Collection: Typewriters – Underwood Universal

Typerwriter: Underwood (Dave's personal)
Typerwriter: Underwood Universal / in case, needing a cleaning (Dave’s personal)

This Underwood Universal was a gift to me when i was about 19 in 1989 living in my VW camper bus. Already well-used, this is/was the typewriter which guided me to love the analog touch and immediacy of a solid metal machine. And its made in Canada like me.

What follows are a few annotation about this machine and the creative works produced with its lovely keys.

Typerwriter: Underwood Universal / detail for ribbon and keys (Dave's personal)
Typerwriter: Underwood Universal / detail for ribbon and keys (Dave’s personal)

While i had always had typewriters around (like me, my Mom and Grandpa were always making newsletters and other projects), they were usually the new electronic models of the day with “ball” type interfaces or the “wheel” kind. Of course, both required electricity which wasn’t an option for me in the van (most of the time anyhow). As such, me and this charming machine spent hours alone as i banged out postcards, missives and manifestos. No evidence handy from that era.

Typerwriter: Underwood Universal / portable storage box (as seen on workbench)
Typerwriter: Underwood Universal / portable storage case (as seen on workbench)

Later the machine was stashed in the van while wandered elsewhere, and indeed suffered from the rages of time and climate despite being stored in its purpose-built/included case.

Typerwriter: Underwood Universal / stashed in portable case (as seen on workbench)
Typerwriter: Underwood Universal / stashed in portable case (as seen on workbench)

When we were reunited years later, i cleaned up and put her back in service, gently. No longer reliable (and/or practical i suppose) for longer pieces, more for design and artistry as evidenced below on 2 iterations of a dossier about a writing project, typed on soft/woven mulberry paper making for interesting impressions.

Letters from Russia: Iteration 1 of dossier (via Underwood typewriter)
Letters from Russia: Iteration 1 of dossier (via Underwood typewriter)
Letters from Russia: Iteration 2 of dossier (via Underwood typewriter)
Letters from Russia: Iteration 2 of dossier (via Underwood typewriter)

Enjoyed seeing the similarities between my machine and the very similar model used by hero Jack Kerouac to type out the infamous On The Road scroll. His device is a few years older of course but within the same lineage.

Typewriter: Kerouac's Underwood (used for On the Road)
Typewriter: Kerouac’s Underwood (used for On the Road) – Note: Not my photo, source unknown

Still in my possession, now back in the crate and in a climate-controlled storage locker, awaiting our next artistic reunion project.

Letters from Russia: 3 Iteration of dossier
Letters from Russia: 3 Iteration of dossier (with Underwood typewriter)