (especially the 3 bank) and Royals and Remingtons. These are giant's upon whose shoulders more modern machines stand.