My late Uncle Walter was an avid collector of antiques, which my family has now inherited. He had many different kinds of antiques, including tools, furniture, collectables, toys, and household items in a storage locker.
While looking through the locker, one item that immediately grabbed my attention was this Corona #3 typewriter. Its characteristic appearance and fairly small size appealed to me since I have a small place and not much space for large items. I figured it would be a great remembrance to Walter.
Looking up the serial number online, I discovered that it was produced around 1914, making it 100 years old. My friend Peter Josselyn is an expert on typewriters, and filled me in on the details of this particular model:
“It is a Corona #3 (meaning there are three banks of keys). It has one shift for capital letters and another for figures. Corona bought the rights to make these machine from the Folding Typewriter Company and produced quite a few of them. They are rugged machines and were often used in the trenches during the Great War and were very popular with journalists for the high level of portability. They also have comparatively very few parts so are easy to service. Even if yours has not been used in a while. you could bring it back with even the most basic mechanical intuition. My own Corona #3 is a favourite.”
It’s a good thing this typewriter is easy to service, because I had to do exactly that. As you type on a Corona No. 3 typewriter, a spring inside a drum connected to a string causes the carriage to move from left to right. This string, perhaps showing its age, finally decided to snap. It was not an easy repair since I had to guide the string through the underside of the carriage properly, and apply the spring’s tension to it. After 3 attempts, I finally did it right. I am more used to repairing computers, so I felt quite a sense of accomplishment having resurrected this 100 year old machine into operation once again.
Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to talk to Walter about most of individual antiques, and we didn’t find any records regarding the antiques that he might have kept. Thus, the history of this particular typewriter and his attachment to it remains unknown.
If he were here to describe it to me though, I imagine he would say it’s basically an antique laptop, except this model doesn’t ever run out of battery life, and the printer is built-in. It would be a nice compliment to the bookshelf he made for me years ago, which he then described as an antique hard drive.