So far this year I’ve sold more typewriters than I’ve bought. In fact, my first typewriter purchase of 2016 is a German-American portable typewriter …


I guess you could say it’s as German-American as the creator of the Underwood typewriter, Franz X. Wagner …


Before I saw this typewriter listed on Gumtree I’d never heard of a Deutsche Underwood, but I did remember seeing something similar: a Mercedes Prima portable typewriter on the TWDB that belongs to mega-collector Vilhelm Dromberg.


As it turns out, Vilhelm also owns a 1935 Deutsche Underwood.


Both of these variants are featured in a (German language) blog post by George Sommeregger: Underwood (4 Bank) Standard Portable Typewriter.


According to the TWDB, the serial number on mine (112932/1) dates it to 1938. It’s similar to Vilhelm’s, but mine has a black glossy finish and plastic rather than glass keytops …


Unfortunately this typewriter is not in good working condition. Things that need attention:

  • line spacing does not engage ratchet wheel
  • sluggish and ratchety carriage return
  • carriage shift sticks in the up position
  • space bar sticks in the down position
  • sticky typebars
  • flattened/misshapen paper bails and possibly paper feed rollers

It’s almost as if it’s suffered some kind of trauma, and yet the body paint and decals are spotless. It’s a struggle to type anything on it …


Pica typeface – exclamation marks as a result of carriage shift staying in the up position!


It’ll take some work to get this Deutsche Underwood to be as smooth and snappy as “the Brodsky” Optima Elite …


… or for that matter my scruffy crinkle-painted Underwood Junior portable with gorgeous glass key tops and super snappy action…


I was hoping “the Deutsche” would be just as nice to type on as “the Cricklewood”, but alas no …


Hmm … wonder if I could transplant the Cricklewood into the body of the Deutsche? Probably not, given my mechanical aptitude (or lack thereof) plus the fact that there are quite a few points of difference in the body shape. 🙂