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1957 Smith Corona Electric Portable Serial # 5TE120985 1957 Smith Corona Electric Portable typewriter, Serial # 5TE120985 Mighty Jabba's 1957 Smith Corona Electric Portable typewriter. 2024-02-22 From the Virtual Typewriter Collection of Mighty Jabba: 1957 Smith Corona Electric Portable Serial # 5TE120985 I’ve been intrigued by these early electric machines ever since seeing a Joe Van Cleave video about them. Despite being relatively early electrics, they seemed very solid, and I was also interested to see how they managed to fit an electric motor inside a machine that is the same size as their manual models.

I ended up buying two of these on eBay about a week apart. The first one seemed to be in very rough shape, but the price was cheap and it was a buy-it-now, so I decided to give it a shot. Later I saw an auction for what appeared to be the same model in much better condition, and I ended up winning that for slightly less than the first machine! As luck would have it, they both arrived on the same day.

It turned out that they both more or less worked, which surprised me. The first machine was very rough on the outside, with large patches of rust, and the color of the paint had changed with age to be almost more of a green (if it wasn’t for the blue spacebar and paper table, I might have thought it was a dirty green). See below for a comparison of the lid of the first machine. The second machine was much nicer on the outside, but surprisingly gross on the inside.

I decided to combine the best parts of both machines, so I swapped all of the outside metal casing parts, and also ended up swapping motors, because the first machine’s motor got worryingly hot after only a few seconds of use. Getting the case back on was actually a struggle, since when I first tried it, it turned out that the motor was rubbing up against the inside of the case and made a terrible noise. There is a bit of adjustment room in how the pieces fit on the body and are screwed down, so I eventually figured it out. The machine was also missing the “CLR” button to clear tabs, so I took that from the second. They seemed to be attached with adhesive, so I used a hair dryer to try and soften that up, and I guess it worked. In any case, I managed to get it off without breaking it. I reattached it with epoxy glue.

The resulting combination machine is pretty decent looking, albeit with some paint chips and rougher areas. I believe the patches that look like dirt are rust that is starting to come through the paint, since they won’t come off no matter what I try. The machine types quite well, and is satisfying to use, even if the motor is a bit noisy. I do find that I tend to make more mistakes on this kind of electric machine -- probably because I am tempted to type much faster than I normally would on a manual.

1957 Smith Corona Electric Portable #5TE120985

Status: My Collection
Hunter: Mighty Jabba (MightyJabba)
Created: 07-10-2023 at 12:07AM
Last Edit: 02-22-2024 at 11:46PM


Description:

I’ve been intrigued by these early electric machines ever since seeing a Joe Van Cleave video about them. Despite being relatively early electrics, they seemed very solid, and I was also interested to see how they managed to fit an electric motor inside a machine that is the same size as their manual models.

I ended up buying two of these on eBay about a week apart. The first one seemed to be in very rough shape, but the price was cheap and it was a buy-it-now, so I decided to give it a shot. Later I saw an auction for what appeared to be the same model in much better condition, and I ended up winning that for slightly less than the first machine! As luck would have it, they both arrived on the same day.

It turned out that they both more or less worked, which surprised me. The first machine was very rough on the outside, with large patches of rust, and the color of the paint had changed with age to be almost more of a green (if it wasn’t for the blue spacebar and paper table, I might have thought it was a dirty green). See below for a comparison of the lid of the first machine. The second machine was much nicer on the outside, but surprisingly gross on the inside.

I decided to combine the best parts of both machines, so I swapped all of the outside metal casing parts, and also ended up swapping motors, because the first machine’s motor got worryingly hot after only a few seconds of use. Getting the case back on was actually a struggle, since when I first tried it, it turned out that the motor was rubbing up against the inside of the case and made a terrible noise. There is a bit of adjustment room in how the pieces fit on the body and are screwed down, so I eventually figured it out. The machine was also missing the “CLR” button to clear tabs, so I took that from the second. They seemed to be attached with adhesive, so I used a hair dryer to try and soften that up, and I guess it worked. In any case, I managed to get it off without breaking it. I reattached it with epoxy glue.

The resulting combination machine is pretty decent looking, albeit with some paint chips and rougher areas. I believe the patches that look like dirt are rust that is starting to come through the paint, since they won’t come off no matter what I try. The machine types quite well, and is satisfying to use, even if the motor is a bit noisy. I do find that I tend to make more mistakes on this kind of electric machine -- probably because I am tempted to type much faster than I normally would on a manual.

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Hunter: Mighty Jabba (MightyJabba)

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RESEARCH NOTE: When researching the Smith Corona Electric Portable on a computer with lots of screen real estate, you may find that launching the Smith Corona Serial Number page and the Smith Corona Electric Portable By Model/Year/Serial page in new browser windows can give you interesting perspectives on changes throughout the model series.