Jake: How’d you like to see our typewriters in their natural habitats? I thought so.
It’s been made pretty well known that I’m not the collector in the house. Megan and Eliza are crazy about collecting, but if I were a bachelor, it would be minimalism that ruled. Of course, I’ve technically got collections of my own. I’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty, a stash of semi-broken computer parts just waiting to be used and fixed, and boxes and boxes of technical stuff that Megan would really like organized. (Someday, honey.)
That said, I’m completely on board with our typewriter collection. If it weren’t for me, all of these probably would have ended up in the shop.
Megan: We sell a lot of typewriters: at last count we had sold over 50! So there are always a ton of typewriters in our house. We play around with the ones that we sell to test them, but there are three that we loved too much after testing them to give them up. So you know that means they’re special. (We only have one in the shop at the time of this post writing, but we’re stocking up to do a big typewriter update).
Jake: My favorite typewriter is our 1929 Faux Bois Royal Portable. It has a really cool walnut woodgrain finish.
Megan: This was among the first of Royal’s portable models. They began making portable typewriters in 1926, after which they became the #1 bestselling typewriter brand in the US.
I found this typewriter at an antique store by our old loft. It was in the case and was under a table: I was super lucky to have spotted it. This was before I was really really familiar with the older typewriters, so I had no idea that opening the box would bring me this gold. Vintage shopping rule: always open cases. You never know what you’ll find. It was only $20, and these sell for $300-$600 online. Best score ever.
Jake: This typewriter currently lives on the dresser in our bedroom. It’s really the only place in our house fancy enough to make it shine. The antique dresser was given to us by Megan’s grandpa (Poppy).
Megan: The dresser was in my grandparent’s house when I was born. I’ll have to ask for the story behind it.
Jake: The table also holds The Little Prince book I bought for Megan when we were first dating (it’s her favorite book and that’s the first English printing), a few other fancy books that she’s reading, and the inkwell and quill that her tattoo is based on. (Here’s the haggling story behind the inkwell.)
Megan: We think it’s pretty rad that this one still works. My computer is four years old and I’m happy that it’s still plugging along. How awesome is it that this still works after 83 years? We rarely use this one (because we’re scared we’ll mess it up), but I do use it for the journaling on scrapbook pages every once and awhile.
Jake: Etsy doesn’t have one as we’re writing this, but you can haunt this search if you want to find one.
Megan: My favorite typewriter (to look at) is our Underwood Standard No. 5. This typewriter is the classic desktop and set the standard for the design of pretty much all typewriters after it. It’s not as collectible as many of the typewriters we’ve come across because it’s not a rare model: Underwood made millions of these from the early 1900s to the 1930s. We haven’t checked out the serial number of ours, but it was made sometime in the 1920s (we know that because of the logo on the typewriter and the lack of glass, which was put on the side in the 1930’s).
Jake: This one was brought to us by Poppy. He’s awesome: he brings us cool vintage stuff when he finds things he knows we’ll like.
Megan: It hangs out on my nightstand on my side of the bed.
I love that I can see into the guts of the typewriter, and it makes me super happy that this is the first thing I see in the morning.
Jake: This one works just right too! The keys are a little slow, but if we oiled it properly it would be perfect. We also need to get a new ribbon for it, but we’re looking for cool ones since they show.
If you want your own Underwood No. 5, look for them here.
Megan: The typewriter that gets the most use in our house is our Smith Corona Cursive Cougar XL. I love using it for scrapbooking (see an example).
Jake: This one hangs out on our work desk. Here’s what it looks like when Megan’s made a mess with Project Life.
Megan: There are quite a few cursive typewriters on Etsy, but they come with a hefty price tag. And don’t let the online quantity fool you; they’re really hard to find.
Jake: In addition to actual typewriters, we’ve got a few typewriter accessories floating around here too. This antique bottle of typewriter oil is on our mantle above our work drafting table.
Megan: Our printer is on a typewriter table.
Jake: And we’ve got a dried up typewriter ribbon and a typewriter ribbon tin on the mantle too. Ribbon tins would be fun to collect, but we never find them locally for some reason.
Megan: We hope you enjoyed our typewriter collection! We’d love to hear about what YOU collect!
Jake: We’d be glad to answer some typewriter questions too. But remember, we’re typewriter hobbyists, not experts.
See more collections from the Nerd Nest here.