Monday, August 3, 2015

SSSSS... So Shiny is the Gold Smith Corona 5S Silent

Most of the typewriter afflicted are aware of the amazing chrome and gold plated creations offered by Kasbah Mod (now Trillionaire Vintage). One of their best tricks was turning the homely, crinkle finished Smith Coronas into works of art. The world is a random place, and every once in a while a vintage plated machine appears in the netherworld of digital commerce. Thus fell a 5S - one of the best machines ever made - into my hands by way of an ebay seller who posted pretty poor photos.

Thanks to Ted Munk's relentless research, we know this machine was made in 1951. When it was plated is anyone's guess, but it is consistent through the machine and includes screws. The sound deadening material is applied perfectly as is the 'Silent' decal on tab adjustment cover.

The Typewriter Database is pretty much awesome. Smith Corona Serial Numbers on the Typewriter Database 
Sadly, the database is prone to Gmail spam and I live wholeheartedly in Google land. Even the photos in the post were uploaded first to the new Google Photos platform.

I didn't include the case, just imagine old-school wood with factory black covering. The best part was that the machine and case escaped the must and rust of poor storage for all these years. I did a middling tarnish removal followed with an application of a tried and true Teflon spiked automotive wax. It worked well on my gold plated Royal portable.

As seen above, the ribbon cover has some kind of a clear coat. Given the thin plating, I am not going to attempt removal. The small piece at the top of the keyboard was covered in dried gunk that cleaned easily with soapy water. The rest of the machine had varying degrees of wax and/or tarnish. Perfect it is not, but look so good I should at age 64. The only significant pitting is on the high touch points behind the paper table.

Unlike the Royal, major wear points are still in factory chrome. Sixty years of skin oil were not good for the Royal.

I still need to create a type sample. However, Spawn the Younger and my Spousal Unit often leave the house just after 6:00 AM. They do not abide by late night typewriter clatter. We are still adjusting to school year schedules.

My regrets to all for not posting to this blog more often. My few free hours tend to be absorbed by everything photographic. We have three cars constantly in motion (and an airplane now and then) to support the schedules of two working parents, a Senior in college search and application mode, a Sophomore in marching band, and various other things including orchestra, theater, and my sustainable building related travel.

Over the past five months, we had extended visits at three colleges and have several more in the wings between now and the end of the year. Come January and February, we have scholar days and weekend events to look forward to. Anyway, thanks for reading this far and not kicking me out of the Typosphere during the long, dry spells  :)


  1. Whoa. So this is not a Kasbah job, but an old plating job? Very cool.

    In my collection is a chrome-plated Galaxie which was given to its former owner by Bill Blass.

  2. It's a Kasbah all right - I think he's the only one doing it, plus he always plates the plastic "Smith-Corona" ribbon cover logo insert, not sure why.

    BTW: you have an active and upgraded account already at TWDB, from before we disallowed gmail addresses: it's "vintagetechobsessions". (:

    1. Nah, don't think so unless they've been doing mods for decades. Any idea how long they've been in this business?

      The wear and gunk accumulations are not consistent with a decade of use. The lower corners where the palms land are thin. The plate under the number keys had lube over spray that had dried on consistent with what I have seen in machines that haven't been cleaned since going into storage in the '60s or '70s. There was a ton of lint and fiber buildup inside the machine and the ribbon spools are original steel. The case has one semi-broken hinge that looks like it has been that way for a long time. The ribbon cover clear coat is really thick and sloppy with some bubbles.

      So many mysteries in typewriter world. I suppose someone could have purchased a Kasbah machine and loved it to death fast, but it's hard to say. Either way, I got a pretty good deal for a really sexy machine :)

      Thanks for verifying the login information. I tried a dozen or so login, email, and password combinations last night before throwing in the towel. I'll give it a try and get a couple machines posted.

    2. Hmmn, I think he's been doing these for at least 3 years, possibly more. really gickky, eh? I suppose a machine could get that dirty in just a few years, but yeah - chances are it wouldn't. Mysterious! :D

    3. Mysteries are what keep things interesting. If anything, I need to start thinning the herd as kids approach college age and we can think about other locales :)

  3. I've stopped actively collecting, but that doesn't stop me from appreciating the thrill of this machine acquisition! Pretty, pretty.

    1. Mine has slowed down a lot. After acquisition of the rare cursive examples, it takes something pretty exotic to catch my attention. I've pretty well given up on Fraktur script given extreme rarity and going price.

  4. Very nice machine. Perhaps taken from the desk of the late Auric Goldfinger?


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