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Thursday 6 June 2013

Smith-Corona 5TE Electric Keyboard Portable Typewriter: Restored and In The Pink

I bought this Smith-Corona 5TE electric keyboard portable typewriter from a seller in the home of the typewriter - Milwaukee, Wisconsin - 10 weeks ago. For the past six weeks or so, I have been working on it, bit by bit. One thing I had to do was take the motor out and have it rebuilt for Australian power input, which I had done by Delta Electronics close by in Phillip, Canberra.
You may recall that Ted Munk was also extremely helpful here, as when first switched on the typewriter's typebars all wanted to type at once. Ted gave me detailed instructions on how to fix this problem.  Miguel Ángel Chávez Silva also gave me some very good advice on the rebuilding of the motor, in terms of changing the copper threadings of the stator. 
While that was being done, I completely repainted the 5TE to bring it back to its original colour. When it was listed on eBay, the seller described it as "peach and pink". The plastic spacebar and the guides under and behind the platen were pink (and not exactly the same shade) while the rest of the typewriter had faded to what was euphemistically called "peach". Of course, it had originally been pink all over.
I have noted that with the two non-electric pink Series 5 Smith-Coronas I own, the same thing has happened to the paintwork. That it fades to varying degrees on different parts of the typewriter only further detracts from the overall appearance - at least in my opinion. I wanted to see one of these pink machines as it had originally looked. Here are images of this typewriter as listed on eBay, and you will see from the back section, in particular, that there are about three shades of pink (or peach):
The extent to which this pink paintwork had faded was revealed when I peeled off the voltage input sticker from the back section under the carriage. This was the only part of the original paintwork which hadn't faded to peach:
I then took this to a car paint shop and got them to make me three spray cans of a shade matching the original colour. In order to retain the original surface, I used a plastic texture undercoat, then covered this with three coats of the original pink shade. By the time all this was done, the motor was ready to be reinstalled, together with the belts and wheels.
Once reassembled, the 5TE sprung back into life as if new. Certainly the consistent overall colour added to that sense of renewed life. I love the end result and I hope you do too.


Ted said...

Fabulous restoration on your 5TE, and magnificent machine! I'm glad you were able to get the motor converted as well. I find 5TE's to be delightful machines to type on. (:

Nick Bodemer said...

That looks beautiful! I have always loved pink Smith-Coronas, but never would have thought that they were ever actually pink. (Because of the fading.)

Richard P said...

Excellent work! The color certainly looks much better now.

PS: I hate to break this to you, but ... the correct spelling is Cincinnati.

Miguel Chávez said...

It looks great! It's amazing how much the original color faded over the years. Glad to see it in full working order again!

Ray said...

You have done a spectacular job with the restoration. It certainly inspires Alice and I not to give up on our project machines when we see how wonderfully you are able to breathe new life into yours. Despite its colour, I think you could describe it as a 'real peach'.

Steve Snow said...

Congrats on what is an incredible result! This is one that almost any female in the country would go perfectly bonkers for!

Possbert said...

Looks glorious!

Rob Bowker said...

You did well but, at the risk of being a party pooper, I'm not sure I could live with something SO pink. Having said that, it does seem to float above the desk like a candyfloss cloud... and the motor rewinding operation shows exceptional dedication to the power of pink.

Vikram said...

Cool! Closest thing I have is a pink mechanical pencil with requisite pink lead. Well worth all the restoration and conversion effort, IMHO. Enjoy!

Unknown said...

My name is Eduardo Garcia, I’m from Spain and I wonder if you can make me a huge favor. Here it goes:
I would like to tattoo a little text from my favourite book “100 años de soledad” (100 years of solitude) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And I discovered that Garcia Marquez used a SMITH CORONA ELECTRIC PORTABLE 5TE to write that book
I though that my tatto will be awesome if I use the same type letter as Garcia Marquez
I saw that you have this typewriter and I want to ask you if you can use your typewriter to write the following text and scan it and send it to me by email so that I can show to the tattooist the exact letter type that I want.
“Hasta encontrar un barco que hiciera escala en las Islas Afortunadas, y allí seleccionó las veinticinco parejas de canarios más finas para repoblar el cielo de Macondo.”
I ask you this because I cannot think another way to get a written text with this typewriter. You can send it to me to I will be forever grateful for you.
PS: in other case the text that you posted here would be enough but the picture has low resolution, if you are going do to what I am asking you, please do it, if you can, with the highest resolution possible. Thank you again. Even if you cant write the text it would be enough if you can send me a random tex but in high resolution