Sunday, April 13, 2014

And Then There Were...Three???

Holy epic gale force winds, Batman! The trees sure are sneezing today, and the day before that, and the day before that. I think they're allergic to themselves!

Fortunately, I was anchored quite safely.

Mommy, it followed me home. Can we keep him?
Yes, I now have three typewriters. This little gem is my very first desktop machine. I got up early on Friday morning to see the doctor. When I tried to check in, not only was the doctor not in his office, but my appointment was scheduled for another two hours. Soooo, I moseyed back down to the house and Mother suggested that we go to a nearby flea market to pass the time.

I found this Underwood Touch-Master Five sitting next to a rusted oil drum. It looked at me with big sad eyes and whimpered, so I asked about it inside. $20 later, we were on our way home.

Typewriters are like cars, computers, or just about anything else made my multiple companies and used by millions of people. When you've been around them for long enough, you're able to figure out the essential features in just a few minutes. Some of the features were arranged differently or not labeled, so I had to consult one of my reputable sources.

The difficult part is figuring out the history of this model and when mine was made. The Touch-Master Five was one of the last desktop machines produced by the Underwood company. Very little information is available on the internet, but what I did find said that the Five was the third incarnation of the Touch-Master. These machines were produced in the early 1960s, and that's about all I know.

There are no accurate serial number logs for this model online, so it's anyone's guess as to when my specimen was assembled. What I do know is that it types beautifully. Desktop machines were made with thicker steel parts. As a result, they are often considered more durable than the smaller portables and capable of typing at much greater speed without jamming.

As an office machine, the Touch-Master features a large carriage that's able to accept sheets of paper much bigger than the standard 8.5x11 used by all novelists. Rumor has it that many large police departments around the country still use desktops because of the forms they have to process. What exactly those are, I have no idea.

I'm very pleased with this purchase. It came with an all-black ribbon that still prints clearly. The only identifiable problem beyond a few scratches and dirt, is that the type slug for the letter R is misaligned. As a result, the slug strikes high. The letter R looks like it's flying up in the air, and r only half-prints on the page. It won't hinder me from using it for a project, but I'll be sure to have it fixed.

Yes, my new Underwood is still a collectible by most standards, but it's not as collectible as my two Remingtons. I'm not worried about overworking it.

It's been a good week with good weather. Now if only the temperature would stay like this for the next six months until October....

Power to the pen!

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