Friday, December 19, 2014

Most wanted! Top 15

Everyone has got typewriters they just MUST have. Lacking anything else to do, I may as well make my list!

Here are my top 15 most wanted typewriters, #1 being the one wanted most.

#15- Smith-Corona Super Speed
There was a time when I would have wanted this much, much more but since that time I have acquired a LC Smith 8, which is mechanically very similar. These machines are known for their speed and type action.

#14- Olympia SM4
I actually already have one of these--however, the one I do have is in a unattractive grey color and has a large carriage that makes the shift very heavy and ruins the whole experience. I love the type action on it, though.

#13- Burgundy Royal Quiet DeLuxe
These fantastic machines are quite hard to find in this color. I have an Arrow of the same vintage and I love it. Royals of this era are often rightly considered the best of Royal's lineup.

#12- Royal HH
I used to own one of these, back in June. It was damaged in shipment and had a large dent in the back plate. I sold it quickly but soon started to miss it. These are real workhorses and will stand up to countless hours of typing without problems. Like all Royal standards, the type action itself is great.

#11- Royal Empress

This Royal has a fantastic 60's design. They are also huge and intimidating looking, so I would love to have one sitting on my desk.

#10- Smith Corona Clipper (Streamline)

SCs are great typers, and this one has a very attractive logo exclusive to Clippers of this era. This generation of Smith-Coronas is among the most sought after for the brand, as can be seen from the prices these go for on eBay.

#9- IBM Electromatic

These early IBMs have a very industrial look that I just can't resist. I want one dearly!

#8- Remington Portable #1
Although I would take any early Rem with folding typebars, it is the original black #1 that I want the most.

#7- Torpedo 18
Nothing represents quality German typewriter manufacturing better than the classic Torpedo 18. However, since these machines are uncommon in the states they demand very high prices over eBay. 

#6- Underwood Standard Portable- 3 Bank
The early version of the popular Underwood Standard Portable had only 3 rows of keys. Oddly, they didn't sell as well as the also 3 banked Corona 3 that needed to fold up for transport. These little guys are uncommon and go for quite a lot on eBay.

#5- Groma Kolibri

Although I have long since given up hope of finding one at a reasonable price, the popular Kolibri remains on my want list. These tiny guys are among some of the smallest typewriters ever made- roughly the size and thickness of an old laptop.

#4- Hermes 3000

The H3K is among the most esteemed and respected typewriters out there. They are also very distinctive looking, though I wouldn't quite call them beautiful. I have been wanting one for... well, I can't even remember how long.

#3- Groma Modell N
Although not as well known as most of the typewriters listed here, the Groma Modell N is one of my holy grail machines. Why is it not my #1? Well, there aren't really many (if any at all) made in the standard American QWERTY keyboard layout, so I would have to adapt to the German QWERTZ, something I would rather not do.

#2- Remington Noiseless 10
I'm not sure why, but the Remington Noiseless office machines have a huge appeal to me. Whatever the reason, it must be a good one for the Noiseless 10 to be up here at #2.

And now, a drum roll for my #1 most wanted!

#1- Smith-Premier No. 10
Yes, I know this is an odd choice for my #1 most wanted typewriter. But what's not to love? Beautiful design with interesting angles, lovely gold lettering and pin striping, and it is the only full keyboard (no shift with separate keys for upper and lower case) front stroke machine ever made. They are also reasonably common, so owning one is most certainly not out of my reach!


  1. Not wanting to brag... but I have or have had 10 of the items on this list. :P

  2. Underwood 3 banks are common enough. 50$ on ebay will often net you one.

    1. Hmm, maybe I just need to look harder. All the ones I have seen recently were over $100

  3. Nice list. I have three of these and covet many of the others.

  4. Good choice! Nice to dicover your blog.

  5. NIce typewriters, but why no Olivetti love? ;)

    1. I'm not much of an Olivetti guy.. Of course, I wouldn't mind having a Studio 42 :D

  6. The L C Smith Super Speed's are fast typers with their ball bearing typebars. Also one of the finest looking Streamlined era (1930's) standard typers. What, no Woodstocks....... they "type like the wind" - fast & snappy!
    It's a great list - good luck.

    1. I'm actually pretty interested in Woodstocks, but there just isn't a whole lot of info out there about them, even less for R.C. Allens!

  7. As good as the L C Smith 8's are, the Super Speed's are even better!

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  9. Trust me on this one: YOU DO NOT WANT AN IBM ELECTROMATIC!!! For one thing, they're scarce as hen's teeth, and for good reason: They did not last very long without near constant attention from the IBM serviceman. Their electrical gear gets very hot after a good use, so you don't want to set one of these typers near your curtains. Their motor setup is a lot like a sewing machine motor in that it is variable speed (which this typewriter uses to control how hard the type bars hit the platen). Plus the motor is very small and tends to labor heavily when you use the carriage return. If you want a big bruiser Mack truck of a typer, try a 1949-1958 IBM model A or B, particularly one with carbon ribbon magazines on the outside. I always liked the ones with the 15" carriage also. These have very tough motors that are one speed, run cool, and the impression control is set mechanically--not electrically. And there is a very good reason why there are so many of these still around--they lasted.

  10. You sure said a mouthful about #12--the Royal HH. Those things are TANKS!!! You could darn near type underwater with one!! If I had to name anything that comes near being indestructible, it would be any of these babies. I have a '52 and a '55 model (they made them from '52-'56). I can say this with pretty good certainty: Get one of these, fix it up, and it will outlive you AND your grandchildren.

  11. #11, the Royal Empress, is also a fantastic typewriter. I have what looks like an exact duplicate of the one shown here--down to the after-market carriage return lever. The original plastic ones were, to say the least, an awful idea because they couldn't stand up to the heavy carriages--especially the 16" or longer ones. But you put an after market all-metal lever on one, and you really have a machine to contend with. It is very light on its feet touch-wise and most still print very well. An added bonus is that the machine inside isn't as big as the shell outside, so you have all kinds of room to stuff your keys, wallet, and whatever else you had in your pockets, plus your watch and cell-phone. You can hide all kinds of neat stuff in either side of the machine and still be able to use it. And lastly, if you look straight on at the machine, it looks like its smiling!!