Sunday, 1 April 2018

The Perching Monolith: 1947 Underwood Standard

It is an imposing beast, with the 14" carriage and monolithic styling. I can't say I'm attracted to the style, but it fits well on a narrow shelf or desk, which this is. A large Royal or Remington would have difficulty in the same location.
 This big Underwood actually followed me from Ontario, when I was there for about nine months. It came back across to British Columbia with a 1914 L.C. Smith #5, and a 1923 Corona 3. I had used it in Ontario for correspondence, and liked it enough to bring it back with me. I couldn't leave it languishing on the shelf of an antique mall in Barrie, over on Innisfil Street. Fine store though, if you're down that way. Spent a lot of time in there on weekends.
At some point in time, possibly the late fifties, the original round black resin keys were replaced with these later style blank keys, which I had to label due to a tendency to lose track of where on the keyboard I was, despite the dark grey home row keys. The oddball is from a Linea 88.

Here is the margin release and right carriage release. You're meant to put your thumb on the hook there, and press the carriage release with the index finger. Kind of an up-side down 'Italian' gesture.

There is some debate as to what this model is called, but it is frequently referred to as 'Rhythm Touch', but I think they may be referring to the version that came a little later, with the long return lever similar to what Remington-Rand was using on the their standard machines. I've referred to it here as a Standard, as there are no numerals after the name, no markings other than the 'Underwood' and location of manufacture on a rubbed off old red medallion. It was made in Toronto, Ontario; It would take another seventy years to traverse the nation, finally leaving the area in which is was built, sold, and used. These are fairly well documented, though there are some lulls in the information. This falls into that odd lull between the old carriage-shift machines a la #5 and the fifties models that are updates of this.

Another in the Typosphere

A vintage stapler goes well with a vintage typewriter. Most of the time there are related office tools, whether they be staplers, blotters, punches, stamps, fountain pens... what have you. They help set the stage and adds more to the aesthetic and experience of using one of these machines. This Underwood is from 1924, though the stapler is c. 1935.

A 3rd generation H3K with cassettes strewn about. This one is from '71, and you'll eventually see it here on the blog. It's cursive, no less. But it's items like this and the cassettes shown that go in an office of that period. There's a Philips EL3302 kicking around somewhere for dictation, should the need ever arise.

A Remie Scout, with appropriate camera. The Ansco Shur-Flash there does work, just like the little Scout. Both were as equally pared down. There is enough to function, but nothing more. Simplicity, but quality, a low price point achieved by using less parts, not by cheapening all of the parts.