Skip to main content

Understanding an Underwood



This is the only Underwood that I have in my home collection and I can't say that I love the touch right now. There is something gumming up the typebar. In reality I can only type about 10 words per minute, but the few bars that are free seem very responsive. The platen is shameful, but I expect that at nearly 77 years old, you wouldn't be tip-top anymore.


You're right, Typecast Ryan. This little typewriter has some classic lines.

I know that Underwood was thinking that having the touch selector move up for a lighter touch and down for a softer touch was a  stroke of genius. Sorry, boys. Up should be more tension. Down should be less tension. Be equating the switch with the sensation tends to mix up me up considering Underwood is alone in this nuttiness.




 

On a final note, wouldn't The Typebar be a cool name for a vintage-inspired watering hole? Drink names would be fun. I would suggest you try a Dry Ribbon, a Pitted Platen, or the Segmented Shift.

Comments

  1. The Typebar!! I like it very much! I would like to try a Olivetti Expresso, or try a nice Triumph Tea... but only if they serve it at 5:00 p.m. with Underwood biscuits.

    Nice little machine. I have one whose paint is a very nice woodgrain effect. The paint is not as pristine as this one, but I recently had it refurbished professionally, and I like it very much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love these older Underwood portables. Beautiful machines. I agree about how wacky the touch control is...seems like quite an odd way to arrange it.

    The Typebar seems like a fantastic idea. Now, of course, we will find out in a few months that someone was inspired by this post and had such a place built. And it will be nowhere near any of us...

    ReplyDelete
  3. These ARE nice looking portables. It should be pretty snappy, so there must be something gumming up the works in there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is. I will probably try a little lacquer thinner pretty soon. It'll be fine with a little TLC.

      Delete
  4. I have the older 4B and the typing action is quite snappy with a nice easy touch. I've only typed on a few of the old Underwoods and found them all snappy. I really like their touch.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nicely preserved decals and paint job. I never saw one before with either touch control (maybe I wasn't looking) or a silver type scale. Keep typing, it should loosen up.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Careful with the lacquer thinner. You wouldn't want to mess up that nice paint or decals. A solvent that is less harsh would be my preference due to the "whoops" factor.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Isn't any "touch control" feature there just to create another bullet point for the brochure? I mean, you want to have to hit the key as lightly as possible and get as firm a smack on the paper as you can, right? Who would want the opposite? It's like having a knob that lets you choose between sharp and fuzzy type and calling it "our exclusive Print Quality-Control feature."

    ReplyDelete
  8. Would you please post pictures of the bell striker? I just acquired a 1936 Underwood universal and the assembly on the back appears to be installed wrong. Many thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How To: Cleaning Wrinkle Paint

You either love wrinkle paint or you put up with it hoping that a machine in shiny black comes your way. I happen to love the finish. It's very rugged, hides a myriad of metalwork sins, and can come in some very sober and serious colors. As great as I think this paint is, it is a magnet for dirt, grime, and crud. Dirt invariably make its way into the wrinkles and makes your typewriter look tired and grungy. However, the innate ruggedness of the paint makes it easy to clean. This is the process I use. Your mileage may vary. 
To start with you need some simple supplies. A couple of soft cloths, a small Tupperware container, a household laundry detergent without dyes or perfume, an old toothbrush, a utility spray bottle, and a blue Olympia SM3 (or whatever you happen to have). As with the other How-To, I recommend you dust/wet-dust your typewriter first. It takes a minute and "Water is the best solvent."


This process assumes that your typewriter is clean on the inside. There …

Pinhole MG Filter Adapter

A few months ago a friend gave me an old set of Ilford multigrade filters he used in college. He thought I would get some use out of them in my home darkroom. It's nice to have this set. They are good for a couple of really cool contrast techniques in darkroom printing on multigrade paper. It can really save your bacon with a difficult print.

I wanted to also use these filters with my pinhole camera and multigrade paper. The contrast with the paper negatives can be a little extreme and these filters can tame contrast. However, my filters can't easily be taped to the front of the camera. I had to devise a method to hold them.

The 3 inch filters are designed to go under the lens on a darkroom enlarger. Each filter is mounted in a plastic holder that slides into a corresponding mount attached to the enlarger. I pulled out my calipers, did a little measuaring, and crafted a design in Tinkercad. A hours later and I had this design:


I decided to print it in two pieces on my Monopric…

The Most Beautiful Typewriter

When the Olympia arrived in the mail, I immediately wanted one for myself. I began the process of looking for a light blue SM3. Surprisingly, I was able to to find one here in Phoenix in an identical color. It really is a very attractive typewriter. I thought this was, perhaps one of the most beautiful typewriters in the world. The color is blue like a summer sky. The chrome shines even on the grayest of days. The gentle lines are at once playful and very serious. It is a joy to look at.

But as lovely as the Olympia is, there's only one typewriter that I think truly deserves the moniker of "The Most Beautiful Typewriter" and that is the Olivetti Studio 42 designed in 1935. I know many will disagree with me. I would love to hear the disagreements.

I  do not have an Olivetti Studio 42, but I dream of owning one. If I found this machine (in good condition) I would stop collecting. It's that special.

To assist in proving that the Olivetti Studio 42 is "The Most Beaut…