This is my latest typewriter, and I got it for free. It was advertised on my work website, I didn’t see the notice but one of my work colleagues (who knew I was a typewriter nut) told me about it. The man who was giving it away very kindly gave me a lift to the train station and I brought it home on the train. I was very tempted to sit at a table take it out and pretend to do some work, but didn’t. I was getting enough funny looks already! I don’t know what model it is and am not sure how old it is either. My guess is 1950s at the latest and 1940s at the earliest. Any typewriter geeks out there are welcome to correct me if I’m wrong. I would love to know what model it is, I’ve thoroughly examined it but can’t find a model number anywhere.  All it says is – Underwood Made in England. The next step is to get some ribbons for it and get it working. I think its beautiful and am absolutely delighted with it.

Underwood 150

18 thoughts on “Underwood Typewriter”

  1. Hi! I am a total stranger but I came across this blog post on accident when I was browsing Google Image search for a picture of a typewriter that looked like mine. I think I have the same typewriter but I too can't find a model number or anything for it and since you posted this in 2009, I was hoping maybe you had found the type of ribbon that goes with this typewriter and could point me in the right direction. Thanks! -Z

  2. Hello Z – I was told that the ribbon was easily available but have not been able to track one down yet. I have found this website but because I am not sure of the model number of the typewriter I am not sure if these are the right ribbons.

    A very kind man called Georg replied to a question I posted on his Flickr photostream
    and posted in the Yahoo forums on my behalf. There are 2 links here which would help age the typewriter and perhaps get an idea of the model.

    The closest to my typewriter is the Underwood SX-100
    but I cannot find ribbons for this. I think you can buy a universal ribbon that suits lots of models – which worked great on my Silver-Reed Silverette. Maybe I just need to bite the bullet and take a gamble on one of these.

  3. Dear Anonymous – thank you so much. This is indeed my Typewriter. I really appreciate you taking the time to post this. I wish I knew how you were. All the best, Angela.

  4. Looks like I have the same typewriter,but mine say's made in the USA. I couldn't find a model number either. I wondered how old it was, thanks for the info. I also wonder if it has any value?

  5. Sorry for the long delay in reply to your comment Anonymous. Thanks for taking the time to tell me how to find the serial. I only got around to doing it tonight. It was such a delight to find it after looking everywhere for it. I was quite excited! According to the typewriter database it is somewhere between 1953 and 1955.

    The only thing I am bit puzzled about is – if there is any difference between the American and UK Serial numbers? Mine says 'Made in England'.

    Thanks once again whoever you are 🙂

  6. It looks like you have a 1953-55 Underwood 150 made under license in England (I would say a 1955 model). I believe personally that these were Underwood's very best typewriters. They were tough, rugged, and reliable. I used one all through high school to type my homework in the 1980's. To be sure, you can look online at the typewriter serial number database. The serial number plate is mounted just behind the right hand ribbon well. Don't use the first two numbers ahead of the dash mark (it looks like in your case it would be number 13, since it looks like you have a 13" carriage. I believe you should see a year in the mid-fifties. As far as ribbons are concerned–you are lucky!! All you have to do is find an Epson printer cartridge at any office supply store. Wind it until you see the diagonal splice (it takes awhile), cut it in the middle, wind the ribbon where the spool turns clockwise on the left, and counterclockwise on the right. If you are especially lucky, you can simply pin it on the core spools that came with the typewriter. Otherwise, tie a knot at each end of the ribbon and poke the knot through the slot in the core. Now, all you have to do is to clean the machine, oil it, roll a couple of sheets in the carriage (I always use two because it protects the platen–rubber roller). Now you can have lots of fun bashing away and filling the air with a nice staccato sound of letters being stacked onto papyrus. Have fun!!!

  7. Thanks for your in depth reply Typewriter King. Unfortunately there is a problem with the ribbon mechanism. It does not move around as you type. I have tried several things with it such as changing the direction etc. but it will not work. The backspace key does not work either.

    I have posted some pictures on here. There is a knob missing – its the one you use to change direction of the way the ribbon winds (left to right or vice versa). I am not sure if this is the cause of the problem.

    I don’t fully understand what you mean by using an Epson print cartridge. Which model Epson? I’ve seen suitable ribbon for sale in a few places I would just need to wind it on to my spools. The keys do seem lovely to type on – if only I could get the ribbon mechanism to work.

    Thanks again for your comment – it sounds like you really loved that typewriter and its always lovely to hear from people who share my enthusiasm for these lovely old machines (or “typewriter nuts” as my boyfriend calls us 😉

  8. I sent you two pictures of the ratchet wheel you need, and where exactly it is positioned within your typewriter via e-mail. If your computer didn't get these, I apologize, and I will send again. As to the ribbon, it's an Epson LQ590 to be exact. Any half-inch nylon inked ribbon will do. Your blog convinced me to finally buy a 1954 Underwood #150 from an antique shop where it had been for awhile. Now my two '56 lovelies have spares again. Thank you. I am also nursing along a 1940, 1946, 1952, and 1959 Underwoods, along with other beauties of other brands. I have been restoring typewriters for 34 years, since I was 13 years old. This hobby kept me out of the pool halls and beer joints while I was growing up. I wish you luck on finding the parts you need. Remember, only get one that's the same shape as yours, and it has to have to knob on the right hand side. Let me know if you've found one, or if you need to make arrangements for me to send you the part instead.

  9. Haven't heard from you nor seen anything written past my last post. Did you get your typewriter fixed? I just bought another 150–a '55 model. It's pretty gummed up, but I've run into that before. Shouldn't take more than a bit of cleaning, oiling, and adjusting to put it in shape where I can bash a letter or two out on it. The '54 model I bought the last time was dropped, which totally bent the body down below and in the back on the left side. It's parts only.

  10. Hello Typewriter King – I was sure I had replied to your post but it doesn't appear to be on here. Maybe we had an email exchange? I never received the pictures you sent of the part I needed. I postedin the Yahoo Typewriter group but never managed to get the part. I had another go at fixing it myself but could not get it to work. A friends husband who is an enthusiast will probably be able to repair it for me but it just the difficulty of getting the typewriter to him because I don't have a car at the moment and they live 60 miles away.

    I have since acquired 2 Olivetti's which are very nice. I just need to get round to photographing them. Thanks for posting again and sorry my reply has disappeared.

  11. Just to update you on the progress of the '55 Underwood 150 I bought: It runs like the proverbial Singer sewing machine. It's a very smooth typer and the print is surprisignly straight for a machine so old. Here's a first: I was un-sticking the keys, and when I got to the middle of the keyboard, my right index finger was starting to hurt. I looked at it, and to my surprise, I was wearing a cut into it!! Those levers below the keys are SHARP!!! Long story short, I got it to running. I hope your typewriter enthusiast friend can get yours to running. Maybe he has the parts you need in his inventory. If he doesn't, just let me know. I've already got some pulled for you out of the '54 model (they're in almost new condition). Just post again, and I'll send you my mailing address via e-mail. These parts will fit into a mailer and I could very well get them to you with the same price as it would be to mail a letter. Again, let me know how your machine comes out.

  12. I was sure I had replied to this post. A bit late now 🙂 Not sure if some comments got lost when I imported it from Blogger to WordPress. Are you still there Typewriter King? 🙂

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