The American Typewriter: 1936 Smith-Corona Standard Portable


While I was browsing for typewriters online, I came across a listing with the title Smith-Corona Standard. There was not much info in the description as to year and condition and it came without a case. I couldn’t tell from the pictures what quality the typewriter was in; they were all blurry and small. My guess was that they were taken from an old cell phone with a cheap camera. Now the interesting part was the price listed; at DKK 275 (ca. $50 / £30) it seemed like an absolute steal if it was in good working order.

What to do, what to do, I thought? Should I go ahead and contact the seller? I mean, I’ve recently just bought a red Olympia Traveller de Luxe typewriter with one sticky/bent key (with an excuse that this was for my six year old niece, well it is!), so do I really need another one? Of course I do! It’s a Corona Standard flattop! An American classic! These typewriters were built to last. The eminent Dr. Richard Polt from the Classic Typewriter Page would surely agree?

Now that the Olympia was going to my niece, I could keep this one for myself, I thought. Oh did I forget to mention that I found a Royal KMM, a dinosaur in weight but in absolute great condition near the dumpster, last year?

And from what I could read online, the Corona Standard line introduced Floating Shift, a superior shift mechanism that lowers the type bar basket instead of the carriage when typing capitals. Amazing.

So I grabbed the chance and contacted the seller for a viewing, not knowing what to expect. An influx of text messages on the phone, cancellations and misconceptions later, the date and time was set. Now only anticipation, expectation and borderline insanity awaited my mind…

And here it is:

The Corona Standard waiting to be cleaned.

The Corona Standard waiting to be cleaned.

All I can say is that I fell in love at first sight. The Smith-Corona Standard Portable Flattop typewriter in glossy black and an English keyboard. It’s in great condition, no rust, though the Corona decals are worn out and it needs some general cleaning and a new ribbon. Not bad for a typewriter nearing 80!

It’s made in the US, and according to the Serial # 1C 72887, which I looked up on the Typewriter Database shows that it’s from 1936. Yes, that’s 1936! Corona Standard (floating shift) was introduced in 1935. The first year, 1935, went up to serial number 34770. In 1936, to 90761, thus my Corona Standard was number 72.887th to be manufactured and that model 72.887 landed in Denmark with an English keyboard. It’s one of the first 73.000 flat tops ever produced.

Corona Standard with the bent typebar key “4” seen on the left slightly elevated

Smith-Corona typewriters are rare in Denmark. And if you do find one they are expensive. The Danes sure know quality, especially when it’s glossy black metal.

Now off to find a typewriter ribbon. 

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About Faisel K

Lost faith, went to law school, then to Japan, became a Buddhist, blah, blah, blah. Read More?
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