Underwood 5 progress

Emergency drawband repair!

As soon as I had got the valentine underwood home, I saw that the drawband was so frayed it was about to go. Before I did anything else, (even brewed a cup of tea) I found some strong linen button thread and put some stitches into the strap. However I could see that just poking the needle through would break the strap, so I held it steady with a pair of tweezers. There are no in-progress pictures as it was touch and go. The strap broke after a couple of stitches and I heard the mainspring lose a bit of tension, but the thing held and I finished off with a few more stitches.

No serial number

I looked long and hard for the serial number and consulted a lot of photos on the database to check I was looking in all the right places. Eventually I discovered this ground down plate under a layer of rust and grime… Thanks to Richard Polt for pointing me to the secret back-up serial number hiding place under the nickelled plate on the right of the carriage!

Serial number hiding place

Everything was stiff and rusty, especially the margin stops. I struggled to get them to shift and too impatient to sort it, I wrote a letter with a rather narrow format. Then in the evening we burned the rice for our Valentine’s Day curry while we tried to work out how to shift the stops. Badly. However with all the windows open to let the freezing night air in, and the smoke out, the air cleared enough to get a screwdriver into action and take the ruler off to clean up the stops…

This stop is for the right hand side! Of course it is!
And this is the left margin stop. Slightly different arrangement under there.

You might notice the plastic spools on the machine at this point. I was too excited to try typing to be bothered respooling and found that the lettera 22 spools worked ok for a test run. I’ve missed having a filthy thing. On with the cleaning!

Totally smitten with these stained legends

How to write a love letter




The letter predates the envelope so they were still corresponding and I hope, still in love and having marvelllus weekends together. The last pages of the letter are missing – the person who loved Alice so dearly remains a secret. This letter was rescued from a junk shop today. I’ll keep it safe. 17 endearments on two small pages are too priceless to throw away.

It was a bright cold day in February

My pre-chosen spot turned out to be very quiet, so I headed back across the road to Kings Cross where I had a lot more luck finding willing recipients. After an hour though my backside got numb from the stone bench. I took my Tippa inside for a tipple at The Parcel Yard where I set up my next Valentine station.

The last one I typed before I left was strictly platonic, and the giver asked for it to be very low key.

I had a great time, met some lovely people, and it’s not as scary being out there on the street with your typewriter as you might think. I only had nice comments, and everyone was happy with their cards.


Tomorrow I’ll be here or rather over there a bit, (St. Pancras railway station, London UK 🇬🇧) nearer the pink Emin words and the lovers statue under that big clock from around 16:15 with my Adler Tippa script, typing out messages for free.

Free Valentines messages and poems will also be on offer hot off an Olivetti lettera 32 somewhere on University of Glasgow campus, on Valentines Day. Hopefully I’ll have some photos to share with you from both ends of the country.

I’m limbering up here, trying out creative solutions to the fact that the card I’ve got won’t feed through this or any other of my typers! Must not forget to take my glue stick with me…

I’ll be there for a couple of hours before it’s time to catch my train. If you would like to join me, that would be fun!