Friday, July 11, 2014

The Search for Spock: Typewriter Antiquing

Spock was thought to be dead, much like our beloved typewriter. While his body seemed to perish, his mind was still alive within Bones McCoy, once again much like our typewriter. Risking everything, the Enterprise crew adventure out to give peace to Spock and through a series of improbable events, actually end up resurrecting him, saving his life.

This past week I sought typewriters in the wild and saw a lot of them, although there is still a long way to go.

I want to experience finding a special typer out there in the Undiscovered Country, in the Final Frontier. What I saw included the special, the strange, the standard, and the shameful:

I pass by this antique mall everyday for the last 2 years and always wondered what was inside. I finally made a stop in. I saw this Underwood Portable with Cyrillic keys. Decent shape and it typed but...

i probably would never use it but at least the price wasn't offensive
Next I saw this beast. For some reason, the LC Smith standards just don't do it for me. Royals, Remingtons, Underwoods... those just look better.

Good luck selling this for $175. It typed but quite common.
Very common Smith Corona super 5

shit price. I bought one of these for $25 over 2 years ago. crazy percentage increase.

"Your"... and how the hell am i supposed to decide to buy without testing it? I didnt type on it because signs like these irritate me.
That was all that was in that antique shop. I drove 10min to find another shop that had these 2 electric machines:

The next day i ventured farther away to Ontario, CA.
Despite it's seemingly humble and small size on the outside, it was pretty massive inside and had a really expansive outdoor area 

no price and frozen to death


Then de ja vu. I couldnt believe my eyes:
A few weeks ago, Greg Fudacz in the Antique Typewriter Collectors group on Facebook shared a Boston Craigslist ad for a Smith Premier Typewriter that was spray painted red. Looks like it hasnt sold yet:

Smith Premier No. 1 Typewriter, 1888 - $100 (Abington)

At least this is a more garden variety machine

crap spray paint job too. I hope this isnt becoming a trend.

Then i saw the coolest typewriter of the day:
What is it? I thought. Is it a Smith Premier? 

Apparently it's a Burroughs of some sort. I've never seen one of these like this. It has a light attached to it on the right on the machine. It has that giant scroll of paper, Kerouac would have liked that feature im sure.
And what of that light? Was that an after-market modification?
and strange that the space bar is located within the keys. 

$150 but thing was most giant typewriter i'd ever seen. It was a sight to behold. Probably weighed a good 50 lbs.
That was it for Ontario. Best typewriter prices I have yet to see. Next I drove to Pomona which is famous and good for only one thing, at least in my eyes:
But Pomona is also know for it's Antique Row: instead of a bar crawl, you do an antique shop crawl. There are shops that specialize in toys, military, chinese, fishing, etc, but i opted to go to the antique malls there.
Here are the typers, among other things, i saw:

Not used to looking up to find typers 

how annoying. but typers do catch your interest.

And there you have it. Nothing that really tempted me. I decided to go to antique shops/malls now because there is a serious drought on craigslist in my area. There is a scarcity of good typers. An absolute dearth of value. But even antique shops arent immune to the anti-abundance. I called every one in orange county and no one has typers. I even tried calling about 10 pawn shops. The general message: "I havent seen one in 10 years." Someone even said that even if they were approached to have it pawned, he'd pass on it. That's sad news. But that's part of the fun: the hunt.
Hopefully next week sometime, i'll go to check out some more antique shops.


  1. That was a pretty impressive set of sightings! Thanks for the tour.

    The big guy is a Burroughs Moon-Hopkins. Good condition and a good price ... if you want a monster.

    1. very cool. I googled it. A combo typewriter/adding machine.
      The ones I did find on the net don't feature that attached lamp like the one i saw. Leads me to believe it was a modification.
      Thanks for the ID.

  2. A lot of sightings there. But that pink monstrosity is ugh!

    1. Ton - a travesty really. no one will ever buy it. It certain to be junked one of these days.

  3. This post had everything, just like a good episode of Star Trek. I think I even spotted a few aliens too! Nice work. :)