Monday, March 21, 2011

the sleek, black Smith Corona Sterling

if i have to pick one favorite among my small stable of typewriters, this will be it, at least currently. i love its sleek shape that seems to look best in black. of course, that is unless i happen to snag the pre-war maroon version of this model from the Machines of Loving Grace website.

when i first got it, it was this dirty and grimey and looked like it housed several varieties of mold. now look how handsome it is. the only thing that i wished it had was metal keys. i find it quite odd that mine had flat plastic keys when most of the same model i see on the net had round metal ones. since this particular model was in production just before the war when production was halted, my theory on this is that, when the production resumed after the war, the Sterlings with the metal keys are probably those that were produced from the leftover parts from the pre-war times. mine was probably produced after the original metal keys had run out. it was probably transitional especially since the Sterlings after this model had plastic keys.

anyhoo, i was so proud of it that when the FPN-P's penmeet came around (the first i attended), and it had a theme of "bring-your-collections-other-than-pens", i brought this Sterling. i also thought this would be great to show them particularly since i knew Mr. Butch D. was going to bring it's "ancestor", a 1920's folding Corona #3 to the penmeet too.

Mr. B even demo'ed how it opens. see the vid below which i took with the iPhone in a not so well-lit restaurant. i tried to brighten it a bit on Adobe Premier. not tops, but it'll do:

my Smith Corona Sterling was heavy so i had to opt out bringing a camera to the penmeet. on hindsight, i wish i had brought one. all i had was my iPhone so there's not much photos i captured. or maybe, it was just as well because even if i brought i camera to the meet, i probably wouldn't be able to click much considering that i was so overwhelmed with all the oogling i was doing at the beautiful pens that they had!

i did pick up a lot of tips at the meet. that is one advantage of going to one. best of all, Mr. JP helped me out in smoothing out a Lamy 2000 nib that i so imprudently tried practicing nib-grinding on. (this is for another blog story :-D) i also picked up a lot on what to buy! i went home that day with 4 fountain pens --a John Bull eyedropper with a flex nib from Mr. Butch (another good story on this!), a Parker 45 flighter, a Schneider Zippi, and an FP from Muji AND i had to come back for a Parker 75 the day after--because after the meet, I and my girlfriends, had to go around town (mallhopping!) to the stationery stores for some inks and pens.

ahhh, the pens... they are accumulating! they have a tendency to accumulate faster than i can blog them particularly since they are pretty easy to get and they do not present the same space and weight problems that typewriters have. i am quite painfully discovering that this addiction is a lot more potent than the typewriters... yes, painfully. my wallet hollers "ouch" already! even if i am definitely not into the 'really-expensive-sell-an-organ-or-body-part' kind of pens, the compounding challenge is that there is an offshoot collection/addiction that inevitably comes with it--inks and notebooks! ...and it's just too darn fun to stop playing with them! as evidence, check out the pages i added to this blog on pens, ink, and of course, the typewriters that started me out on all the madness. Will update those pages as i accumulate... er... write the stories or my experiences with my big girl toys :-D


  1. I think the black is just as beautiful as the maroon. And those keys are not just different than the metal-rimmed ones; they seem different than any I've ever seen on a Smith-Corona. Can you get a closeup on those?

    I'm hearing from Will Davis' nuke blog that there's earthquake activity in your area. Hope you and yours are whole and hale.

  2. Those keys are really special, don't be sad about them. You may have a very distinctive typer!

  3. I like the keys too. Fantastic job of cleaning and photographing this typer!

  4. I wish I could send my machines to you for cleaning! I was afraid I would scrub the decals off and you never seem to do that.
    Oh, and another "like" on the keys.

  5. Hi, i was googling vintage typewriters when i stumbled on your blog. that's some black beauty you have there! Consider me envious. What made it more interesting is that i see photos of my thesis adviser in grad school, Dr. Dalisay. Anyway, I'm looking for a Hermes Rocket/Baby, would you know of any stores here in Metro Manila that carry one? Thanks!

  6. thanks Shordzi!

    DuffyMoon, the earthquake was weak where i am, i hardly felt it. i surely hope there will never be anything stronger than that one. thanks for the concern. :-)

    mpclemens, they are growing on me. thing is they may have a tendency to come off, being not as anchored as the metal ones. only a couple did though and i glued them back with E6000. they seem to be staying put.

    thanks Richard P! i try :-D the cleaning is actually quite relaxing and rewarding for me. i think uncovering one in an ugly dirty condition (for as long as they are not too beat up) and cleaning them up to a sparkling state is part of the thrill for me.

    notagain, i'm very careful around the decals, i never try to get my trusty scrubber around that area. may just a couple of few swipes. hey, i'd gladly clean up some of your machines for you! but i can't guarantee returning them back hahaha! :-D

    tessgarcia, hi there! it's hard to get machines in a pristine condition in Manila. i think it may be because it's dusty and humid here and if it was in much use during their time, they'd be pretty beat up. the ones i get in good condition, though often dirty, are those that were imported from the US too. Ebay may be a better source for a machine in better condition. But occasionally, i do stumble on a good one at the thrift stores of Cubao X and Bangkal. I'd love a Hermes 3000 myself but haven't spotted one here yet. oh, i was just about to point Mr. Butch to this post. i met him because of the pens. not only is he brilliant, he's such a nice person too!

  7. Regarding the odd keys, I've had a conversation with my typewriter repair guy who mentioned it was not uncommon back in the day for typewriter shops to swap glass-topped keys for plastic aftermarket ones for customers who found the glass-topped ones to be uncomfortable or if the glass-topped ones were chipped/broken.

    A couple of weeks ago I picked up a machine that had the glass keys covered with snap-on plastic "comfort caps". It seems odd nowadays, but there was a time when glass keys were considered uncomfortable and ugly compared to the newfangled plastic ones.

  8. Great job on the Sterling. And as always - great pictures.

  9. Wow...awesome job on the cleaning! It looks spectacular!

    A penmeet where there were also typewriters in attendance? I would be overwhelmed! Very cool.

  10. ah! love typewriters! too bad i came late and didn't get to see those folded out.

    oh, i can let you try the dip nibs next month :) cheers!


  11. Hi! I'm Lauren, I joined FPN last year (I'm more of a lurker, really) & also lover of all things analog...too bad I wasn't able to join the meet, as I had another engagement. I was going to bring my film cameras. Maybe next time

    Anyway, I was wondering where you have your typewriters cleaned, or do you clean them yourself? My lolo's typewriter (I forgot to look at the specs) is displayed in our living room and I want to restore it to its classic beauty. Perhaps you can give me some tips? Thanks so much!

  12. Just stumbled upon your blog. That Smith is a beauty. Definitely on mu wish list.


  13. Hey, Fantastic pics and typewriter.

    I have just got myself a corona-sterling.
    What did you use to clean it so well?


  14. thanks for the comments guys! as for cleaning, my friends are WD40, Goo Gone, rags, and a few stiff-bristled paint brushes. Oh, and lots of elbow grease too :-D

  15. Those are beautiful keys on the Corona. Very unique!


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