1925 Underwood 3-Bank Portable
Spurred on by the obvious success of the Corona Three folding portable, Underwood brought out a similar but non-folding compact portable typewriter in 1919. Like the Corona, it had three rows of keys and a double shift - one for capital letters and a second one for numbers and symbols. As one of the first rivals on the market, and backed by the resources of the mighty Underwood company, it proved to be a winner and continued in production until 1929 when it was finally superceded by a similar but slightly larger Underwood portable with a conventional four-bank keyboard.
This machine was sent to me by a customer who wanted me to get it working so that she could use it. It looked to have been used as a display piece only for some time, since it was full of dust and fluff from standing open and out of its carry case. Typical of typewriters of ninety-plus years old, all the rubber parts had deteriorated, including the special feet which had begun to crumble away. Close-up examination revealed that the drawband must have broken at some time in the past and been replaced with three strands of nylon bead string, painted black and held together with superglue ! It looked like something an antique dealer might do to be able to move the machine on ! At some time in the long-distant past - probably pre-war - the machine had been 'glossed up' for resale by someone in the typewriter trade. As was usual in those days, the black enamel had been given a coat of wood varnish to 'refresh' it. Unfortunately this goes yellow in time, and removal also results in the removal of the original decals underneath !
The rubber parts were replaced, and a new drawband made and fitted. I did the best I could with the varnished enamel. The plastic spools that came with the machine were replaced with the period-correct open metal kind - essential to keep an eye on the ribbon since these models do not have an automatic reverse mechanism. Once completed, the machine was packed up and sent back to my customer. Imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from her a couple of days later with the photo above. What a lovely way of saying 'Thank You' and letting me know that the machine arrived safely at its' destination ! (Click on the picture to see a larger image of the typed message !)
1937 Everest Model 44
I last featured an Everest typewriter in 2018, when I showed you a rare full-size office model ‘ST’. As I explained at the time, the Italian firm ‘Everest’ is probably better remembered for the medium-sized portable typewriters that they made. A style-conscious firm in the same way as Olivetti, outside appearance was just as important to them as engineering excellence. Founded around 1930, they were taken over by Olivetti in 1960. Olivetti closed the factory and discontinued production after two years, but did re-employ the entire workforce in a new factory nearby, making Olivetti products. Some people wonder if Olivetti did this in order to eliminate some of the competition !
Serial number information is a little sketchy for this manufacturer, but as far as I can tell, this Everest Model 44 dates from 1937. In rather poor condition when it arrived, with parts missing, I managed to bring it up to full working order. It was intended as a Christmas present and I hope the recipient was happy with it on the day ! Sadly, one of the things that wasn’t present was the tiny blue enamelled trademark badge on the front of the machine. A typical ‘Art Deco’ touch along with the perforated individual ribbon spool covers, it makes these machines rather special.