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Underwood 5

First year of production:
Underwood Typewriter Company , New York , USA
Serial nr:

There is only one reason not to include the Underwood 5 in a typewriter museum and that is lack of rarity. Otherwise, this excellently designed machine deserves a place of honor as the first truly modern typewriter that set the standard for typewriter design for decades to come.

The Underwood was designed by Franz Wagner, who had earlier been involved with other models, such as the Densmore. Production was taken up by John Underwood, son of a typewriter ribbon manufacturer. The first Underwood appeared in 1895. It was not exactly the first 4-bank frontstrike typewriter in the market (that honor goes to the Daugherty), but it was in fact the first totally reliable one.

The Underwood 5, the machine that would dominate the market for three decades, appeared in 1901 and was a tremendous success, which is underlined by the fact the machine presented here was built in 1915, with a serial number in the 800,000s.
Millions more were to follow, making the Underwood 5 one of the most important but least valued typewriters around. Only models in pristine condition, or with added extra's like the tabulator set on the machine presented here, may raise more than 5 or 10 dollars.

Courtesy of: Bothe collection