1942 Underwood S #S145701606
Status: My Collection
Hunter: Dan Johnson (rdj)
Created: 03-17-2014 at 05:28AM
Last Edit: 06-29-2020 at 03:40PM
Picked this up via Craigslist for $35. It's in remarkable shape. A few issues need to be addressed, but this is a fine addition to the stable. (It didn't hurt that I seem drawn to large carriages: this one is 14".)
According to the serial number, this one was manufactured in 1942 just before the three-year wartime shutdown.
Apparently, the guy who sold it to me received several other offers shortly after mine. He did the noble thing and resisted them, because I was there first. He made an interesting comment, however, that may help seal deals in the future. The others had demanded that he try this, look at that, basically asking someone who knew nothing about typewriters to "inspect" it for them by remote control. He seemed to find that somewhat overwhelming.
So, if you can gauge a machine directly through the photo, you may come out on top of a competition among strangers. I saw how clear and clean the column indicator was on this one, and that was enough to propel my interest. Once I had it before me, its actual problems seemed benign and did not indicate the machine knew any tragedy such as being dropped on its head.
By the way, I showed it to Bert Rosica when I had the privilege of visiting with him (he does masterful typewriter restorations), and he explained the origin of the name. There was a speed-typewriting contest during a World's Fair at which the winner used one of Underwood's typewriters. Thereafter, Underwood used the "Champion" name on all of its top-of-the-line machines to capitalize on this triumph.
Hunter: Dan Johnson (rdj)
Status: Typewriter Hunter
I have always loved typewriters along with other kinds of well-engineered tools and devices such as slide rules, calculators (particular HP), radios, cameras (particularly Nikons), and microscopes. In addition to appreciating their intrinsic beauty and utility, they represent "things that need to be figured out to be understood". That's how I first learned about computers and programming in the 1970s, by figuring things out for myself. It's activity in which I never seem to tire of engaging.
Although communities have arisen around other collection interests, typewriters have the advantage that those who use them also typically enjoy communicating through words, whether those words are about the machines themselves or their lives, hopes, dreams, or expressions of beauty. There's much to be appreciated here.
RESEARCH NOTE: When researching the Underwood S on a computer with lots of screen real estate, you may find that launching the Underwood Serial Number page and the Underwood S By Model/Year/Serial page in new browser windows can give you interesting perspectives on changes throughout the model series.
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