.Davis Typewriter Works

.Davis Typewriter Works

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The last Smith-Corona Standard.

The machine you see here just arrived at the Works today. This is an SCM Smith-Corona Secretarial 76. This model name and number might not mean much to most readers, but this will: This is the final Smith-Corona manual standard (office, upright, whatever you want to call it) typewriter model. We're sure of it.

We knew when it appeared on e-Bay that it was late, and a check of the NOMDA serial lists revealed a cutoff of serial numbers at 6200M in 1966 and only references vaguely to any model numbers; by the 1985 date of printing of the NOMDA Blue Book at hand, SCM was long out of the manual office machine business. We knew that the machine was close to the appearance of the last model shown in Beeching, but we also knew that nothing definitive about any models beyond 72 or 75 was printed in any serial reference anywhere.

Smith-Corona dealer Jay Respler helps fill in the details. According to Jay, who has the complete Smith-Corona serial number listing, the final year of Smith-Corona standard, manual typewriter production is 1969 with the serial range of 7023966 - 7035812. The machine we just bought is serial number 76E12-7037845, which made Jay ask if we got the last one ever made! Jay's records indicate then that this machine was in all probability made in 1970 and that it is surely almost the last of its kind. The decor matches none of the 75 models we've seen so far and may be a last gasp at minimal redesign (mostly re-coloring, actually) for the new decade but we're not sure of that yet.

Jay recalls, concerning the end of production of Smith-Corona standard machines, that SCM considered itself as having made standard ELECTRIC machines for much longer after it dropped the manual and large original electric designs (and in fact we can back Jay up on that with advertising) because the company essentially took the mechanism of the electric portable and placed it in a larger body, calling it a 'compact office machine.' This would be the Model 8000, introduced in 1976, if we interpret Jay's observation correctly. Jay adds that Brother was big trouble for Smith-Corona, and eventually the competition led years later to Smith-Corona having to move production of (by then) electronic daisy wheel machines to Mexico.

All of this adds to the yet-not-fully-told story of the wind DOWN of Smith-Corona. So often we focus on the wind-UP and forget that history has a whole life cycle that we historians and researchers need to cover. What you see here is very likely the newest, last Smith-Corona manual standard machine you will ever see and it provides a bit of historical closure to this whole product line. And don't worry - this one needs some work, so you'll learn what's inside of it right here and become somewhat familiar with it.

The next post by Dave will show something he was buying about 20 miles south of his home, while I was over 180 miles away picking up the Secretarial 76 you see here. Stay tuned!

--edit to correct actual serial number, reposted.--


  1. I know that at some point you're going to go inside that fella and give us a look-see. I'm curious how this machine compares mechanically to - say - a Secretarial 88?

  2. Yeah, I'd like to take a closer look too -- and get my mitts on one of these someday!

  3. I just bought one of these at an sale. Wanted to know what it's worth. Thanks

  4. I just came across this blog post today, and was shocked! I picked up one of these last year for $20. If you go to my blog http://typograph.wordpress.com there is a link to my flickr stream where I have pictures posted during my cleaning of the machine.

    I love the styling of these machines - retro 60's cool.

  5. Great story about this old machine. My machine is a Corona Standard serial number 1Cxx666. Spare ribbons are inexpensive. Let's all keep these jewels working often-instead of chaining ourselves to modern computers every minute of every day...

    Thank you!