How old is my typewriter

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Hello Folks- First things first...... We make ribbons and that is what we do best.  We do not repair or service the machines.   We have six typewriter guides listed in the reviews and guides section, and we want to make it clear that these guides are just informational guides.    Just about all of the information provided in the six guides are can be found for free on the Internet.  We are providing this free information as a courtesy, should you need specific information we will do our best to assist you.  We have found the one of the most passionate typewriter collectors and aficionados out there is Mr Richard Polt.   Without his hard work and dedication the information provided in the guides would not be possible.  eBay policy does not allow for us to provide web sites outside of eBay, so please feel free to email and we will be happy to provide Mr Polt's email address and website.

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If you can find your typewriter's serial number, it may be listed in our Typewriter Database - you can email me.  Failing that, here are some rules of thumb:

Does is look weird?  If your typewriter looks bizarre in some way (strange keyboard, shape, etc.), chances are that it's pre-1920. Let me know what you've got, and I'll try to give you more information.

Have an Underwood? If it says "Wagner Typewriter Co." on the back, it dates from 1895-1900. If it doesn't say "Wagner" but has an open frame (you can easily see the works), it dates from 1900-1930. If it's an open-framed Underwood #5, you can take a look at the table below. (Look for the serial number on the right top of the frame, under the right end of the carriage.) If it is an office-sized typewriter with an enclosed frame (covered in sheet metal), it's after 1930. Underwood portables with three rows of keys date from 1919-1929. Those with four rows of keys are mostly from the thirties and forties.

Dec 1900 /Ser Num 100
Dec 1912 /Ser Num 450000
Dec 1922 /Ser Num 1525000
March 1901 /Ser Num 1000
March 1913 /Ser Num 551000
March 1923 /Ser Num 1650000
Feb 1902 /Ser Num 10000
Feb 1914 /Ser Num 655000
Feb 1924 /Ser Num 1780000

May 1904 /Ser Num 50000
May 1915 /Ser Num 740000
May 1925 /Ser Num 1910000

Jan 1906 /Ser Num 100000
Jan 1916 /Ser Num 830100
Jan 1926 /Ser Num 2070000
April 1907 /Ser Num 150000
April 1917 /Ser Num 940000
April 1927 /Ser Num 2210000
July 1908 /Ser Num 200000
July 1918 /Ser Num 1050000
July 1928 /Ser Num 2330000
May 1909 /Ser Num 247500
May 1919 /Ser Num 1160000
May 1929 /Ser Num 2450000
Jan 1910 /Ser Num 290000
Jan 1920 /Ser Num 1280000
Jan 1930 /Ser Num 3635000

Jan 1911 /Ser Num 360000
Jan 1921 /Ser Num 1430000
Jan 1931 /Ser Num 3825000

The last known serial number for a classic No. 5 is 3,885,000.

Have a Remington portable? We have an extensive list of Remington Portables, please email me with your model and I will provide you with the dates and any other information or pictures available.  If we do not have the model on our list the machine is a postwar typewriter.

Patent dates can tell you that a typewriter was made after a certain date. But sometimes the machine was made quite a few years after the latest patent date. In the case of older (open-frame) Underwoods, the company got so many patents that the last patent date is probably very close to the year of manufacture. (Look on the back of the machine for a big decal listing all the patents.)

If your typewriter has very little plastic, it's probably no later than the mid-1930s. If it's painted in crinkle paint (with tiny wrinkles), it's from the late thirties or the forties.

Postwar typewriters (after World War II) can be recognized by various signs: U.S. patent numbers above 2,400,000; extensive use of plastic; and keys that are not circular, but are rounded-off rectangles.

IBM Selectrics date from 1960 at the earliest. This also goes for other modern electric machines that use a single type element (such as the Selectric "golf ball").

Electrics with a daisy wheel date from the late 1970s at the earliest.

For more information not covered here, please feel ree to email me and we will our best to help you.

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