Friday, April 21, 2017

The SM9 Who Got a Second Chance

This was my second ever typewriter purchase off of Facebook Marketplace. The pictures from the seller did not adequately convey the condition of the machine, and when I'd driven thirty minutes to meet him, I was a little uneasy. The machine was dirty, and carried upside down in the box. To make it worse, the guy (smoking, covered in tattoos, who showed up in the parking lot in a Chevy truck that looked one bad bump away from falling to pieces) kept going on about how it was passed on from his ex-girlfriend and he'd never had time to mess with it.

I almost didn't buy it. The carriage kept hitting the frame when released. The carriage stopped entirely if you typed past the halfway point. The clear tab button wasn't working at all, just hanging there limp. When he saw my hesitation he lowered his price to $15 and I took it, feeling a little sorry for him. After my debacle with the Lettera 22 I was very unsure of myself. Could I fix it?

As you can see, yes. I did.

The rail issue was caused by rubber grommets on the underside of the frame. One was missing, and one had a loose screw that cause the outer frame to wobble. The carriage rides straight now, even though the machine's a bit lopsided. The clear tab button only had a disconnected link. It looks good now, but still won't work right and actually clear the tabs. Funny, my $10 SM7 doesn't have a working tabulator at all, but this one does.

As you can see, it types just fine. The only other defect is that the ! key slug was cut off. Why? Who knows? Why are there gashes all over like someone took a knife to it?

The only question now is what to do with it. I can't fix the missing slug (though...a custom made slug with my initials or some other symbol would be nice...), and I don't particuarly need another SM9 when the other I have is just fine. Trade bait? Sell it? Still thinking about it. For now, I'm just glad I was able to fix it to the point it works reasonably well.

Sometimes the damage isn't as bad as you think.

Power to the pen.


  1. Hard to kill an SM9. pretty sturdy machine. (:

  2. Maybe the gashes are from riding upside down in the case. Anyway, for $15 you can't go wrong!