In some thirty years as a newspaper editor, I tried to explain to young writers countless times that "unique" is an undeclinable adjective -- something simply can't be more or less one-of-a-kind. And yet I want to say that this 1955 Smith-Corona Silent is more unique than usual. This short clip of the typewriter at work will introduce some of that uniqueness. 1955 Smith-Corona Silent typewriter demo. It was only after recording this video that I learned the identity of this typewriter's font.
Ready for use right out of its original tweed carrying case, this typewriter has been cleaned, adjusted, lubricated and fitted with a fresh ink ribbon, wound onto a pair of increasingly scarce! Every feature of this typewriter now functions as it was intended to in the year of its manufacture -- every key, every linkage, every control. As you've probably guessed, this is not a stock color for the 1955 Silent.I removed all the bodywork for access to the mechanisms inside, and the shell got three coats of Satin Heirloom White. It makes quite a statement when you open up the wood case and see the typewriter gleaming there in its lining of green. But what's most unique (he said, breaking his own rule) about this typewriter is the font, which I've never seen before in all my years of collecting and tinkering with these machines. The face features strong contrasts between thick and thin strokes; the numerals in particular are quite striking. I first tried to research this mystery font online, and came up empty.
It's not listed in the definitive online resource, the 1964 catalogue of NOMDA, the National Office Machine Dealers Association. The pitch of this type is pica, 10 characters to the inch, the larger of the two most common type sizes. I posted a full type set on Facebook's antique typewriters forum, and several collectors weighed in. One guess was Congress Pica, and indeed it is similar, but that's an Olympia font. Another suggested Large Book 15, and this font does resemble it greatly, but isn't large.
Finally a helpful collector dug into a vintage Smith-Corona catalogue and identified this font as Book Type 18, with the special oversized "Billing" numeral set. I'm including her scan from the catalogue in the images above. The confirmation is on the key slugs themselves, which have the number 18 in each mold, the digits flanking what I can only guess is a foundry's mark. The Smith-Corona typing touch is beloved among typewriter collectors and serious users -- it's quick and light, with a patented parallelogram design in the linkages which keeps every key flat through its stroke. The SCM marketing people called this feature comfort touch.The premium Silent, a favorite among collectors and writers today, carries the prefix 5S. For a sense of the cosmetic condition, please enlarge the photos. If you're paying close attention you will see that the right-hand carriage knob, though period-correct, is gray rather than green. I had to dig into my supply of parts machines for this knob, and didn't have one in green.
Most important here, in my view, are the images depicting the impression this typewriter places on the page. This is a typeface you're either going to love or hate -- it's just bursting with character.
Please do be in touch if you have any questions about the condition, use or care of this machine. The item "1955 Smith Corona Silent typewriter withcase, new ribbon a unique machine" is in sale since Tuesday, June 15, 2021. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Pens & Writing Instruments\Typewriters". The seller is "spanghew" and is located in Edgartown, Massachusetts. This item can be shipped to United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Czech republic, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Estonia, Australia, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Slovenia, Japan, China, Sweden, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, South africa, Thailand, Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Bahamas, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, Norway, Saudi arabia, Ukraine, United arab emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Croatia, Malaysia, Antigua and barbuda, Aruba, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Saint kitts and nevis, Saint lucia, Montserrat, Turks and caicos islands, Barbados, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Brunei darussalam, Bolivia, Egypt, French guiana, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Jersey, Jordan, Cambodia, Cayman islands, Liechtenstein, Sri lanka, Luxembourg, Monaco, Macao, Martinique, Maldives, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Reunion, Uruguay, Russian federation.