Friday, September 21, 2012

Universal Champion

Side by side, you can see that the two machines are very similar in shape, size, and appearance...
The biggest issue with Mark's machine is these two chunks of the back that are missing. These are, if you've never had the opportunity to look at one of these machines in person, the points where that piece hinges back so you can adjust your margins.

Looking at this picture, you can see the truth behind this machine: it has yet to be touched or cleaned. I have absolutely no doubt that when Mark gets around to this machine (it's pretty far back in the backlog of machines to take care of as far as I can tell) it will get a new lease on life, maybe even as a great little typer to leave out for guests to play around with.
Here she sits, in the case Mark so kindly gifted me. It's a perfect fit, given that the two machines are the exact same size and shape.
Just a fun little close up of the handle on the case showing off Underwood's attention to (some) details.


  1. I tend to see the beauty in the dirty, the rusty, the malfunctioning. That's why I have so many in that condition! Yours is admittedly easy on the eyes, however. Sorry Mark!

    I never learned how to touch-type, though I do have a PDF manual on the subject, so I may try to teach myself. I believe it would be easiest on either Gargoyle (Ollie 3) or Adelaide (Adler J 3) as she has a really nice, smooth typing action.

    1. I see beauty in both, but I absolutely love restoring beauty to something that I got dirty/rusty/malfunctioning.

      I started touch typing when I was five or so, learning to type properly was my dad's one stipulation to my/my brother's using a computer... I would say that it's a skill everyone should have, in addition to proper legible and (dare I go so far as to say) beautiful handwriting. While you may not touch type, you've definitely got the handwriting down...

  2. I have a 1936-era Underwood Universal with the silver outlines around the keys, it's my second-best looking machine, the Corona 4 takes top place for looks, but the Universal types much better. Really a great machine, actually, and one to consider if you were permitted to own only one.

    Touch-typing: I can type rather fast on a computer keyboard or electric typewriter (upon which I first learned typing, early 1970s high school typing class, full of most pretty girls - but that's another story). I haven't really tried touch-typing on my manuals, except for last weekend when I tried it on my Corona 4 and actually rather liked it. You need a manual with a light touch, one that still makes good imprint and otherwise operates well. Some of my other machines, being in various states of disrepair, require the keys to be rather forcefully hit in order for features like ribbon advance to properly work.

    1. I love this machine, it was my second after all... I would have a lot of difficulty saying which of my machines is the best looking; for the most part, they're all different types/styles! I would love to have a Corona 4, just have yet to find one in my price range...

      Can't hate on classes full of pretty girls :D I'd say those are the best. I found that I was able to touch-type on this Underwood at the hardest touch setting, so I went ahead and set it to the lightest and had a good time typing away :)

  3. That is one beautiful Underwood. I love the older black portables, and the ones of this style with the glossy paint are the nicest of all. I just did a post with my really special Underwood Leader, which has glass keys but a grey body like the Champion I have, which is the same as Mark's.
    Great machines, eh? I have been really liking your posts so far. Keep em coming!

    1. Thank you! I get torn up deciding which I prefer (textured vs smooth paint) but in reflecting on it, that applies to cars as well (black textured rubstrips vs color matched ones) and it really is a case by case deal for me. Thanks for reading! I most definitely will continue posting and will try to do so more regularly than I have thus far

  4. You know.... I don't own an underwood. But if I did, it would be this line that I most would like to have. They've just got a feel about them their looks that is amazing.

    1. As overly common as Underwoods are, I think these are a good machine to have. Of the machines I currently own, this is probably what I would recommend someone look for if they want a machine that looks good, doesn't take too much real estate, and won't cost an arm and a leg.

    2. As common as underwoods are in the USA, they are actually quite rare here in AU. They were never marketed by an agency here, and as such tend to be unusual when you find them.

    3. Completely forgot you're not stateside! Should I ever make it to AU, I'll do my best to bring one over for you :)

  5. Does anyone have any idea when Underwood went from the Underwood Elliot Fisher Company (what's on the back of my Universal) to the Underwood Corporation (what's on the back of Mark's Champion)?

  6. Nice machines. As for touch typing, I can almost do it on a computer keyboard. I might get close with a typewriter, but I switch often enough for different typefaces that I don't spend enough time on one to really get the rhythm. In the last three days, I have typed on a 1932 Royal, a 1937 Triumph Norm 6 and a Torpedo 18.

  7. Your Underwood is much nicer than Mark's, but his has a well-used charm that invites one to type on it. I find at type-ins that the pretty ones get oogled, but the worn-looking machines get typed on more. I always try to bring at least one machine that looks well-used enough that people will feel free to bang on it a little.

    also: (.)(.)

  8. I actually ended up sorta touch typing on my 1906 LC Smith the other day. It was far from error free but the cool thing is I didn't know I was doing it until I looked to see why I was making so many mistakes.

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