Monday, June 13, 2016

And on the 13th day of June, heavenly light bathed my workstation

A ghostly figure drifted down from the sky, basking in rays of heavenly light. It was the spirit of Christopher Latham Sholes, and as the representative of all typewriter souls, he lifted a solemn finger and pointed to Craigslist.

Obeying the kind spirit, I glanced over at the newly created ad, and heard the choir of angels sing. Understanding my purpose, I made the phonecall, dove into my car, and was where I needed to be; less than 2 miles from my humble home, and within an hour had returned with the prize.

Thanking Mr. Sholes as he drifted away, I sat in disbelief at what I had before me.

The Fritz - Eldridge Expert Typewriting Instruction Book! Oh wait no, behind that.

A metal case with paint loss and broken leather handles! Oh wait, no, under that.



Oh, and the Daugherty Visible Typewriter. I guess. If that's your thing. Ribbon's worth like, 999X more.

In reality, though I ended up owning 2 Fox Sterlings of which they only  made 1,000, and a few other slightly rare machines, I actually considered a Daugherty/Pittsburg out of my abilities to acquire. And had you told me that I would end up finding one only a couple miles from home, and for a very affordable price, I would have called you insane. But here we have a Daugherty, found in the wilds of Northern Idaho.

I don't know truly all that much about these puppies, but I do know that they were one of the first visible machines, produced in the 1890's, and had interchangable typebaskets. Hell of a feature, that.

Talking to the owner, I found that it had been purchased brand new by her great-great-grandfather way back when, who happened to be a furniture builder and salesman combo. I suppose this machine would have thus been used for business correspondence or the like, which makes sense.

As is true of almost every machine found up here, there is pretty much no rust. Huzah for lack of year-round humidity.

Its actually still working fine, though it needs a good cleaning and oiling to get into proper shape. Even then, I hear these things can get a bit wonky with their type alignment.

The National 5 which I just repaired only had the spot of "simplest machine" for a few weeks. This Daugherty takes the proverbial cake in its simplicity.

The carriage came off after only taking the carriage string off. Whats with old papers being around the platen?

Keyboard came out after taking out just 2 screws.

Sorry, Fox Portable No. 2 which I promised to work on this week. You're being postponed a few days.


  1. Wow! I enjoyed the post and pix. Amazing find, congrats.

    1. I hope you enjoyed the terribly done comedy at the onset of the post. I spent 3 hard minutes slaving over it

  2. Congratulations! Wonderfully weird and old, and it types out of the box. Perhaps you will share your thoughts on build quality.

    1. When I first started collecting, I was more interested in the normal typewriter looking typewriters, thinking the weird looking ones were just odd. As I delve deeper into the insanity that is typewriter collecting, I've come to highly appreciate the weird machines. The build quality of this guy is quite good, for being from the 1890s. They used nickel plating wherever they could, and I could see no corners having been truly cut. It has a solid feel to it.

  3. What an amazing find. Amazing writing machine too! Time-capsule in that case. Only patina.
    With provenance as well. Hard to imagine, selling such an item... otoh it'll be back in prime writing shape soon and for certain :)

    1. Though I never plan to sell it, the owner had good reason to. She wasnt a collector, and the past three generations in her family had accumulated a tonne of stuff that they then passed down. As she was retired and planned to downsize and move south, she said it was time to get rid of it.