Saturday, April 28, 2018

Underwood Typewriter Tripod Desk & Case

Sent from my 1936 Underwood Universal

First I had to free all the legs from being painted fast and corroded hinges.

Typewriter in the case will get a new case.

Evidence of the legs being closed while the paint was still tacky, and the corrosion at the joints.

My go-to oil for all my typewriters so I thought I'd give it a try here (I'm one of those who do not like 3-n-1 oil (also from the WD-40 Co. as I understand)

Table with the typewriter mounted.

The spring clasp paper holder is a good place to keep the repro of the manual which really does match the model of this typewriter (Underwood Universal Touchmaster)

The completed desk, chair, and typewriter.  I wanted to see if the lid would be able to stay on the table. I would not type with the lid attached, it puts way too much stress on the hinges.

The chair (between $8 and $10 at Wal-Mart) seems the perfect height when matched to the table.

The typewriter most often seen with this table seems to be the Universal. (or t least they look like Universals) Mine though was made a few decades before the table was even invented.
According to Robert Messenger over at oz.Typewriter this table was patented in 1956. My typewriter was made in 1936, and it fits perfectly into the case.

Next project will be to strip the paint from the legs, and clean the covers on the typewriter, and install a fresh ribbon.  A previous owner, who by the evidence on the case, did not know how to paint.  Good intentions to keep the case/table looking good, but gone about incorrectly. The entire case and table were heavily spray painted in glossy black. The legs were folded while the paint was still soft or tacky.  Therefore I'm guessing the owner did not know how to re-extend the legs and along the way the seller did not know either, so I got it cheap.  It arrived Thursday while I was finishing some work in the yard.  I decided yesterday would be a good time to set it up.

When finally ready I found it to be quite sturdy.  My only complaint is (ever since I first saw one) is that the table part should be on the right as that is the common place to put a copy stand.  Perhaps William John Wade was left-handed.

There is more information in the 2 posts here


  1. I love this ingenious table design. Despite the patent date, I'm sure it was being used by Underwood years before then. I had the chance to play with one that belonged to one of my customers, but don't yet have one in my collection. Seems like the ideal thing if you want to type poems on the sidewalk.

    You have moved to a great area for typospherians. Enjoy the next type-in!

  2. Good luck restoring the tripod case, a shame that the previous owner got so slap-happy with the paint. I bet you'll get it right back into shape (:

  3. That was a bargain indeed Bill and in exactly the condition you prefer.. needing a wee bit of attention ☺

  4. Just bought an Underwood Universal in a tripod case in Phoenix for $25. The legs are bare with some aluminum corrosion (white, powdery stuff) but 100% functional. The typewriter needs cleaning and adjustment; I plan to take it slow and read lots before doing anything. And Wow, it stinks! I'm guessing it hasn't been opened for several decades.

    1. Congratulations on your find. I believe you are in the Bill Wahl (Mesa typewriter Exchange) and the Keyword/Right Reverend Ted Munk area.

    2. Blogger does it again, added text to my HTML code. At least the link works.