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the art of typewriters

Nostalgia. A wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to some past period or irrecoverable condition, defined according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Typewriters are nostalgic to me.

When I was a little girl, my cousin, Marti, and I would spend the night at our grandparents house and we would play like all little girls do. The only difference is we played office (and bar-but that’s a different story for another time). We would have so much fun pretending that we worked in a hotel, as bartenders and waitresses and office workers. Typical little girl stuff.

My grandparents, lovingly called Me-Me and Papa, had an office full of wondrous things like stamps with ink, paper and pens, sales pads with carbon paper, gigantic staplers, and machines like typewriters, huge adding-machines (not calculators) and things that little girls loved to imagine with. We thought they were our toys and our sweet grandparents let us play away, imagining (and wasting paper) and well…just being little girls.

Underwood Five typewriter
Underwood Five typewriter

We would spend hours upon hours in that office, working, and loving every minute of it. I believe they were always watching Hee-Haw.

Childhood nostalgia.

My Aunt Nancy recently moved and while cleaning out things, came across the typewriter that we always played on. Knowing I love to write, (and Marti doesn’t love old things!), she offered it to me. I was very excited about this. I knew I wanted it. I just had no clue what I would do with it? Nancy told me it would need to be repaired because it was very old but I knew I would actually never use it; I simply wanted it for the nostalgia.

It is, from my research, an Underwood Touch-Master Five Manual Typewriter – No. 5. Made sometime in the 1950’s or possibly before. Whether you type on the machine or put it on display, the Underwood typewriter is truly legendary. My plan, of course was to put it on display.

Before I cleaned it a bit.
Before I cleaned it a bit.

The original Underwood typewriter was invented by German-American Franz Xaver Wagner, who showed it to entrepreneur John Thomas Underwood.

The Underwood No. 5 launched in 1900 and is described as “the first truly modern typewriter“. They sold two million by the early 1920s. When the company, in Hartford, Connecticut, was in its heyday as the world’s largest typewriter manufacturer, the factory was turning out typewriters at the rate of one each minute, according to

This “toy” was once used in my grandfather’s business he owned in downtown Fort Worth and then later, in his house, and is now in my office. Nostalgia.

Not long after I received the Underwood, I read a blog post (from someone you should follow) called “nesting with grace”. Her husband had found a vintage typewriter, spray painted it gold, and he surprised her for her birthday with this beautiful, golden newly-old (old-ly-new?) typewriter. (*Mark–take note on this husbandry thoughtfulness!!)


Soo…I knew I had to do this with my newly attained-attained vintage typewriter! And so I did.

It took me less than an hour, cleaning and spray-painting. I put gloves on, card-board underneath to protect the grass. (it is February and it is already beginning to green up!?) I only applied two coats on the Underwood; although one probably would have been fine.

I used Valspar metallic in Brilliant Gold (#66009).
I used Valspar metallic in Brilliant Gold (#66009).

I don’t consider myself to be “artsy-craftsy” or a “DIY-er” at all.  Every once in a while I will get the bug–and the Underwood definitely had me itching to try this!

I even had a bit of help from Charli and Jemma! (Charli may or may not have a little touch of gold now?)

Look Cha! A vintage typewriter!

I am simply in love with it. I think it turned out perfect. Looks great in my office and gives me inspiration. I certainly never knew as a child that writing would bring me such joy. Now when writing, I know my grandparents are looking down on me and happy that I am doing what I love. (I just hope they aren’t upset with me for painting the Underwood gold!)

gold keys
I left the front scale the original silver.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”1Earnest Hemingway

Today is a good day for a good day!!
Today is a good day for a good day!!

What do you think about it?  Do you love it or hate it? Would you be brave enough to try this? If so, I know Ebay has several for sale.


“Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” – Stephen King

“Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” - Stephen King Click To Tweet


love and blessings~dd

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I am a late-in-life journalist that is God-fearing, husband-loving, with three beautiful grown children. I love my dogs, my family and my friends. I love traveling and am also in the process of discovering Waco, after living 20 minutes away since 1998; it is about time! My goal is to grow and push myself daily.