Typewriter Talk

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05-12-2017 23:31:14  #11

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

I came across a guy in my city who refurbishes typewriters, and he has a Royal 990 for $55.   He also has a Royal Custom II, but it is badged as a Sears machine.  It would be $50, and he is still in the process of cleaning it, so it is dirty in the picture. Should I pursue either of these?



06-12-2017 07:15:56  #12

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

Either would be a great choice, if working properly. I'd pay the extra $5 for the Royal -- note that it has a key for the 1/!. Not critical, but a nice convenience.


11-12-2017 19:32:47  #13

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child


​Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, been kind of busy around here. Anyhow, let's look at those typewriters. While not as big as a Smith-Corona Galaxie class (Classic 12) or as solid as the Olivetti Lettera 32, the Royal units you have pictured were a moderate typewriter for a modest price in their day. I would tend to agree with Fleetwing with regards to the 990 because of the extra key.

The rebranded Sears does not have a figure 1 key, so you would use a lower case L for a 1. In the days before computers, a lower case L in a string of numbers was evidently a figure and when in a string of letters in a word, it was evidently a letter. With a designated figure 1 key, there is no mistaking or mixing up for a child. There is also the added convenience of the exclamation point ! On typewriters without the exclamation point, you had to build  by typing an apostrophe (shift + 8) then backspace and type a period underneath.

​If you're willing to share, please let us know your daughter's reaction when she opens the typewriter. Take care and a merry Christmas to you and your daughter from us on the forum. All the best,



02-1-2018 08:59:32  #14

Re: Help Selecting a First Typewriter for a Child

I must throw in the Smith Corona Silent series, maybe specifically the Silent 5.  It’s a very well made machine, very sturdy and easy to type on.  The action is feather light and very smooth, and the sound is rather quiet.  Many typewriters can be very loud and disruptive to others trying to work.  From my experience, this machine isn’t an issue.
Did I mention durability?  I worked with one that was found on the side of the road, literally thrown out of a moving car judging by the bent body panels...but it worked almost perfectly.  I had to repair some linkages, adjust the spacing, and a few other minor things, but these machines are very reliable and easy to use.  The machine also features some other nice things that would be good for a first typewriter, like Paper Fingers and a two position Paper Bail for easy loading, though it doesn’t take the universal spool sold at office supply stores.  It’s very easy to wind new ribbon onto the old spools though!

Typewriter collector and repair geek

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