As with my music I prefer to do my writing on outdated pieces of machinery that I am glad are in good condintion because I have no idea how to fix.
I love my Underwood Portable, which I bought at an antique store in Tipp City, Ohio, a few years ago. I also did quite a bit of research on it's history, and I'm going to share it with you because my friends stopped listening to me. But you'll read it, right, the Internet? You care.
Also, I feel obligated to write something on this site every so often, since we pay for it and Pat is too busy having a real job and going to graduate school and having a wife and child or some other nonsense.
The first thing I noticed about my typewriter, after realizing that all the keys actually worked (though the H likes to stick) was that the former owner had personalized it a bit.
Who is this Bill? I thought. Where did Bill purchase the typewriter? And when? Did he get a good deal on long term care?
The answers would almost all soon be found when I looked at the case about five seconds later.
Bill bought a warranty! That was probably smart planning on his part. He went ahead and filled out the information card, too. Purchased from the Elder & Johnson Co in Dayton, Ohio, sometime before 1961 when a certain Mr. Beerman bought controlling interest of the small chain of department stores, merged them with his shoe stores, and created Elder-Beerman.
But how long before 1961 was it bought? Well, the card says it was made by the Underwood Elliott-Fisher Company, which exists from a merger in 1927. That's still a pretty big window.
Fortunately, I and Faulkner and Fitzgerald and Jessica Fletcher are not the only fans of Underwoods. The internet asked me for the serial number of the machine and told me it was manufactured sometime in 1932.
This is sad news, both for my desire to know the history of my typewriter and Bill's presumed desire to create some of that history.
While working in his barn in early January 1935, life-long farmer Bill Eidemiller suffered a stroke and fell. He died from the injuries on the 11th. He was 74.
Bill and his wife only had one child, a daughter who had died in 1920. I can only assume that either his wife or one of his half-siblings inherited the Underwood, but I have no idea where it might have traveled when that generation passed. It didn't make it far though, since he lived about five miles from the antique store and is buried even closer.