Underwood Mill typewriter. Wide carriage, restored and very rare.

Underwood Mill typewriter. Wide carriage, restored and very rare.



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Vintage from the 1920s


steel, rubber, Iron


This is an Underwood No. 5 antique manual typewriter in working condition. This antique standard typewriter dates to 1926 and is a stunningly beautiful machine.

The Underwood No. 5 standard typewriter is the quintessential antique machine. Its design is timeless and draws eyes wherever it is. These machines were a huge hit for Underwood, and sold well for decades. They are particularly desirable because they have exposed mechanisms, allowing you to see exactly what's going on inside. The No. 5 is one of my favorite typewriters for exactly this reason, and no collection is complete without one.

This particular machine has both an unusually large carriage (18") and rare telegraph keyboard layout, also known as a Mill keyboard. Each of the lettered slugs only has an upper case letter (which you type in the lower-case setting). In the upper-case setting, almost all the lettered-keys have a "~" symbol, known as a tilde, except for a few that have specialty character. These are "Can" for upper-case "G," a capital "M" with a strike through it for the upper-case "1," and "Bu" for upper case "S." (Please see the type sample.)

I'm not sure what these specific characters are for, or what use this machine was intended for when it was specially ordered, but I'm researching it and will update this listing if I find out.

As with all my typewriters, I have cleaned, repaired, adjusted, and lubricated this Underwood and have added a new ribbon. It is in working condition and will be ready to go as soon as you get it home.

Cosmetically, this antique typewriter is in good condition. This Underwood No. 5 typewriter is nearly 100 years and has acquired a distinct patina of age and use. Some of the glossy paint and chrome has faded or flaked away, and the original decals look like they have either faded completely or have been painted over at some some point. Several of the keys have age-related discolorations, and there are areas of wear, use, and some rust in some of the mechanical parts.

But, in my opinion, this hard-earned patina adds to the machine's beauty. This is the kind of age-related character that you can only find on these well-used antique machines, and serve as a kind of fingerprint. No two antique typewriters are identical, and the more distinct their patina, the more unique they are.

Mechanically, this Underwood typewriter is in very good condition. This machine functions with a solid, confident typing action. The platen has hardened and will leave indents and the occasional cutout in the page. The left-hand (though right-side on the paper) margin tab has lost its handle, but you can still move it to adjust the margin. (I'll install a replacement if I can find the right parts machine.

As a Mill typewriter, this machine was designed for transcribing telegraph (Morse code) messages, so it has a significantly different set of characters. As I mentioned above, and as shown in the typing sample, this machine does not have lower-case letters, so when you strike a key you'll get either the upper case letter or, when the shift is activated, either a special character or a tilde. Also, the machine has 9 characters per inch, a size larger than the standard 10 (pica) or 12 (elite) found on the vast majority of machines.

Otherwise, this machine functions well, especially considering its age and prior heavy use.

Please note, there is a significant shipping charge associated with these antique standard typewriters. This is both to cover the cost of shipping, and the cost associated with packaging. It takes careful packaging to ensure these machines get to their destinations safely because of their weight and comparative fragility. These machines are sturdy, but if they're not packaged properly, they can tear themselves apart in transit.

Also, I do ship internationally, so please contact me for a quote if you are outside of the United States and are interested in any of my typewriters.

This Underwood No. 5 would make a prized possession for a writer, collector, or designer. It's unmistakably antique, unquestionable beautiful, and an unforgettable machine to write on. Though I don't recommend these antique standards for people who want to write a lot--a lighter machine that is easier on the fingers is better suited there--this Underwood is ready to produce the work when called upon. As a Mill typewriter, and one with a wide carriage, this machine is on the rare end. Though I've had a couple of Mill machines before, I've never seen one with the special characters that apear on this one.

These antique Underwoods, though common, are becoming harder to find in good working condition. As time goes on, that rarity will only increase. This Underwood is a beautiful machine and will find a beloved place in your home, workplace, or anywhere you wish to put it.
- Mark

Underwood No. 5 Antique Typewriter
Serial Number 122927-18
Manufactured 1926
Black with Nickel-Rimmed Keys
Unusual 18" Carriage
Very Rare Telegraph / Mill Keys
New Ribbon
Reproduction Instruction Manual
Care and Cleaning Guide

Item #453


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Estimated to arrive at your doorstep Oct 23-Nov 3!

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274 shop reviews 5 out of 5 stars

Great shop for gifts.

People bought gifts from this shop and gave them 5-star reviews!


Reviewed by Inactive Aug 16, 2017

5 out of 5 stars

Arrived faster than predicted and my Olympia SM7 no longer dances all over the table top! And so much quieter now, too!

Purchased item:

Laurie Arends Jan 28, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

My typewriter - I named him Don Draper - is happy in his new home. It arrived meticulously packaged, with photocopied pages of the original owners manual and custom maintenance and care, along with a personalized note from Mark and his offer of help at any time! Wonderful shop! (The space bar does stick, but since I have Mark’s info I’ll contact him if unable to fix on our own. Not worried! :-)

Purchased item:

Will Mar 18, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful, sleek machine. Exactly what I was hoping for and more. The feel of the return when you type out a line, hear the 'ding' and slide the carriage back to position one is indescribable. A work of art.

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Jennifer Reigle Oct 12, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

Just received my Olympia SM-9 and it is working beautifully. It arrived early and was meticulously packaged—and it looks even better in person than in the pictures! As a first time typewriter owner, I had about a million questions, and Mark very kindly, patiently, and informatively walked me through all the questions I had. If I’m ever in the market for another typewriter, I know where I’m going first! Hugely recommend!

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