Under the spell of Underwoods

July 18, 2005

I have long dreamed of swanky typewriter ownership. Not the IBM selectric. Not the “word processing” typewriters of the 80s. I want something mechanical and loud, heavy and black. I thought this dream would elude me. I thought these things were rare. But, no! The world has no dearth of 1920s- or 1920s-era Underwood typewriters, and they can be had on EBay routinely for under $100.

My motivation, however, is not captivating knick-knack, but greasy, pounding, jamming actual use. I want an Underwood #5.

The Virtual Typewriter Museum says:

“There is only one reason not to include the Underwood 5 in a typewriter museum and that is lack of rarity. Otherwise, this excellently designed machine deserves a place of honor as the first truly modern typewriter that set the standard for typewriter design for decades to come.”

Here’s an interesting fact. David and I kept seeing Underwoods on the Internet, for sale. But at first we kept rejecting them because we thought they were broken. The ’1′ key is missing, we kept saying.

Turns out, early typewriters didn’t HAVE ’1′ keys. Instead, you are supposed to use the lower-case ‘L’ key. Intriguing, if not exactly straightforward. Leaves the mystery as to where the “!” key is. We’ll see–I heartily expect we’ll own one within the next few days.

This, like everything else in my life of late, is wedding-related. Yet I find that I’m having an awful lot of fun. I hope this isn’t a drastic harbinger of my domestic destiny, because I don’t wanna be like that.

Mark my words, though: NO KIDS.


  1. Dave says:

    yeah, god dammit, don’t become like those other people… “we can’t go out tonight because we have a big day at home depot tomorrow,” etc… you promised!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Never say never.

  3. Chris Higgins says:

    Hey, I think I actually have an Underwood in my basement. If you don’t want to buy one, but could accept a wedding gift whose indentity you knew in advance, it could be yours….

    (Randy and I bought it as a movie prop on eBay like years ago, and never shot the movie. It’s hot. It’s green, I think. Email me if interested.)


  4. rldgahMg says:

    I read your blog. It was interesting. Blogging is fun.


    wedding gift ideas

  5. blogme says:

    Hi, I found your site while looking for wedding vows and wedding planning ideas. Even though you didn’t have exactly what I was looking for I did get some nice ideas. Check out my link here if you need any wedding info/ideas for your use. You’d be surprised how cheap some of these items really are. I sure was!

  6. Gift Ideas says:

    Nice valentines day gift ideas blog. You should visit mine also at – valentines day gift ideas

Related Posts

Scipio the Computer has deemed that these might be similar in content!
Wonderful games with Caslon