Imperial ‘Good Companion’ Model T Portable Typewriter

by Angela

This is my latest typewriter, bought at the British Heart Foundation Furniture and Electrical Store (!) Yes its a bit of an odd place to find a typewriter. I wasn’t so sure about it first but then I started to think about it and went back to the shop later that day to buy it. It was £50 which is about the going rate for one (according to e-bay). The Good Companion was made from 1932 to 1961. I have no idea how old this one is but I believe typewriters with circular keys are older.

When I went back to the shop to buy it the lady there said she would be really sad to see it go, she really liked it and thought it was very cute. She also told me that it had been there a few weeks and this man came in a few times and tested it, he really wanted to buy it but his wife wouldn’t let him. I told her if the man came in again to tell him it had gone to a good home, where it would be used and loved. It would not be an ornament on a shelf. I felt a bit sorry for the man, apparently his wife had said there wasn’t enough room – she should see my flat!

The instruction book is really lovely and there are very detailed instructions on how to change the ribbon and maintain your typewriter. It does work, like the Underwood I just need to get a ribbon for it and maybe give it some oil – I’m sure the instruction manual will have all the details.

Close up of the crest on the typewriter it says “to the late King George” The style of the telephone above in the manual may also help date the typewriter.

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35 comments

Paper Chipmunk 20th July 2010 - 3:22 pm

How neat! It's so nice to know it's going to someone who won't consider it a retro shelf ornament.

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ronnie 20th July 2010 - 3:22 pm

I love it! especially the little crest on the top of the case – a classic!

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Angela 20th July 2010 - 8:34 pm

After your comment about the crest I've added a picture of it to the post Ronnie. Thanks for pointing it out, I didn't realise it said "to the late King George" on there.

Thanks Paper Chipmunk. I feel the same way about cast iron nipping presses. I thought I was going to get my hands on one once but then the person who was going to sell it to me said his father was going to keep it and paint it up to use as an 'unusual' garden ornament! Eeeeeeeek!!!

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Paper Chipmunk 21st July 2010 - 11:55 am

I got a visceral wave of sickness at the thought of that cast iron nipping press garden ornament. AGH! I also know of one being used as a doorstop. I thought that was bad enough.

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Angela 25th July 2010 - 8:06 pm

He he Chipmunk. Yes I think nausea is quite an appropriate reaction. Worse than the humiliation of being used as a doorstop, it would also have to endure the bad weather, become horribly rusted and possibly overgrown with weeds.

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aileen 22nd August 2010 - 6:57 pm

mine is waiting for me to locate an instruction book and learn how to look after it.I love it

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Craig 17th September 2010 - 12:04 pm

Hi angela

nice typewriter, i was just bidding on the same model, but when too high for me, though not as high as John's old one.

Wonder if you've seen this?

http://www.bonhams.com/cgi-bin/public.sh/pubweb/publicSite.r?sContinent=EUR&screen=lotdetailsNoFlash&iSaleItemNo=4017172&iSaleNo=16808&iSaleSectionNo=1

Craig

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Angela 17th September 2010 - 3:28 pm

Craig – when I was looking for information on the Good Companion I read a link that said John Lennon had one. Didn't realise that it went for that much though! How high did the bidding go for the one you were interested in?

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Graeme 15th July 2011 - 4:59 pm

That one looks very similar to one we bought recently and I believe the repair guy (it had a crooked hammer and some sticky keys, but nothing serious) told us that it was from 1935. Even the case is similar, although yours seems to have a new clasp.

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Angela 15th July 2011 - 5:17 pm

Thanks Graeme. It good to get an idea about the age of this typewriter. Although the clasp is bright and shiny on closer inspection it doesn't actually look new. I just think this typewriter was very well looked after.

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Eddie 21st August 2011 - 11:33 am

Angela, thank you for scanning the manual, I've never had one for my GC.

If you're interested in the age of your machine, have you seen this place yet?

http://www.tw-db.com/indexen.htm

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Angela 21st August 2011 - 11:49 am

Thanks very much Eddie I have seen this page before but haven't checked it out fully yet. I think my main problem is actually finding the serial number on the typewriter (as with the Underwood). I eventually found a code on top of the typewriter to the left hand side of the spool and had to take out the spool to see it all. It indicates it at 1933 which is close to what Grame said above.

I am glad you now have a manual too 🙂

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Eddie 21st August 2011 - 1:48 pm

It sounds like you've found the serial no., but yours must be later than 1933 – George V didn't die until 1936. From what I gather, that style of machine was introduced during the war. If the manual is original, my guess would be 1940s. (The telephone in the manual is no help though, that style was made for 30 years!)

Mine dates from 1953.

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Angela 21st August 2011 - 2:04 pm

Eddie I believe you are right. I was looking at the No.1's on the link you sent me (I can't link directly to the page it just goes to the home page). My model number starts 2HF – which comes under the No.2's. Which actually makes it 1951. Thanks so much for your help, it is very much appreciated.

The only thing that made me think it was an earlier typewriter was the rounded keys. I would have thought a 1950's typewriter would have more modern looking keys.

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Anonymous 13th August 2013 - 10:00 pm

I also have the exact same model, I collect antiques even though I'm only 20! I buy things that are unusual to display in my home. Very jealous you have an instruction manual though! However, I only paid £10 at a carboot sale 🙂

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Angela 13th August 2013 - 10:02 pm

Well done for getting it for £20. You are wise beyond your years – happy collecting!

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Anonymous 14th June 2014 - 12:06 pm

My typewriter has a serial 2 GD 464. I can't find it on the database anywhere. Any help?

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Angela 14th June 2014 - 12:21 pm

Looks like the Typewriter database has moved and the link above does not work. On this page:
http://typewriterdatabase.com/imperial.170.typewriter-serial-number-database

It shows all the Imperial Good Companion's. I cannot find a GD Code, but if you look at the No.2 Section on this page there are codes as below.
2G C000 1948
2G L000 1949

Maybe the 2 GD comes somewhere in the middle of these codes which would make it 1948?

Hope this is of some help.

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Anonymous 25th November 2014 - 3:04 pm

Hi, ive recently just brought a typewriter just like this and im unsure about where to find the ribbons for it. Would you be able to help with where you supplied yours from? Thanks.

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Angela 26th November 2014 - 5:12 pm

Hello Anonymous :- )

Here are the links I found for Old Typewriter Ribbons

http://www.wardirect.com/cat247_1.htm

and the link below specifically refers to the Imperial Good Companion Model

http://www.wardirect.com/item1563.htm

I haven't bought from this supplier yet because to my surprise the ribbon that is on there seems to be working OK now (just had to wind it on a bit).

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Anonymous 4th December 2014 - 7:09 am

thanks!

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Angela 6th December 2014 - 11:04 am

You are welcome Anonymous. Let me know how you get on with the ribbons.

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Anonymous 21st May 2016 - 9:59 am

Hi, Does anyone know how much to repair a broken mainspring in a Imperial Good Companion 7 (1964) Its in perfect condition bar this problem.(I'm in South Australia)Cheers Andy

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Angela 21st May 2016 - 9:10 pm

Sorry I don't know much about repairs but here are some links that may help. You could post in the Yahoo Typewriter Group. The 2nd link has lots of photos of a Good Companion and mentions a problem with the mainspring.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TYPEWRITERS/

http://oztypewriter.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/imperial-good-companion-model-7.html

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Pushyb 9th June 2018 - 11:22 am

Hi I have a Good companion model t but am struggling to find its year

The serial number is
2II 157. Can anyone help

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Angela C 9th June 2018 - 7:36 pm

Hello 😀 Have you checked on the Typewriter Database as discussed above?

http://typewriterdatabase.com

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Pushyb 9th June 2018 - 8:23 pm

I did but couldn’t make any sense of it

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Angela C 9th June 2018 - 9:55 pm

It’s been a long time since I looked. I found my serial number on there or at least an indication of the year of production based on the first few characters. Where did you find the number on the typewriter? Is it two one one at the beginning? It looks like number two and then 2 uppercase i’s

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Pushyb 10th June 2018 - 4:50 am

Under the left hand side spool

Yes it’s 2 then upper case ii 157

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Angela C 10th June 2018 - 1:06 pm

Hello again 🙂 I’ve just realised something after a lot of digging round. The old website that I found my serial number on is gone – if you read the About on here : http://typewriterdatabase.com/about_twdb.php It explains:
The old website was: http://www.tw-db.com/indexen.htm
I had a look at Web Archive and you can find it – https://web.archive.org/web/20110316025643/http://www.tw-db.com/indexen.htm

Unfortunately I think you would not to have the exact URL of the Imperial page to get the serial number. Sorry about the confusion. I didn’t realise until I read all the comments that it was http://www.tw.-db.com where I found my serial number.

The guy who runs the current website is looking for people to submit photos and serial numbers. It looks like no one has submitted Imperial Good Companion 2. From the list on this page: http://typewriterdatabase.com/imperial.76.typewriter-serial-number-database
It sound like yours is a Good Companion 2. The nearest serial number I can find is under the Model 2 section:
No. 2
Codes 2A 1938 Tabulator Model
Codes 2B to 2I269 1939

Pushyb 10th June 2018 - 4:46 pm

Thank you

I’d be happy to send over photos to twdb but can’t find a contact do you know if there is oNe

Angela C 10th June 2018 - 1:10 pm

A bit more digging around and Google searches too me here:

http://archive.is/www.tw-db.com

I was able to find the URL for the Brandnames page:

http://www.tw-db.com/brandnames.htm

and then searched for this on Web Archive – which takes you here –
https://web.archive.org/web/20020601144954/http://www.tw-db.com/brandnames.htm

You can click on the link for Imperial
https://web.archive.org/web/20021109020058/http://www.tw-db.com:80/data/imperial.htm

Unfortunately I can’t get any further from the Imperial page. I am wondering if yours is a 1939? It says:
Codes 2B to 2I269 1939

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Angela C 10th June 2018 - 5:17 pm

You need to go to About Page as I posted in a previous comment:
http://typewriterdatabase.com/about_twdb.php
Go to the link that says “Post on my blog”.
You need to be looking at the full version of the website – you can’t see all the links on TWDB on the mobile version of the site. Good luck 😀

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Matt C 19th July 2019 - 6:18 pm

Hi, I’ve just bought an Imperial The Good Companion Model T with serial number 2JE 359. I checked the typewriter database and couldn’t find the serial number anywhere. Any suggestions as to finding a date for this model?

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Angela C 19th July 2019 - 6:59 pm

Hello 😀 Have you tried following the links from the Web Archive as described above? I found part of my Serial Number there. https://web.archive.org/web/20110316025643/http://www.tw-db.com/indexen.htm Go through the brand name link. It’s a bit flakey (Safari on an iPad) The page will pop up and disappear, but if you press back in your browser it will reappear. The nearest I’ve found to your number is 2J70 from 1940 and it’s listed as a Number 2.

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