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25-3-2013 21:53:10  #11

Re: Recent Acquisitions Thread

Uwe wrote:

Today was a good day for buying a typewriter.

Nice find, Uwe. That one looks like it is fresh out of the box!

"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the typewriter."

26-3-2013 00:17:04  #12

Re: Recent Acquisitions Thread

Shangas wrote:

If it ain't glass (and I've known very few typewriters from this early stage which didn't use glass), then it's probably celluloid. That was the main plastic of the period. There was Bakelite as well, I believe. But Bakelite is notoriously brittle. One missed keystroke would probably snap the keytop right off.  

As a new collector last year I did some looking into the claims of many ebay sellers who claimed their typewriters had glass keys.  Some didn't look like GLASS to me however.  After receiving an old L.C. Smith & Bros. that had several keytops worn through (by long fingernails??) I knew that many keys that might look like glass are, in fact, not glass.

Here are some typewriters that do or do not have glass keys:
Underwood Nos. 3, 4, 5 all originally had glase keys but, after rebuilding, they might end up with some other keytop material.   Underwood Nos. 6 and later had plastic of some sort.

Remingtons from the No.2 to the first version of the Model 10 with rectangular tabulator keys have glass.  Subsequent models of the 10 and the 12, 16, 50, etc. have some other material, possibly celluloid.  Rem-Blick and portables 1, 2, 3 have celluloid but the Model 4 seems to have glass (I want one).

Royal used mostly glass keytops but, surprisingly, their first flatbed model had celluloid- then glass on the later Standards (No.1) and later and into the 1940s.  Way to go Royal giving us those nice glass keytops.

L.C. Smith & Bros.  All have celluloid that I have seen.

Woodstock:  celluloid.

Monarch Visible:  celluloid

Harris Visible:  celluloid

Corona 3:  celluloid

This is only a small fraction of old tyepwriters but ones frequently encountered with the metal rimmed keytops.  Many of the early machines have solid composition keytops such as the Smith Premiers, Olivers, New Century, Franklin, Jewett Nos. 4 and 10 and many more.  What material was used on these creamy white and black keytops?  Was it also celluloid?

A glass keytop will be perfectly flat with a reflection from the glass if clean.  A celluloid keytop that closely resembles a glass key will usually have a slightly convex keytop surface.  A surefire way to tell if glass or another material is to stick a shart pin (sewing needle) into the keytop at a slight angle.  Do this righ by the metal rim where any tiny impression will not be noticeable.  If glass the pin will slight off to the side but, if not glass it will dig in and not slide off.  You may be surprised at how many supposedly glass keytops are not actually glass.


26-3-2013 02:01:24  #13

Re: Recent Acquisitions Thread

Has anyone ever encountered typewriters with METAL keys? I was at a flea-market about a year ago, and I saw a very battered L.C. Smith typewriter. Almost identical to this:

Only, the keys were all made of one piece of metal. Not glass. And certainly not plastic. Has anyone ever noticed this before? I never did until then. 

"Not Yet Published" - My History Blog
"I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit" - Sir Pelham Grenville "P.G." Wodehouse
"The biggest obstacle to professional writing is the necessity for changing a typewriter ribbon" - Robert Benchley

26-3-2013 13:52:18  #14

Re: Recent Acquisitions Thread

@Steve and Shagas

Very intersting information on keys! However, you might want to consider creating a new thread in the future for such things as it's off-topic from the subject of this thread. I would hate that someone interested in the subject of key construction would miss your posts because they were buried in a thread discussing recent typewriter purchases.

     Thread Starter

26-3-2013 15:26:00  #15

Re: Recent Acquisitions Thread

Uwe wrote:

@Steve and Shagas

Very intersting information on keys! However, you might want to consider creating a new thread in the future for such things as it's off-topic from the subject of this thread.

Thanks Uwe for keeping me in order.   You will find my new "What are your typewriters' keys made of? post at-


28-3-2013 15:26:04  #16

Re: Recent Acquisitions Thread

Total cost for the group: $0.00

Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. This way if you're right you will have a headstart and they will be barefoot.

29-3-2013 10:55:02  #17

Re: Recent Acquisitions Thread

Picked-up another typer yesterday, but the circumstances surrounding the purchase were unusual to say the least.  ​

I normally buy a typewriter because it's a model that I've been looking for, or sometimes, it's just one that unexpectedly pops up but fits with my specific taste in machines. Not so with the one I bought yesterday.

I must have looked at the ad for this particular machine a dozen times over three days - and dismissed it every time. "That is one fugly typewriter," I said to my dogs. They don't much care about typewriters, but like to stick to my side in case some food happens to fall out of my pocket. However, like with a train wreck, I just couldn't stop myself from looking at the photo of that gray whale with the homely face. "What were they thinking of when they designed that one?" I asked.

Still, something about its odd appearance had put a hook in me. Not at all familiar with the model, I started digging into its history and reading through other collector's impressions of the big boxy typer. It was then when things got a little weird; the more I read about it, the more it grew on me, and suddenly I was overcome by an urge to contact the seller and buy it.

1958 Royal FP ($25 CAD from a local seller in Toronto, Canada)

Even before I had picked up the machine, a plan for its future had begun to formulate in my head. I have no idea which of the six colours that this model originally was available in is represented by the one I bought. It sort of looks blue, but not, maybe gray? Is gray considered to be a colour? Regardless, it is going to change because this particular FP stands for First Project of the year.

The machine mechanically is in overall good condition. A couple of small items required my attention: The shift mechanism didn't work because someone had jammed its lock down too hard and a few of the keys were binding at the gate. Easy fixes, and although I usually replace the ribbon out of habit, this one was still good enough for a few pages of test typing.

There's no getting around the size of this typewriter. I'm used to portables, not massive structures such as this Royal FP, which on a desk makes an imposing sight. Spin it around and you're faced with something that resembles the Hoover Dam: There's enough sheet metal on this typewriter to build a Smart Car, or a garden shed, but I have to admit that I love its sheer mass!

I was pleasantly surprised by the Royal FP's performance, but what I really found enamouring was the quality in its details. Some were quirky, some exotic, and even though this machine may on first impression suggest that it has the face of a pig, the more time you spend exploring its nuances, the more impressive it all seems.

Specifically, I'm smitten by the satin and chrome parts on the carriage, its interesting colour selector wheel, and the ultra-groovy ribbon cover release button. I had no idea how to open the ribbon cover and no matter what I tried, it wouldn't budge. Then I peered inside with a flashlight. "No way!" I exclaimed in amusement when I discovered that with a gentle push of the Royal logo on the front of the machine, the cover is released and swings up on its own accord.

One other neat feature that took me a while to figure out was the Magic Margin system. Since very few old typewriters come with their original manuals, I'm often left to figure out how something is supposed to work through trial and error. Usually that's not a problem, but the Magic Margin controls weren't intuitive to me and it took a good 15 minutes of fiddling with them before I understood how they worked. It's an interesting feature to be sure, but one that is really only of benefit to those who have to type on constantly changing sizes of paper.

I have to say that this typewriter was a fantastic buy, and now I'm really looking forward to having a lot of fun with it. First step will be a partial tear-down and a visit to the dunk tub. Then I'm going to change its colour. It's hard to believe that a typewriter I initially thought was too ugly to buy has got me this excited. 


     Thread Starter

31-3-2013 03:06:40  #18

Re: Recent Acquisitions Thread

I recently acquired a 1959 Princess 300 for about $94 (shipping included).
This is my second machine and I <3 it!
My first machine was a 1966 Olympia SM-9 DeLuxe.
I will post pics once I reach the required number of posts.   My blog:  
            Photo gallery:

31-3-2013 03:19:47  #19

Re: Recent Acquisitions Thread

I'm fairly sure you don't need a pre-determined post-count to put pictures up. I didn't. Or at least I don't think I I wrong? I dunno...I hope not. 

This is a rather glitzed up Princess 300:

It looks like quite a machine!

"Not Yet Published" - My History Blog
"I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit" - Sir Pelham Grenville "P.G." Wodehouse
"The biggest obstacle to professional writing is the necessity for changing a typewriter ribbon" - Robert Benchley

31-3-2013 03:26:31  #20

Re: Recent Acquisitions Thread

Wow at that Princess 300. Is that yours, Shangas?
And actually the minimum post requirement is 2.
Here's my Princess 300:   My blog:  
            Photo gallery:

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