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Friday, 7 December 2018

Wayside Treasure: 1937 L.C.Smith Model 8 Typewriter Easy Pickings in Manuka

It's getting to be just like the good old days, back when I had a regular supply of typewriters given to me by Canberran readers of my newspaper column. In the past week I have acquired three "new" old typewriters to play with. I was home by mere minutes yesterday afternoon - after a long lunch in the city with two journalist friends, one of whom I've known for more than half a century - when one of daughters-in-law called. Emily Hansen-Messenger said she'd just been told a typewriter had been dumped on a street in Manuka. I hopped straight back into the car, drove a few minutes away to Bougainville Street, and there to my considerable delight I spotted an L.C. Smith sitting among fallen gumtree leaves on the nature strip beside the road. Even from my car, a few feet away from the typewriter, I could tell it was in good condition.
As I found it.
Apart from anything else, it was a good excuse to put the Underwood 5 restoration job to one side - after 16½ hours' work, it was starting to drive me a little crazy anyway (the carriage on what used to be called a "begging dog" typewriter is refusing to "sit" properly, no matter how many times I say "sit"). So once I got the L.C. Smith home I immediately began the task of tidying it up. The serial number is 1286425, which I'm assuming means it's a 1937 model 8.
Interestingly, it was sold by the Australian Typewriter Company in Sydney, a firm I'd not previously heard of and about which I can find absolutely nothing from online newspaper scans.
This morning I did a bit more cleaning up and touching up. The only problem I had was with the drawband. This was properly attached at both ends but the mainspring had sprung, which is mysterious to say the least. Maybe someone had managed to reattach it, but hadn't known to reset the spring first? Not surprisingly, when I took the drawband off at the spring end, the band disintegrated. So I had to jury-rig another one, and after several attempts to prevent it from dropping off when the spring casing moved downwards, I was finally able to get the L.C. Smith typing beautifully:
Not bad for a gorgeous, 81-year-old typewriter that had been thrown away, but is now looking almost like new:


Johnpyyc said...

Hi Robert:

What a great find. Question though, is the ribbon installed upside down?



Robert Messenger said...

Hi John. Yes, I just put a shortish bit of ribbon on the spools to test type it, and I put it in upside down for the hell of it. Now that I know it's working fine, I might put a full ribbon in.

Ted said...

Righteous find! Gotta hand it to your typewriter finder network (:

Bill M said...

Wonderful find!

Unknown said...
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ojibway said...

Nice find!
Would that be called 'fly-tipping'?
Strange that someone took it to a bit of vacant land and dumped it there.
Or was it put there to be found, I wonder?

I have found numerous typewriters at our local tip shop here in the UK, intended for the skip but salvaged by the dump employees for resale! One was a Continental which I eventually sold to someone in Australia!

Richard P said...

Wow! That's one lucky typewriter.