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1909 Underwood 4 Serial # 236929 1909 Underwood 4 typewriter, Serial # 236929 Zachary Greene's 1909 Underwood 4 typewriter. 2023-01-20 From the Virtual Typewriter Collection of Zachary Greene: 1909 Underwood 4 Serial # 236929 This Underwood 4 would be an otherwise unremarkable specimen of its make, were it not for the unusual backspace mechanism on the left of the machine. I got this machine back in 2016, and for the life of me I could not find another example of it until recently. This backspace mechanism is US patent 921,598, filed by a John C. Doane in March 1909 and granted in May of that year. It seems to be a short lived experiment, as other models the next year feature the usual backspace mechanism with a key, which was also patented in 1909. Not sure why Underwood would put two different backspace mechanisms in its machines, but this one obviously did not win out. It works fine and it is pretty intuitive after writing for a couple of lines.

What makes this typewriter more remarkable is that it was given to me by a family friend who saw it on the side of the road while driving. I have not attempted to address any of the cosmetic issues, so it is apparent that this machine had spent a lot of time unused and dirty, evident by some green paint splatter on the top of it in spots. It's a great typer, works just as well today as it did when used daily.

I included a closeup of the backspace mechanism itself, some of the screws look damaged because I didn't have the right tools at the time when I was fixing it as a highschooler. It's a regret of mine now, but it is what it is.

1909 Underwood 4 #236929

Status: My Collection
Hunter: Zachary Greene (ZGMB)
Created: 01-12-2022 at 05:36PM
Last Edit: 01-20-2023 at 02:40PM


Description:

This Underwood 4 would be an otherwise unremarkable specimen of its make, were it not for the unusual backspace mechanism on the left of the machine. I got this machine back in 2016, and for the life of me I could not find another example of it until recently. This backspace mechanism is US patent 921,598, filed by a John C. Doane in March 1909 and granted in May of that year. It seems to be a short lived experiment, as other models the next year feature the usual backspace mechanism with a key, which was also patented in 1909. Not sure why Underwood would put two different backspace mechanisms in its machines, but this one obviously did not win out. It works fine and it is pretty intuitive after writing for a couple of lines.

What makes this typewriter more remarkable is that it was given to me by a family friend who saw it on the side of the road while driving. I have not attempted to address any of the cosmetic issues, so it is apparent that this machine had spent a lot of time unused and dirty, evident by some green paint splatter on the top of it in spots. It's a great typer, works just as well today as it did when used daily.

I included a closeup of the backspace mechanism itself, some of the screws look damaged because I didn't have the right tools at the time when I was fixing it as a highschooler. It's a regret of mine now, but it is what it is.

Typeface Specimen:

Photos:






Hunter: Zachary Greene (ZGMB)

Zachary Greene's Typewriter Galleries [ My Collection ] [ My Sightings ]

Status: Typewriter Hunter
Points: 120

College age collector from New Jersey. Struggling to keep my collection under 30 machines. Started with this hobby back in 2014 when I was a freshman in high school, and it has led me all across the spectrum of machine repair from telephones to tape machines. I always end up coming back to typewriters though, can't keep me from returning to my roots.



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