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Friday 20 September 2013

Questions on Typewriter Case Stand

I apologise profusely to everyone for not fully explaining and demonstrating the Underwood portable typewriter case stand yesterday. I did the best I could in somewhat trying circumstances (a rushed job before the one and only member of my film crew, lady friend Elizabeth, flew out to the US). But my post understandably drew a number of questions about the real height of the stand and the extendablility of its legs. Here, I hope, are all the answers:
This is the full height of the stand, with the three legs fully extended. It still differs from the original William John Wade design, which had four legs. With the one leg supporting the shelf extended, the shelf can support the weight of the typewriter, which doesn't unbalance the shelf, but it would be risky.
The height of the shelf is 25 inches. On a modern computer desk I bought the other week, the height to the pull-out keyboard shelf is 26 inches, which seems to be about average.
I tried a stool, which was 24 inches high itself, so there was a bit of a squeeze for the knees (I'm six feet tall). My normal computer or working desk chair is 20 inches from ground to seat, so I guess if I'd used that (or any other normal chair at a comfortable height) it would have been more suitable.
Tony Mindling was right, there is a small rubber pad on the end of the third and bottom section of the extended legs, to protect the surface upon which the desk is standing. The extensions clip into place to keep the legs rigid and steady.
Here the third and bottom section of the leg is folded back down again.
And here the middle and bottom sections are folded back down into the top section, so the leg is ready to be unlocked at its joints and folded into the typewriter case lid. All this takes, as you may imagine, a matter of a few seconds.
Straightening out the middle section of the leg, with the third section still inside it.
Straightening out the bottom section of the leg.

My sincere thanks to Tony Adams, Tony Mindling, Rob Bowker and Richard Polt for the questions in their comments on yesterday's post. Tony Adams pointed me in the direction of this image of actress Margaret O'Brien using an Underwood portable and one of these stands:
Many, many moons and a yellow brick road or two later, the very same said Margaret O'Brien would provide an odd omen that I, too, would one day own one of these stands:
I didn't set out to create the wrong impression, as some may think, but the way I demonstrated it last night was as good as I could do, all things considered. As I say, I hope this now answers all questions about the wonderful William J.Wade Underwood portable typewriter case stand.


Rob Bowker said...

Great exposition! Now it all makes perfect sense and I agree, the Margaret O'Brien connection is spooky!

Miguel Chávez said...

Silly me, at first I thought it looked like a portable ironing table you could set up on your hotel room bed during your travels. XD Then I realized the case was on the way.

I insist, this is a very ingenious design, though something tells me it would be a lot more stable as originally drawn, with four legs instead of three.

How would it compare to the telescopic legs one can see in some WWI-period photos of the little Corona 3?

Richard P said...

Ah, now it makes good sense, thanks.

I admire the design but probably won't be using one. Im a klutz and as you'll soon see, I tower over you by 7 inches, so my gangly legs would overturn this little set-up pronto.

Bill M said...

Very neat invention. Thanks for you posts on it. I've seen a drawing or ad for one of these quite some time ago. Yours is the only one I've seen in use. I do not know if I would ever use one or not. It looks quite handy.

Mark Adams said...

I'm a little blown away that Margaret O'Brien once viewed your typewriter collection. What serendipity.

Bill M said...

Robert, an update to by comments on both of your posts on the Underwood typewriter case stand.
It seems there is not much else on line about these. Friday mine arrived. I was able to locate one in decent condition without a typewriter. I mounted a Universal in it, and find it to be a handy accessory. If I did typing from a draft copy I'd prefer the shelf on the right hand side since that is how I learned. Overall had it not been for your posts on this I may never have gotten one. Thanks again for your great work on your blog.

J. Barrett Wolf said...

I came upon your post about the Underwood case/desk and I was wondering if you know what the time period for their manufacture was? I am looking for the range of years that they were made, in order to decide whether a certain vintage of Champion is appropriate to a particular case.