Wednesday, July 29, 2009


My heart's answer, as any reader could easily guess, is "why pick just one?" but on an e-mail reflector to which I subscribe, a member was asking after the best, most basic and most portable typewriter.

If size is an issue and simplicity the key, the three-row Underwood that graces this blog's heading would be my choice. It's built like a tank, is remarkably free of extras and has the smallest footprint of any practical typewriter.

If weight is more an issue than size, one of Remington's more basic portables from the 1930s and '40s would be my desert-island choice.

Past pen or pencil and paper, what would you take? Typewriter through laptop through whatever....


  1. I used a Remington portable Quiet Riter through high school and my first year in college. It weighed a ton and came with a heavy brown carrier. Years later when I was in the AF, the office typewriter was another manual Remington older than I was, or so it appeared.

    I don't remember, now, what ever happened to the Quiet Riter. I replaced it during college with an electric SCM portable because some Profs didn't like the uneven type of a manual machine.

  2. Don't know if it's true or not but the story was floating around for years about the astronomical cost of developing the first pen that would write upside down (for the astronauts) Story says, when the Russian space agency was informed of the development they replied with "we have writing instrument that writes upside down in space, and it's cheap, it's called pencil".

  3. I used to type my papers for high school on a typewriter just like the one you have on your blog header. I'm not sure if it was the same model.

    I still like the old manual typewriters. I never did care for the electric typewriter.

    Underwood made a pretty good M1 Carbine by the way. I have a couple of them. Both are still good shooting guns.

    I wish I still had an old, manual Underwood typewriter. Those were the good old days heh?


  4. Hello.

    I just found your blog. I prefer an Olympia SM-3 DeLuxe. I've tried quite a few portables over the past couple of years and I always come back to the SM-3. I don't travel with it often, so I might pick up an Olivetti Lettera 22 or the Underwood you mentioned because I'm sure they are lighter. However, for my daily writing at home, the SM-3 is my all-time favorite.