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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Underwood Portable Typewriters 1919-1991: Supplementary Part

Sorry to interrupt the sequence, but I have been asked by a follower of this series to explain the ribbon vibrator arrangement on the Underwood 3 (of course, it has none, like the Corona 3, but unlike the earliest Remington portables).
Rather than go into too much detail, I thought I would add this video demonstrating the way the Underwood 3's carriage moves up and up for capitals and figures.
And while I was at it, I thought I'd throw in yet another Underwood Universal from the early 1930s, one which emulated Corona by gilding the lily, as it were, on the front and side panels.
Anyway, back to the beginning:
A follower called "bikethru" emailed me to ask:
"Just out of curiosity, how does the ribbon vibrator on the Underwood 3-bank portable deal with the fig shift? (I assume the carriage shifts up for caps and down for figs.)
"The only 3-bank I have used is a 1919 Noiseless standard, and unlike on any 4-banks I've used, it doesn't have a ribbon mechanism that rises to meet each keystroke. The ribbon stays at one level, and to stop it obscuring the typing, the ribbon feed eyelets are sprung so that after each keystroke they pivot away from the platen.
"But from your photographs that can't be happening on the Underwood. I'd guess that the ribbon has three positions - level for figs, up a bit for lowercase letters, and up a bit more for capitals."
The follower is, of course, at least partially right, and here is the video:

I hope that answers the query satisfactorily. And now, for good measure, a video of me typing on the Underwood 4:
And here is the Underwood (sorry about the ink stain on the segment; it came off easily enough):



Bill M said...

Beautiful Underwood 4! I have an older one; not quite so nice looking. I always wondered how a 3 bank machine worked. There is one for sale locally I may go pick up now. Thanks for the great post.

Rob Bowker said...

Not bad speed for two fingers! The gold details on the 4 are sumptuous! Sort of paint job dreams are made of.