A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying

A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying
A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying the latest digital.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Curiosities of an Underwood Golden Touch Typewriter

I came across a 1956 Underwood Golden Touch, Quite Tab Deluxe on my local Craig’s List.  It did not look too swift but the price was $10 US and the person was not very far away.  I found that the typewriter was extremely dirty, but all the keys struck the platen once I freed them up a little bit.  The case that the machine was in was very musty.  So much so that the Bakelite keys had an off white growth on them.  I saw no rust however so for $10 brought it home.

I carefully cleaned the body and keys with Scrubbing Bubbles, rinsed off the machine and immediately blew out everything with compressed air.  This made the who machine look tremendously better.  I was not careful enough with the Scrubbing bubbles however because although it did not affect the body paint, it did remove the majority of the painted black and red dots beside the ribbon selector.  Will have to touch that up later.  I then put G96 cleaner / lubricant on the moving parts and any other points that looked like would need protection from future rust.

After letting the Underwood sit overnight, I carefully removed any excess G96 that was visible and worked all the keys.  They freed up nicely.  I applied some wax to the body and put on a new ribbon, then sat down to type my first words with the machine.  All seemed well and the keys were easily pushed.

Looking at the page however I noticed that the more I typed, the lower the Capital letters printed on the sheet.  Eventually all that could be seen of any capital letter struck was the very top of the character.  I also noticed that the turquoise paint on the typewriter was gone in several areas on the body.  It did not look like wear however.  I needed to pursue these two issues more thoroughly.

After some interaction on the web (http://typewriter.boardhost.com/index.php), I was pointed in the direction of the segment adjusting screw.  This was validated by taking a long, thin screw driver and turning the adjustment screw.  The more turns in, made to the screw, the higher the capital letters printed on the page.  The screw is made immobile by a locknut.  The problem is that I cannot get into this small area with any wrench, nut driver, or needle nose pliers that I possessed.   The result is that after about two lines of typing, the capital letters begin to slowly drop again.

I will try to find a tool that will fit into this small hole and be able to tighten the lock nut.  If that does not work, I may have to try and shape some sort of device to do the trick.

I am confused about the paint.  It is down to what I assume is grey primer in many places but not where you would think such wear would occur.  The Turquoise finish looks professional, but is almost like the paint job was put on very poorly and several spots were just missed.  Not sure what has caused this.  Need to try and find answers to this and the segment nut question?

  • Does anyone know of a specifically designed tool for this adjustment?
  • If not, has anyone modified a tool for this purpose?
  • Did Underwood Golden Touch typewriters come in Turquoise?
 If anyone has answers to these questions please feel free to comment.  More to come...................

Lock Nut: A screw and nut combination where the nut is threaded onto the screw.  The screw is then screwed into the threaded hole.  When the screw is at the correct depth, the nut is tightened and this prevent the screw from backing out because of stress or vibration.
Typewriter Segment: Portion of the typewriter where the keys that move up and down when the shift keys are pushed allowing for capital letters to strike the platen on basket shift typewriters.
Platen: Round rubber covered portion of a typewriter that the page travels around and that the individual keys strike to produce imprints or ribbon ink on the page in the shape of the letter struck.


  1. The fading of the paint is an Underwood Golden Touch thing. I've seen 3 in person and every one had the grey-faded paint spots. It typically happens in the areas on yours, though it is a more extreme example than the others I've seen. That said, I really am fond of these Underwoods.

  2. Oh, also, turquoise was a standard colour. I also know of red, yellow, light grey, and blue. The red, yellow, and blue have a black front panel instead of gold (and no little gold border around the keyboard either).

  3. Thanks! I thought when looking this machine over carefully, that this was factory paint... I have never seen a commercial paint job fade like this before? Odd.
    Do yo have any ideas on a wrench to tighten the segment lock nut?

  4. I like how you always do definitions in the end. Typospherian blog posts are not only for our own enjoyment, but also to learn something to someone who coincidentally passes by.

    Good luck finding the right tool for the lock nut!

  5. Thanks! Yes, I am always frustrated when stumbling upon or attempting to learn a new subject, that everyone is always helpful to answer your technical questions,but seem to forget that you may not know the basic terminology.

  6. I have the same machine but in light grey. Did you ever find the tool to adjust the capital height? My capitals are slightly higher than the other letters.

  7. I ended up shaping a pair of forceps. It worked well enough that I could type about a page or so before loosening up. I believe that the correct size thin wrench could be heated an bent to a shape that would work. Just have not pursued that because I do not use this machine that often....

  8. have you tried Lock tight on the nut.
    I would loosen the nut then with a long match stick or something to get in there with and put just a drop of light tight on the underside of the nut before tightening it up. that way it shouldn't go anywhere...
    Just a thought, hope it works