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Corona Sterling #2A 50886

The work on this Corona Sterling Speedline began a while ago; nearly a year as as the original post ( would have it.

This burgundy beauty has been a challenge. The segments were filled with crud and I was able to get the stuff out with carburetor cleaner. I thought everything was fine, but every time I left it overnight the segments would freeze up again. PB blaster didn't help and I got the sinking suspicion that someone previously tried to unfreeze the segments with oil. The oil worked its way deep into the segment block and just would ooze out after I thought I cleaned it out. I eventually got tired of trying and decided to put the machine away and try again at another date.

Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. Typewriters came and went and I didn't get to this one. It wasn't until I started the restoration work–and subsequently was delayed–on the Underwood (see that I was reminded that I had this beautiful typewriter that needed to be finished. In fact, it was the picture of Tennessee Williams working on the same machine in black that jogged my memory and pushed me to finish it.
I pulled out the machine, found the body panels, and started to work. As I remembered, the segments were still stiff. I cleaned a bit more using alcohol to dissolve the remaining oil in the segment. So far, so good. The type bars are moving freely in the segment slots and there is no sign that the sluggishness will return.

Fully stocked with features, this is a great typewriter. The parallel action is good and the styling is top-notch. I like the Speedlines with crinkle paint, but the glossy ones are really quite svelte. I would prefer to have the black, but the more I look at the burgundy the more I like it. 

This example is a fairly early one coming from 1938 (as the tables tell me) in good shape. There is a small dent on the ribbon cover, but there isn't any chipping.

One thing unusual about Sterlings from this era is the inconsistent appearance of the paper bail. Some machines, like mine, have a bail. Others have fingers. I can't see a pattern whatsoever. I took a look at machines across the Internet and there was nothing leading to a conclusion.

The bail is a charming little device. When you pull the bail back you come to a stop. Wait a half a moment and the bail will move all the way back. It's a fun little addition.

Before I leave you and get to work on the Underwood, I wanted to offer a few more images of this sterling example of a typewriter:


  1. Very nice work. That is one fine looking Sterling.

    1. Thanks. It really is a beautiful typewriter. I was lucky to find one an on eBay. I think it was $20. So, a good gamble.

  2. Very nice work, and very beautiful machine. Maybe we should make a matched set of Burgundy Coronas at the next type-in, your Speedline and my #4. :D

    I know how it is with the "getting stuck on a machine and putting it away for weeks and months", I do that anytime I run into something I either don't know how to fix or is too time-consuming to do until later. Fortunately, I've learned enough this year that almost all of my machines are working right now, and now most of my "to-do" projects are shell painting.

    1. When I started I was a little scared of getting in there, but with experience came confidence. There is another type of confidence that comes with being able to take a step back from a project and letting what you learned marinate.

      The 24 I have in the typewriter room are working, so things are good here in the hinterland of typewriter collecting.

  3. I'm having the same issues with the segment of my refurbished Corona 3... will have to try that trick of solving the crud and oil with alcohol. Any recommendations? Can it be regular, drugstore-bought Etilic alcohol? Or should I use isoprophylic alcohol?

    1. I used iso alcohol from the hardware store. It worked pretty well. I would also suggest a product I am going to be reviewing on the site Hoppe's Gun Bore Cleaner. It is supposed to get rid of carbon and other buildup in a gun's barrel. While I am not a gun person, I cannot thing of anything more like the precision of a gun barrel than the slots of a typewriter segment. Old steel is often high in impurities and it makes sense that a segment slot might be a place where all kinds of fouling material would settle from constant un-lubricated movement.

  4. Bee-yoo-tee-full!

    Mine has the paper fingers -- but the earlier, flattop model has a paper bail (which tilts forward).

    1. Mine is the opposite. The flattop has fingers and the Speedline has a bail. Oh the wonderful minutia.

  5. Handsome machine, I can't believe you got it for just $20! Good to hear you got it back in shape.
    Your machine looks identical to mine (I've got the bail too).

    1. Thanks. I have more than a few typewriters awaiting restoration. The large Lexicon is still needing an overhaul.


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