Smith and Corona 1970s Manual Portable Typewriter

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I went with a friend Friday to the Old School House Antique mall in Washington, Louisiana. Always a fun experience. If you have never been, you should check them out sometime. They have a cafe as well, so you can go and spend the day hunting for treasure and stop and have a bite to eat when you are ready for a break.

I was looking for vintage commercial wood spools and bobbins for a large jar on my living room mantel. I managed to find some and bought 19! Yay! I was very excited about that. I also picked up some anchor motif gold vintage buttons from Woolworth for some of my crafty projects. But, as evidenced by my blog post title, my biggest score of the day was a 1970s Smith and Corona manual typewriter. A lot of my online scrapbook friends own typewriters and they are definitely making a comeback across several different demographic groups, but I have been personally very skeptical about the practicality of owning a typewriter. I wondered how people stored them and if its worth the bother of getting it out to use. If you leave it out, how much room does it take up? Just a few random things that have crossed my mind.

I saw this little portable typewriter in its case and decided to check it out.

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All of the keys except 2 worked. The carriage return drug a little bit and the keys were slightly gummed up. I decided that I would give the little typewriter a try and purchased it for $30 that was more than what I wanted to pay for something I knew would have to be fixed and ultimately may not work, but $30 was the lowest she would go. SOLD!! (To a sucker maybe? Lol)

I brought it home and researched cleaning it. Before I purchased it, I did look online (love smart phones!) to see if ribbon was available for it. I have made that mistake before. I bought a vintage camera to play with only to find out that film for it was obsolete… But that’s another story. I bought denatured alcohol and followed this tutorial on how to clean a manual typewriter, oiled the carriage wheel with a tiny, minuscule amount of sewing machine oil and plopped in a new ribbon. Steven was able to reconnect the “Q” and “2” (my smart mechanical techie guy–love him!!!) and I fiddled with some of the arms that were bent to get them back into alignment.

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Cleaning it with the alcohol helped a lot. It flushed out a lot of small dirt particles. Dust is a manual typewriter’s worst enemy. That is also the reason many restorers recommend you do not oil the key arms because oil + dust=a gummed up machine. I only put a tiny bit of oil underneath the machine on the return wheel. While that did help the carriage return move a bit more easily, I see that there is something wrong with the backspace key and that is what is causing the manual return to drag. Everything else is all shiny and it works great!!!!! I can’t manually return it (push on the lever and it go back to the ready position), so I have been working around that, but Steven is going to look at it and see if he can reconnect/fix whatever it is that is causing the carriage to be sluggish. Anyway, this is probably more information than you wanted to know!!!

Annnnnnd…. Here is how it types:

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I have already put it to use for my scrapbook. This so much fun! It should be illegal.

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