Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Smith-Corona Skyriter - Worth Going For?

Okay, I'm beginning to think that I have a few typewriters that I don't really enjoy using, so I think some kind of cull is in order soon. In saying that, I really like using my mid '50s Smith-Corona Silent Super. It has a nice snappy action to it and is very responsive.

 
Same goes for my 1945 Smith-Corona Sterling, what I like to call my "Noir screenwriter's typewriter"  because it's got curves like Stanwyck and is as black as a Colt .45


And then there's the circa 1936 Smith-Corona Standard. Glossier than Gershwin's Steinway, with beautiful Art Deco motifs here and there, but it does feel like a 78 year-old machine when I use it, with a slightly leaden feel to it. Sturdy as all get-out, though.


This one gets a lot of compliments and is perhaps my wife's favourite of all my typewriters. As stated, it's a little rough to type with and the bell goes "tink!" at the end of a line instead of "ding!" , but its design and look are so representative of its era that I would have a hard time letting go of this one.

The ones that I'm thinking of moving along are typewriters that, I have to say, don't feel nice to write with. One to go would probably be the early '60s Olympia Splendid 99.


Based on how nicely my SM2 and SM3 work, I thought this slimmed-down model would have the same feel. But, to me, it doesn't. This one has a spongy feel to its keys, which is a shame because it's a nicely designed typewriter.
Another one that I'm not too sold on is the circa 1966 Smith-Corona Galaxie II.


This one does feel nice and sharp to type on, and it's in great condition, but, despite the lengths I went to in order to quieten down the sound of this thing, I find it still a little too loud for my liking. Or maybe I'm remembering it differently. I might have to sit down and write a page or two with this typewriter to see (or rather, hear) if I'm imagining things.

I've also got an early 1970s Litton Imperial that I got someplace and that one is gonna go too. Probably first cab off the rank, that one. It's a pleasant shade of baby blue, but that's the only thing that appeals to me about it, since it's A- plastic, and B- I have other small portables such as a Lettera 32 (going nowhere 'cos I bought it new in 1981) and a late '50s Groma Kolibri (also going nowhere because I'm embarrassed at how much I paid for it and will almost certainly not recoup the cost). However, I do like the idea of another small ultra-light machine and I've been looking at Skyriters on eBay for a few months.
Here's a picture from Adwoa's site (don't know why there's such a huge gap between this text and photo below) ;





picture courtesy of http://www.retrotechgeneva.net. Post(Card)-A -Day 26: American Baby- Smith Corona Skyriter  (Hi Adwoa! Hope you're well.)

And, of course, I've seen these pop up in recent posts on The Typosphere. I know that Bill M
(from  http://offountainpenstypewriters.blogspot.com.au/ - Hey, Bill, how ya doin'?)
is a big fan of these models and has more than one, I think.
But I think it may have been the picture of one of these on Michael Clemens' blog...

Clickthing

...recently that may have gotten me thinking about these Skyriters again. I should stay away from The Typosphere. Too expensive.

So basically, if I'm looking to shift a few typers, I'd like to replace them with one that will actually get its fair share of use. And it's probably a good idea for me to thin out the collection a little anyway.

What say you all in The Typosphere who have a Skyriter? Nice typewriters to use?

To be honest, if they're anything between my '45 Sterling and my '56 Silent Super, then I'm half-way sold on them already.

Thanks for reading!

6 comments:

  1. Mine is better than expected. I held put for 3 years for a good price.

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  2. You're sold. Skyriters are very snappy and pretty light. Similar but not identical to the silent-supers. Get a 1950's one - sometimes the 60's ones are dead-feeling, but I've run across a couple plastic-shelled Corsairs that were actually very good.

    One thing: Skyriters tend to have somewhat haphazard type alignment, but I've found most Smith-Corona portables tend to get out of whack that way when well-used. If you consider that trait charming rather than annoying, there's another plus.

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  3. I have a later skyriter made in England... like this one:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Smith-Corona-Skyriter-typewriter-/231253786319?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35d7ccbecf
    I have to say, I don't love it. It's a plain looking machine. There's a stifling air of mass production to it, void of "character". At the same time, it's a decent machine, but I have so many I prefer ahead of it. Strange as it may be though: I love my SM9 and that is such a common machine that it sells super affordable.
    My opinion: if you can get the skyriter for a real good price, then no harm, no foul. You can always unload it. I think you can sell your Kolibri too, it may surprise you how much you might get for it.

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  4. Thanks for the responses, folks. And Ted, yes, the type alignment on both my '45 Sterling and '56 Silent Super is a little...'jaunty', but this adds to their charm.

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  5. Hi. I'm not sure if I understood what "ting" is in your Smith Corona ;) I write just to say mine also did "ting" and it's very easy unscrew the bell, clean it and screw it again but not too hard. Then a great and clean "ding" is here!

    Btw, what did you finally chose? I'm looking for a Olympia Splendid. I didn't know the feeling is spongy...

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    Replies
    1. The bell on my 1936 Smith-Corona Standard feels a little soft. I could unscrew it and adjust it, but it doesn't bother me enough to try fixing it.

      I haven't gotten a Skyriter. I have too many typewriters already. As for the Splendid, yes, it feels a little sluggish to me. Not as snappy as some of my other Olympias. Still a nice machine to use, however.

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