Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Typewriter Collection No.5: Smith-Corona Standard, circa 1937

EDIT- While editing my last few posts about watches, I inadvertently managed to edit this older post about my Smith-Corona Standard. I saved it to drafts, but thought I should just re-post it in the interests of keeping my records intact. This was first posted here sometime in the middle of 2011, so don't panic if you've already seen this post. I'm not sure if the comments already posted about this post will be deleted. If they are, my apologies to those of you who responded at the time. BTW, it's still a cool typewriter.

Gotta include the profile shot. This thing almost starts to look like some kind of miniaturised grand piano, with its flat-top design.

Picture courtesy of

Love these glass-topped keys.

This is why I'm always calling these things machines. I marvel at the intricacies of typewriters and how they operate.

This is a solid and slightly imposing looking typewriter. Once I get a new ribbon for it, it'll get a little more regular use.
While writing the typecast above, I noticed that the letter 'e' was punching holes right through the a Thompson machine gun!
Maybe that's why it was sticking?
Who knows?

Thanks again for reading!

The little snippet stuck to the top of this typecast is taken from "Red Wind" by Raymond Chandler. First published in "Dime Detective", January 1938.
This edition taken from "The Big Book of Pulps", Edited by Otto Penzler, Published by Quercus, 2008
ISBN 978-1-84724-824-4


  1. What a handsome, distinctive-looking machine! Beautiful glass keys. And I just love the profile shot. You are lucky to have this in your collection, teeritz.

  2. The individual keys are gorgeous. I would pay good money for a computer keyboard like that.

  3. Very nice. I love the side view too. This model is like a '20s car and the succeeding, streamlined model is like a '30s one.

    For the sticking "e," take a close look at whether it is pushing against one side or other of the typebar guide and getting stuck there. If so, you can probably gently push it in the other direction until it no longer sticks. Alternatively, there may be some dirt in the segment slot or on the base of the typebar which you may be able to remove.

  4. Thanks, gang. Yes, it's a distinctive looking machine. Whenever I look at it, everything turns to black & white.

    @ Richard P, sir, thanks for your advice. I took an Exacto knife blade and gently scraped inside the typebar base. Nothing came out. The typebar appeared to hit the left side of the typebar guide when I was using it yesterday. I placed a drop of sewing machine oil onto a toothpick and let it slide into the segment slot and then I machine-gunned the letter e for a line or two and it didn't stick anymore.
    Maybe that's solved it. I'll leave the typewriter for a week or so and then try typing on it again and see how it goes. Thanks for the tips! Very useful for future reference.

  5. Teeritz: Beautiful machine, but, since I own virtually the identical one, perhaps I'm a bit biased. Mine carries the serial number 1CR43677, which I have confirmed is from 1937. It looks identical to the one whose picture you shared. Any idea what it is worth?

  6. @ Ken, Not sure what it's worth, but my repairman tells me to hold onto it because he thinks I'd be able to get eight or nine hundred dollars for it in a few years. But to me, it's a keeper.

  7. Nice machine! Those keys are amazing. I'll put it on my wish list!

  8. Hi, I just stumbled upon this blog while trying to learn of this typewriter myself. See, I have this typewriter as well...a gift from my uncle, and I am dying to use it. Unfortunately, I am not sure as to what kind of ribbon spool to get. I've been looking around online to try and figure it out, but I'm still not sure. Mine looks just like yours, so I was wondering what kind you get...Thank you in advance! It is a beautiful thing.

    1. Hey Rachel, check out this guy in New York. His name is Tony Casillo and I ordered three ribbons from him a few years ago. His website is
      and follow the link to his ribbons page. Be sure to tell him what machine you have and he'll be able to send you the correct ribbon. He was great to deal with. I'll be buying from him again.
      Best of luck and enjoy the typewriter. I think he also services typewriters as well.

    2. Thanks a lot for the info!! Do I just tell him that it's a Corona Standard? Because that's all I know about what type it is....I'm new to the old typewriter biz.

    3. Rachel, if your typewriter looks like my one, then it's a late 1930s Smith-Corona Standard. That should be enough info for them to supply you with the correct ribbons. But don't worry so much about ribbons, it's the spools that you need to get ahold of. Once you've got the spools, then virtually any ribbon can be threaded onto them. Either way, they should have the correct spools for your typewriter. Check the serial number on your machine and look it up on the Typewriter Database to get a more accurate year of manufacture.
      Good luck.

    4. Ok great! Mine already had two spools in it with the old, worn out ribbon, so that's good to know! Thanks a million! Very glad I found this blog. Keep up the good work!