It was about a year ago when I wandered into an antique shop and happened upon an Underwood typewriter. It was a cast-iron-frame beauty—classic design, nice pin striping, glass keys, sans rust, and in pretty decent shape. Unfortunately the price wasn’t so decent, so there it stayed.
Skipping down to yesterday. I happened into that same shop again and there it still was, still in the same spot and still in the same shape, but with one difference - the price was reduced by less than half. The manager noticed my interest in it and came right over, saying that it was probably made in the 1940’s although she was unable to find the serial number… or something like that. To be honest, I was barely listening by then, a touch too busy tearing through my wallet in search of my debit card. And then it was mine.
Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have a bit of a thing for research. In fact, you could call me a researchoholic. If there’s an answer out there, I’ll find it or murder my keyboard trying. So of course I placed my newly acquired antique Underwood on the kitchen island and got to work at the computer, looking up where the serial number would be located, as well as everything I ever wanted to know about Underwoods and wasn’t afraid to ask, dammit! Ten minutes, people; it took all of ten minutes to find the previously unfindable serial number, and with it, date the sucker.
1906? Shut the front door!
Not that being quite a bit older than previously thought made her valuable (there’re only about a gazillion of them still out there). But can you imagine! Inspiration? Certainly. Muse? Most definitely. My parents wouldn’t have been born yet. My grandparents would have that year purchased what the local newspaper stated was the first car in their home town. Coffee was fifteen cents per pound. Chocolate was thirty to sixty cents per pound. Women didn’t even have the vote yet. It boggles the mind! (For a glimpse, check out: Life in 1906)
She’s neat, she works, she’s complete (along with the absence of the see-saw ribbon color selector, which apparently indicates rarity), and she’s mine.
'Underwood' is so long. I think I’ll call her Gladys.