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My typewriter collection and history page

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  • 10/25/13--09:05: 1967 Adler J-4
  • I bought this typeriter from the Red Grand Piano Antique Mall in Tacoma, Washington. (The Red Grand Piano Antique Mall is in the same space as Clinton's Music House)It was serviced recently by Johnny's Office Machines, which was located in the same building, three doors down from the antique mall.


     When I first saw this latch on the internet, I assumed that it was missing several pieces. It turns out that the latch is inside the case, and extended through the case by these tabs.
     I think that this is one of the most beautifully simple typewriter designs ever. I also think that these keys were molded in this color--Palmolive (my de-yellowing agent) did not remove the yellowing beyond this.



    This shop was located in the same building as Clinton's Music House/The Red Grand Piano Antique Mall.
    A very stylized version of their building. This business card looks like it was first printed in the mid-1050s, when their building was built. 


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  • 10/25/13--09:11: 1959 British Olivetti
  • I bought this typewriter in Snohomish, Washington. It was made in 1959 in Olivetti's Glasgow factory. It has a strange British keyboard, with French accents. I am still unsure of the market that it was designed for. If anyone knows, please post a comment. Its color was designed to not clash with any room. It came with its brushes and dust cover.




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    ...but I found something much better (and rarer):



    This typewriter is basically a rebadged Brother typewriter. According to the serial number (on the plate on the back of the machine), it was made in November, 1964. It had no case, because the original case was a cheap, zippered product. Other than that, it is perfect. (and "mauve-lous")  Unlike most typewriters, it has a push-button ribbon color selector! It has a light, snappy touch, similar to a better version of the Royal Safari, if it were crossed with an Olympia SM-9.
    What the case would have looked like. (Etsy image)
    Its original retail price was $89.50. This typewriter was sold alongside the Signature 513 (with a 13" wide carriage), and the compact Signature 100. 
    It should be noted that Sears was one of the catalysts for Olivetti entering the US market; this was also true with Ward's being one of the main reasons that Brother typewriters were first imported into the United States.



    I should point out that in natural light, this typewriter is pink!
    This typewriter is very similar to the Signature 510:
    This is one of Brother's rarer designs, not because of lack of quality, but because of its original price, which was the same as known brands of the time, such as Royal, Smith-Corona, and Remington. It should be noted that this is designed to look very similar to Akio Kondo's common compact Brother portable. Personally, I think that this typewriter is the best Brother portable ever made!

    It is a rebadged Brother Deluxe 900.
    A Brother Deluxe 900. (Image Courtesy of Bronx Typewriters)

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    This typewriter was made between 1967 and 1970. According to vintage Smith-Corona advertisements, the Galaxie Deluxe was introduced around 1967. In 1968 it was offered in gold, but was not available in gold in 1970. The Galaxie Deluxe continued until the 1970s. This is a rare variation of the Smith-Corona Galaxie Deluxe; it has a twelve-inch carriage. This typewriter predates the introduction of the Galaxie Twelve by three years. It is also my first Galaxie-based Smith-Corona to have Elite type, and my first Smith-Corona that was already as clean as when it was made. Here is a 1969 ad for the Smith-Corona Galaxie 12, from The Oregonian:


    1968 Smith-Corona Catalog Page
    My Galaxie Deluxe was sold by Blackburn Office Equipment, located at 1223 Commercial Street, in Bellingham, Washington. They are still around: http://www.blkbrn.com/blackburn/Blackburn_Office_Equipment.html
    From their website:
    "n 1945, Chet and Hubert Blackburn began a small family-owned office machine dealership.  Founded on the principal that “We service what we sell.”  Today, Blackburn Office Equipment has become a premier supplier of office product solutions in Northwest Washington.

    In 1962 Marvin Grunhurd purchased Blackburn Office Equipment and ran the business until 1992.  It was then bought by James Olson and Randy Grunhurd and they ran the business together until Jim passed on in 2010. Today Blackburn Office Equipment it owned soley by Randy Grunhurd.

    Blackburn Office Equipment moved to its current location at 203 W Chestnut Street in 1977.  The red brick building that overlooks Bellingham Bay was formerly the Bellingham American Legion building."


    Blackburn Office Machines, late 1960s (Whatcom County Assessor photo)




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  • 10/31/13--07:34: Remington Travel-Riter, 1959
  •  This case is covered, inside and out, in vinyl. It is very easy to clean. The latches were made in England.
     This typewriter was designed by Carl Sundberg, and made in the Netherlands. It's boxier than it looks!
    Remington called this color scheme "Pearl and Charcoal." It was the only color scheme available on the Travel-Riter in 1959. Other names for this typewriter include "Tower Centurion,""Remington Monarch,""Torpedo 700,""Singer Graduate"
    Here are some advertisements for the Travel-Riter:
    Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 17, 1959

    Seattle Times, October 14, 1959


    The Seattle Times, September 13, 1960

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    Inside this freshly polished case...
     Is a freshly polished typewriter:
     I removed the plastic keytops (except for the "function keys"--Margin Release, Tab, Backspace, Shift and Lock keys.) and soaked them in a mix of Orange-scented Palmolive Antibacterial dish soap and water. Palmolive cuts through every yellowing agent, from nicotine stains, to general grease. I then took off the body panels, and soaked them in the same mixture. I dried them off, and glued felt inside them (while the top-of-the-line Smith-Coronas of the period had sound-dampening material, the top-of-the-line Sears portable, the Constellation, did not have any.
    Notice the yellow key on the far right of the keyboard. This is the "before" picture of all of the other keys.


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     Only the center panel and ribbon cover were repainted. It is very close to a perfect match!
     Look at how white the keys are! (and the knobs too). They were beige when I bought it.

     The original paint was very good, except for the ribbon cover and front panel. The rest of the typewriter was just cleaned and waxed.
    The carrying case that was supplied to me by Richard Polt. (Thanks!). The original case was wearing out, structurally.

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    The primary cleaner used to refresh the color of this typewriter was Crest toothpaste. I took the body panels off, and applied the toothpaste. I let it sit for a couple of minutes, and rinsed with cold water. It is now "minty fresh," in more ways than one.

    Before
    After.
    While the before and after pictures look very similar, the cleaning brought out the blue tones in the typewriter, as well as making it brighter. Also, the color is much more uniform now. I also cleaned the keys with Palmolive. (strangely, removing the keytops is as easy as putting them back on). 



    This typewriter is in Smith-Corona's Seafoam paint scheme.
    (1957)
    (1958)



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     Is it just me, or does this typewriter look like a smaller, more refined version of Christopher Latham Sholes' first typewriter?



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    When photographed in Sepia, this typewriter looks like it could have been made in 1879 instead of 1979. (Just imagine it with the strange stenciled flowers found on any 19th Century typewriter, The flowers were put on them to make them "less ugly," and to help them appeal to women.) 
    It even has the same edge treatment as many 19th Century typewriters. Also, notice the angle of the front of the machine; this is incredibly similar to that of Christopher Latham Sholes' typewriter of 1873. (The main differences in the styling are: the flatness of this machine, and the visibility of the printing, the lack of painted flowers, and the ease of operation--the first typewriters were very confusing.)

    Just to clarify, this typewriter was manufactured in 1979. However, I think it would look very natural in the Old West, or placed on a table in a ghost town (if the logos were changed). Here are some logo ideas:



    The original badges on the Traveller Deluxe are 1/4 inch tall. Just print the logos above onto plain paper, and attach them with a glue stick to the badges. (this makes them removable too).





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    This is the end result of waxing my Royal with Turtle Wax. The best wax to use is the liquid, as it is easier to apply and remove. Read the instructions on the bottle carefully, and buff in small, slow circles with a cloth. Also, if you photograph it, use a flash--it will appear dull without a flash, but will be bright in natural light, and with a flash.

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  • 11/14/13--07:42: July 1962 Royal Safari
  • The first national advertisement for the Royal Safari appeared in Life Magazine on August 24, 1962. Newspaper ads soon followed. However, this typewriter was made in July, 1962. I bought it last Sunday in Buckley, Washington for $15. When I bought it, it was missing large amounts of paint on the top of the machine. I then repainted it in a light blue that was as close to the original paint as possible. (Slightly later Royals used this shade of "Pottery Blue.") This typewriter has the distinction of being the best Royal Safari that I have ever used. (Generally, the touch is strangely heavy, yet light; this one works like a breeze!)
     Front view. Notice that the touch selector and ribbon color selectors are both stickers.
     The serial number. Jay Respler could not believe how early this typewriter was made.
     Front angles. This typewriter reminds me of the Jetsons.
    August 24, 1962 ad from Life Magazine (Courtesy of Darryl Bridson, Royal Consumer Information Products)

    Life Magazine, September 14, 1962 (Courtesy of Darryl Bridson, Royal Consumer Information Products)

    Life Magazine, May 10, 1963 (Courtesy of Darryl Bridson, Royal Consumer Information Products)

    Royal Portable Dealers in Seattle and Tacoma as of September 13, 1959
    SEATTLE
    • Ben Bridge Jewelers, 409 Pike Street
    • The Bon Marche, Third and Pine
    • Burien Office Machines, 203 SW 152nd
    • Frederick & Nelson, Fifth and Pine
    • University Bookstore, 4326 University Way NE
    • Weisfield's Jewelers, 420 Pine Street
    TACOMA
    • Allied Business Machines, 931 Commerce Street
    • People's Store, 1103 Pacific Avenue


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  • 11/17/13--14:47: 1962 Remington Fleetwing



  • This typewriter is much prettier in person.
    This typewriter was designed in 1961 by Carl Sundberg and Montgomery Ferar. The front page of the patent is below:
    Add caption

    Remember to keep the carriage-return lever upright during use--it locks the carriage when folded down. When I bought this typewriter, the carriage stuck in the middle occasionally, until I realized that the carriage was locking itself. 
    This ad appeared in The Seattle Times on May 20, 1963.


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     The true color of the Remington Fleetwing

    Here is a 1955 photo of Remington-Rand's Tacoma office at 412 St. Helens Avenue, from The Tacoma Public Library:


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    1950s Smith-Corona Silent Super (Author's Collection)
    This is a Moskva, a Soviet portable typewriter that appears to "borrow" heavily from the Smith-Corona Silent-Super. Image from http://phlsphthght.blogspot.com/2013/11/moskva-and-mignon-typewriters-in-tbilisi.html


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    The key to photographing a typewriter with as many white parts as the Tower Constellation is to use the "snow" mode  on a digital camera, if equipped with one. Also, photograph it on a dark background.
     The vinyl-covered metal carrying case. Notice the bright chrome trim. When I bought it, I thought that the trim was dull aluminum.



    Instructions for a similar model can be found here:
    http://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/SearsTowerPresident.pdf
     New Orleans Times-Picayune, February 12, 1962 (Image from America's Genealogy Bank) 
     New Orleans Times-Picayune, February 20, 1961  (Image from America's Genealogy Bank) 
    New Orleans Times-Picayune, November 1, 1962  (Image from America's Genealogy Bank) 

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    These excellent scans are from Robert Messenger's outstanding typewriter blog, oztypewriter.blogspot.com , which inspired me to research my typewriters, and to share my research. Thank you very much, Mr. Messenger!

    Front Cover (Image Courtesy of Robert Messenger, oztypewriter.blogspot.com)
    First Page  (Image Courtesy of Robert Messenger, oztypewriter.blogspot.com)

    Second Page  (Image Courtesy of Robert Messenger, oztypewriter.blogspot.com)

    Third Page  (Image Courtesy of Robert Messenger, oztypewriter.blogspot.com)

    Fourth Page  (Image Courtesy of Robert Messenger, oztypewriter.blogspot.com)


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    "Advertisement, Typewriter News at F&W...." Springfield Union [Springfield, MA] 19 May 1960, 5. Print.

    "Advertisement." Seattle Daily Times 06 Jun 1961, Pg. 9. Print.
    "Portables Available at Ewing." Dallas Morning News 11 Sept 1960, Sec. 4 Pg. 7. Print.

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