03 March 2012

An eBay Surprise: The Broken Skyriter

Smith-Corona Skyriter

It was listed as "far parts" and "as is" and there were stated issues (platen not gripping paper being the main one). It was an unattractive bid to the horde of bidders on eBay (of which you are perhaps a part, so sorry for grouping in with the horde, but NEVER bid against me without my consent). Somebody did bid in the last moments. This person bid five times in minimal increments. I had bid once, early once I realised I wanted to bid, and I bid my actual maximum. The "other person" got close to my maximum, but apparently gave up. Perhaps that person did not understand how eBay proxy bidding works. As a refresher, here is how to get good deals on eBay. Sniping and incremental bidding caused this person undue stress, gained them nothing, and they probably would be willing to pay the few more (literal) dollars to win this. Its mine, and it works, and there is nothing you can do about it now.

I finally found a cheap Smith-Corona Corsair (like the Smith-Corona Zephyr Deluxe). I hope that turns out well. If this one turns out to be cursive as well, I will pull someone's hair out (not my own...that is a silly thing to do).

Skyriters are not that loud and they type very well. This one, after working on it for a bit, types very well now. However, it is missing the felt under the typebar rest, so when they return, they clang. I like the sound. It is not that loud, but it is distinct. I will put some padding there later though so there is no damage or bending due to a change in dimensions.

I sold the Sears Courier, the Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 32 and the Olympia Traveler Deluxe too.

Overall, it is a good typewriter day. It is not quite as good as receiving the Corona 3, but it is financially in my favour and I get a good typewriter surprise. Skyriters are the best ultraportables and hence they are my favourite. I am rational, not prone to being irrationally a fan of something (that is why I know Smith-Coronas are the best portable typewriters). So, finding new homes for my misfit foreigners, getting some money (not a lot, but enough), and getting a spare Skyriter for cheap is second to the Corona 3 merely because I am less giddy.

And I am working on a small guide for sellers to describe a typewriter's condition accurately and determine a fair price...should I include "remember to check the paper release if paper does not feed"? While the platen was quite dirty (as well as the keys on this one...the photo is after cleaning), it is likely the paper was not feeding because the paper release was engaged. It is included, but still, I thought to myself idly "Wouldn't it be funny if..." when I was waiting for it. However, I did think it needed cleaning and minor restoration and I did that immediately after it arrived before checking anything.


  1. Very nice typewriter. I think I saw that one on Ebay and my first thought was the paper release was engaged. I was not the one bidding though. I presently have 4 or 5 more cheap machines to get ready for use as well as a few radio projects. One day I may get a Skywriter. Enjoy yours I hear (as you stated) they are great portable machines.

  2. I've had similar luck at goodwill. it's a great feeling, isn't it?

  3. On eBay, it has a sticker with a number on the cover and the snap on metal case has an image on it partially (I will clean that later).

    I have worked on Skyriter platens before, so I first considered the cleaning. The small platen and the age of the typewriter (especially the green keyed Skyriters) mean that it could be a little hard and dirty. Alcohol and a cotton cloth and some scrubbing solves that. Given the condition and the fact the platen was not visible in the pictures, it could have been physically damaged too.

    The paper probably would not have gripped had the paper release been disengaged.

    USPS tracking is very vague so I knew it could come today possibly, but then again, it could have come sometime next week. I went to sleep and got up and found it had arrived. Before I went to sleep, somebody bought some of the typewriters I had available so I had made some space and gotten a new old Smith-Corona, and I won (after getting up) a Smith-Corona Corsair Deluxe. People have been overbidding on those for some reason, but nobody bid on this one.

    I went to the store to get some more bubble wrap to ship the Letteras and Olympia. Packing three rather compact typewriters in a single box is more work than one would think.