The 3-Bank Underwood Portable

Generally speaking, I try not to pick up duplicate typewriters. A new typewriter either has to be a make or model I do not have or have a typeface I do not have. The nice thing about general rules is that they are general. I decided to blow off some steam at the nearby antique mall. There are some beat up ’60s Royals there as well as a nice Hermes Rocket that someone should buy. I have an older Hermes Rocket. During this visit, however, I spied a 3-bank Underwood portable. It appeared to be in nice shape, and the broken drawstring put it at a decent price. Given the absence of the case lid, I offered a lower price. The seller, with whom I’ve swapped stories before, agreed. This typewriter also lacks quality decals. That said, I did not want someone to turn it into a non-working display piece, so I took it home. It will be easy enough to fix the drawstring, but the machine comes with the usual flattened rollers, making paper insertion difficult. One thing at a time. This 3-bank was manufactured in 1924, whereas my other one is from 1925.

I like seeing the two of them together, like two small mechanical pets keeping each other company.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Bill M says:

    Nice Underwood 3 bank. Run and long bolt through it and put a nut on the end and chuck it up in a drill and sand it round the best you can and heat shrink does wonders. I’ve saved several typewriters with flat feed rollers that way. Works for platens too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mcfeats says:

      Have you tried using Fimo Classic to create new rollers? I was reading about it tonight.

      Like

      1. Bill M says:

        I’ve got to do a bit of research on that. This it the first I heard of it.
        I’ve used rubber fuel line on rollers that were beyond help with sanding and heat shrink.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. mcfeats says:

        A few websites bring it up. I am thinking about trying it out: https://www.instructables.com/id/Repairing-Typewriter-Feed-Rollers/

        Like

  2. Michael Arau says:

    Can’t beat the old ones. Well crafted and solid. Doubt that you could ever have too many, duplicates or otherwise.

    I wish We had a place so well stocked. Next time I’m down in FL, I’ll have to find that place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mcfeats says:

      Agreed. They need some more work, but that’s to be expected. You are welcome to a tour of my collection!

      Like

  3. Steve K says:

    I can relate to this, even though I’m collecting at the other end of the evolutionary scale. I tell myself, I only need one example of a Brother, one example of a Canon, a Panasonic, etc., but then there are the different categories to consider… curiosity always gets the better of me.

    Like

    1. mcfeats says:

      I think, perhaps foolishly, that I am one of few people in my territory who can preserve these machines—and do some repairs. I guess that’s why I made the purchase. I don’t have the ability to work on your machines. Mad props to you. If you had to keep one machine, what would it be?

      Like

      1. Steve K says:

        I don’t have the skills to work on my machines also. So they’re potentially disposable. I think for practical use the Canon AP-1500 is best of breed.

        Like

  4. Richard P says:

    These are so cute.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John Cooper says:

    There’s one of these at Ace Typewriter in Portland–the first I’ve seen and been able to get my hands on. It’s a sweet little machine. The three-bank mechanism with its triple slugs is so exotic to me that I’d always imagined it dated from the teens, not the twenties.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mcfeats says:

      That’s part of the portable package, I guess—like the Corona 3. I suppose that, if you were used to the 3-bank, the 4-bank might seem bulky and unnecessary—for certain writers, anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

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