Underwood typewriter

The 1928 Underwood typewriter you see above is the first I ever bought, from a Divine Light junkshop in Birmingham (England) in the Seventies where the bargains were offset by serious attempts by the shiny-eyed staff to convert you to the teachings of the then youthful Guru Maharaj Ji (look elsewhere on the internet for more about him). Two of them gave me a lift home in their tatty Divine Light van, which was great because it weighed pretty much what you'd expect an armful of iron casting to weigh and I had a mile or so to go. On the way one of them said to his mate 'Do you know, last night in the bath, suddenly the light just filled me and carried me away.' Hmmm . . .

Much of my early writing was done on it till a publisher pointed out how hard it was to read anything with the top half of the 'd' and 'h' and several other letters missing - nappy oays! I only converted to computers when another publisher said I must be the last professional writer left in London still using a typewriter (and Graham, the last guy left in the office who knew how to scan typescript into a computer, had just left . . . )

The Underwood in the 1920s was (like the golfball electric typewriter in the 70s [and, in Britain at least, the Amstrad word processor of the 1980s] ) the Jaguar of typewriters and it is a wonderfully solid contraption with cogs and wheels and all sorts of interesting little buttons and levers to fiddle with when the words won't flow.

Below are a couple of pictures of a giant replica that toured exhibitions in the States, the poster boasting it was 'An exact reproduction of the machine you will eventually buy'. It was 21 feet wide and 15 feet tall, weighing in at 14 tons.

Postcard of exhibition poster

Live photo to show scale