The Corona Four, object of my impetuousness, arrived this afternoon. This is a terrible photo, but I just thought I’d share. I’ll post better pictures after the filthy thing is cleaned (though the dirt isn’t obvious from the blurry photo).

I’m still surprised at the terrible condition in which these things are shipped. I don’t expect a restoration job, but most people don’t even bother to wipe the things down. The cases always seem to arrive full of dirt, dust and lint. The typewriters are more often than not covered with grime, ribbon tangled.

Another funny thing is how some of these things are packed. One typewriter I purchased was shipped with a cornucopia of packing materials protecting the case, including pieces of broken foam, popcorn, wadded newspaper, and an old t-shirt. This Corona came with its case completely wrapped in a blanket, of all things. I guess the seller didn’t feel like making the trip to obtain popcorn, and apparently old newsprint was also not readily at hand. I can’t really complain, because the blanket was a nice, thick, fluffy number, and it certainly did the job protecting the case. Plus, after a good washing, we now have a blanket to use outdoors — well, you don’t think I’m going to sleep with it, do you?

CORONA FOUR – The Bug That Bit Me

(I don’t have time to type out my post today, so I’ll have to settle for the cold plastic keys of a computer…)

I bought another typewriter last night. A capricious move on my part, I assure you.

While reading through blogs on the typosphere last night, I came across the typecast featuring a maroon Corona Four, which immediately reminded me how I got into this hobby of vintage typewriters. A little backstory…

Earlier this year, I took, for the first time, the family to the monthly swap-meet at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena (apparently, it’s one of the largest outdoor flea markets on the west coast). As we walked around, we came across a dealer with beautifully restored typewriters, and from what I recall they were all vintage Corona portables. The dealer happened to have two Corona Four models which immediately peaked my interest, as I’m into all things vintage. I struggled in my mind to come up with some rationalization which would convince my wife I really needed one. I could think of nothing. So I took the dealer’s business card, hoping I could later think of some excuse for getting one — an excuse which wouldn’t sound too lame to my wife’s not-at-all-credulous sensibilities. Now for even further digression…

My wife and I have four home-schooled children (three girls and a boy). My girls are big fans of the American Girls books and films. My oldest daughter’s favorite American Girl character is Kit Kittredge, because, like the book character, my daughter wants to be a writer. My daughter’s a VORACIOUS reader and enjoys writing — she’s ten years old and can touch type at 75+ wpm… I’m jealous (I set her up on her own blog here: So I was online and thought to look up a toy typewriter for her (this was several months after the flea market excursion). And then it occurred to me that the Kit Kittredge film character was using a real typewriter which could probably still be found. So the hunt began. When I finally found which model it was (a 1930s Royal Standard Portable), I bought one from ebay. It cleaned up beautifully, and my daughter was naturally thrilled. At the time I purchased my daughter’s Royal, I decided to get myself a typewriter as well, with no good excuse beyond the fact that I wanted one (I was hoping my daughter’s typewriter would distract my wife from focusing on my own acquisition).

At first I looked for a Corona Four, since that was the model that bit me and set me on the course to acquire a vintage typewriter in the first place. But as I looked around, I began to notice all sorts of beautiful designs, and I eventually settled on a 1936 Underwood Noiseless 77, acquiring one in immaculate condition. For some reason, I had given up on ever getting the Corona Four. I did eventually buy a 1930s all-shiny-black Corona Sterling, hoping it could be the token Corona in my little collection. But, beautiful as it was, it just didn’t thrill me, so it was sold along with most every other typewriter I purchase. I just figured I wasn’t meant to own a Corona. Back to last night…

So there I am reading the blog, and I come across the maroon Corona Four. I foolishly decide to peruse ebay (always a dangerous thing to do at 4 in the AM, when one’s brain is oxygen-starved). I see a black model Four in nice condition. I think to myself, it’s a great price, and I can make a profit if/when I sell it, so the risk is minimal. So, like a fish drawn to stink-bait, I bite. When I got into bed shortly after, I couldn’t sleep. My wife noticed that I couldn’t sleep. I lay there wondering when I would tell her that I purchased another typewriter, and this after telling her I was going to allow the wall of boxes (filled with typewriters) in my studio to evaporate. After a few minutes, I finally blurted it out. She took it well (after all, I always manage to make some profit on this hobby, so it’s not as if there will be any loss).

Okay, this is positively, absolutely the last typewriter I’m buying… I’m NOT a collector. I’m just an “enthusiast”.