Wednesday, November 26, 2014

one of the perks of harvesting parts ourselves...... is the double hunt!

Jerry and I love antiquing for Jewelry parts.. in the form of large and heavy mechanicals.

That's the first hunt, just finding the things.

Then the second hunt begins, and for this hunt I'm usually the lone wolf.  The second hunt is trying to figure out age.

I really love telling people that I made this bracelet using pieces from a 1960's adding machine, or that necklace from a vintage clock circa 1920's.

Typewriters are some of the easiest to date because there are some wonderful resources on the web  -- that is if you have the serial number.

If you don't have the serial number, then all bets are off and they can be tricky to pin down.

L. C. Smith between 1915 and 1926.
These 2 typewriters we can't find the serial numbers on, so I spend a couple of hours researching them on the net.  L. C. Smiths are very hard because we can't find serial numbers on most of them, so it's guess work. 

A great clue is the company bought out or merged with Corona in 1924, and they started to brand the typewriters L. C. Smith and Corona in 1926.  So if you have a typewriter and it's L. C. Smith and Bros. and no corona (like this one), then you know it's prior to 1926.  This typewriter is a specific model that started in 1915.

I suspect the typewriter is more 1915-1920, but without the serial number I can't do better than 1915-26.  Still that puts it at least 88 years old or older.

The royals are usually easy to date, because the serial number is usually just under the carriage.  Just slide the carriage all the way to the starting position, and there is the serial number.  Unfortunately this Royal's carriage is frozen and Jerry doesn't have time to rip it apart for me just now.  So I have to guess based on the make and model.

Royal did a major restyle in 1938-39, and went from the more boxy corners to a more rounded body.  So this one is later than that.

The interesting thing about royal is they had square shift keys starting sometime early 1940's... poring over pictures of dated machines  I'm pretty sure this is 1939-1940 based on the rounder styling and still round shift keys.

Whatever info I can find is written on card that are taped to the machines.  That way when Jerry finally rips them apart we can keep track of what they are. 
Royal typewriter, probably 1939 or 1940.


CraftyHope said...

Such great information! I've always wanted to purchase an old typewriter. I've seen many in antique stores but always think I can find a better bargain. Can you give me an estimate of what you usually pay for the ones you find? I understand that some are more rare than others but an average for one you plan on taking apart. . .what would/do you pay?

Kat BM said...

ultimately typewriters are worth what you are willing to pay for them, and what you want it for.

I've paid as little as $5, and as much as $45.00, but then I'm aiming for non working. I feel guilty if they are 2 pretty or works well. I want to recycle/reclaim, not butcher!

I would think you can find them for $25-35 pretty easy... few of them are worth much more than that unless they are something rare or in amazing, usable shape.

best suggestion: flea markets and craiglist. We have gotten several decent ones off craiglist... at least in our area they come up pretty often.

Nicole said...

I just bought a Royal Arrow typewriter and I'm having the hardest time finding the serial number. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!