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29-11-2017 00:14:18  #1

Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

Hi!  I am so very happy to have found this forum while researching a typewriter for my daughter.  She has asked Santa for one, after falling in love with her teacher's Smith Corona Classic 12.  My daughter loves to write, and begs to use the typewriter in the classroom whenever possible.

Would the Smith Corona 12 be a suitable typewriter for a 10 year old?  Is there another brand I should consider?  I did find a Smith Corona 12 that has some keys that are sticking, the owner told me that one is slightly bent and one is missing a "tiny screw or bolt".  Is this a repair I can attempt myself?  

Thank you for any help to guide my research, this newbie greatly appreciates it!  


29-11-2017 00:50:10  #2

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child


​A typewriter for a 10 year old girl, how sweet is that? The first machine that comes to mind is an Olivetti Lettera 32, as this is the machine I gave my friend's 10 year old daughter for Christmas the year before last. You should have heard the shrieks of excitement when she realized what she was opening. Her parents say her spelling, vocabulary and grammar all improved dramatically within just a few months of receiving her typewriter.

​I realize that the Lettera 32's are starting to get a little more scarce these days, so something like an Olivetti 31 or Underwood 315. My only reservation about a Smith-Corona 12, be that a Galaxie or a Classic is the size and portability for young arms to carry around. You're going to get quite a few responses to this question from many members. We all have our own favorites and reasons for them. Read all the answers including mine with an open mind, and you should be able to start to form your own opinion as to which typewriter would be better than another and why. Best of luck with your search and stay in touch with this forum, I'm sure we'll be able to help you out on this one. All the very best,



29-11-2017 03:14:44  #3

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

I'd suggest something from the Olympia SM (medium size) range (maybe a 3, 4 or 9) or a smaller Olympia such as the SF, but whatever you choose, I would recommend that you get a machine in absolutely full working condition.  If she is to have one, it should work perfectly as it was intended to do.  This way she can just fly with it straight away.  Good luck.


29-11-2017 07:23:32  #4

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

I think one of those Smith Coronas would be a great choice -- there are plenty of them around for not much money, and they are good machines. (I'm assuming you are in the U.S.) Maybe a little heavy to tote, but manageable. If she likes the one her teacher has, then look no further.



29-11-2017 10:20:56  #5

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

Of course, likewise assuming you are in the USA, you have the Smith Corona Silent Supers - considered a very good machine.  Though I have still not found one here in Australia, they should be 'a dime a dozen' over there.  Something such as this (or the Olympia SMs I mentioned earlier) could easily last her a lifetime.


29-11-2017 12:03:07  #6

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

The Olivetti Lettera 32 is a great choice. Affordable, light, sturdy and overall great quality. I´d go for that one
I was given a Nakajima 8000 when I was 10 or 11, and it´s still there, but I wouldn´t reccomend it. As for truly tested typewriters, I´d go for the Olivetti Studio 44. My grandpa had one, and my dad and his 4 little brothers used and abused it for years. Now I have that typewriter, and it´s alive and kicking! The bad part is the size, weight and availability.


(Olivetti Linea 98)

29-11-2017 13:57:06  #7

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

Location, location, location. It's all fine and good to recommend various makes and models, but in reality the OP's location will dictate (limit) the choices - unless of course there's a willingness to have one shipped, which I wouldn't recommend in this situation. My advice to the OP would be to start off with finding out which makes/models are actually available in his/her immediate area at the moment and then asking for feedback on those typewriters from the forum.

"To save time is to lengthen life."

29-11-2017 13:57:22  #8

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

One complication with the Olivettis is the requirement of special ribbon spools (and the locknuts to hold the spools in place). Better to go with a typewriter that takes the universal spools, in my opinion.

I would recommend to the original poster to also look for a Royal Quiet De Luxe. A lot of them were made, and they have a big following. The ones from the later 1950s had the extra attraction of being available in bright colors, though of course those are particularly sought after, and thus pricier.

One additional thought about the Smith Coronas, and here I am thinking of the ones from the '60s like the Classic 12 and Galaxie, is that they came with a 1 and ! key, which a lot of machines, earlier ones especially, did not.


30-11-2017 18:26:06  #9

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

Thank you everyone who has replied!  I appreciate it!  There are so many things to consider, and I had no idea that there were so many options.  I am fortunately in a decent sized city with a thriving Craigslist, and I will be spending some time checking ads for the machines that were shared below.  I will be sure to follow up with what I decide!  

Your opinions and knowledge is greatly appreciated!

     Thread Starter

30-11-2017 19:21:08  #10

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

Let us know if you are trying to decide among machines -- we can offer some thoughts if you would like!


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