Treasures in a thrift store

Today I found an old typewriter at a thrift store. Let me back up.  My DAUGHTER found an old typewriter at a thrift store today.

I have been wanting to find a manual typewriter for some time.  Not specifically hunting one down, but prepared to pick one up if I stumble upon one.  Today, we decided to pop into the thrift store, mostly to get out of the house, but I’m also looking for some dining room chairs to sit in my garage waiting for me to paint them refinish.  The chair hunt was a bust, but there was an amazing Zenith stereo console that I would have brought home with me in a second if I could justify another piece sitting in the garage while I work up the nerve to tackle something new (painting/repurposing).

Then we came across the typewriter sitting on a desk.  It was in a hard, black case.  And the case would not open!!  My daughter and I worked at it, had my husband come over and try, found a butter knife for leverage, worked at it some more, all to no avail.  At this point, all I knew was that it was a Smith-Corona (or at least the case was).  My husband was not an advocate of buying it without being able to open the case.  It could have missing keys, etc.  I really wanted it and figured I could get the case open with some prying.  It would be like a mystery bag and the price point of $7 was worth the risk to me.

When we got home, I was able to pry the case open.  Inside was a Smith-Corona Galaxie Deluxe.


It had all its keys.  It had the ribbon.  It had a tag and owner’s guarantee card.  It was beautifully vintage….retro….antique…. take your pick .

Apparently there are “proper” ways to use these words with antique typically being over 100 years old.  In this case, that wouldn’t be an applicable term.

However the simple definitions in the Merriam-Webster dictionary are:

Antique: belonging to an earlier period, style, or fashion : old and often valuable.

Retro: looking like or relating to styles or fashions from the past.

Vintage: a period in which something was made or was begun.

I have a love for items from my past that are no longer in standard use.  Typewriters and rotary phones among things I’d love to own for posterity.  I’m not an expert on these blasts from the past. I do know that this typewriter is older than me.  The typewriter was purchased in January 1970, 7 3/4 years before I was born!

I don’t think my daughter completely understood the newness of modern technology.  When I was a sophomore in high school, half of my typing class was on the typewriter and half on a computer.  This was in 1991-92.    I had a car phone when I turned 18.  They advocated against a cellular phone for me because the range was about 1/2 mile instead of a mile and 1/2 and I lived in the country.  Granted, I was not ahead of the curve, but my first e-mail address was when my husband and I met in 1998 (I still have it, by the way).  And I’m not even 40 yet, people! (for my younger readers, I understand that I’m ancient.  Some of you will realize the immense communication gains in a short period of time.)

My daughter was so excited to see if it worked.  I was sure the ribbon would be completely dried out.  And while it does need replaced, it did work!

She watched her first horror film last week, so if you are a fan of horror you’ll understand her first typing attempt.  I have two sets of people ( Jami and then my three closest friends when I graduated high school) with whom each of my experiences with this film has left longstanding memories.

It did not occur to me until afterward that this recent watching of The Shining was the cause for her excitement over stumbling upon a typewriter. I was just enjoying our shared joy over the thrill of finding this treasure.

Every day….making memories….creating our story.




36 thoughts on “Treasures in a thrift store

  1. What a beautiful find! Such an interesting post. The Shining – I have some interesting (frightening) memories of that movie too. Haha. Such an iconic movie moment! Enjoy your typewriter. Love the photos 🙂

    1. Thanks. I’d love to come across an even older one, but I was excited to find a manual one at all. 🙂 It was funny that she was able to piece the iconic movie moments to how they had been used in a Halloween Disney show that she had watched some years ago! 🙂

  2. Neat find! I learned to type my freshman year in high school on an old black standard typewriter with a carriage return! When I graduated and started working we had an electric typewriter in the office. By 1979 I was learning how to use a computer in the office. Time sure has flown by since then making the typewriter electric or manual a relic. I’d love to have the one I had as a teenager today though.

    I too love rotary phones. I still have my trimline one. Not in use, but stored…just in case. 🙂

    1. It’s interesting how fast so many things have become the new normal and others “what is that?” I remember the first time my daughter came across a roll of film in my drawer and had no clue what it was.
      Now my high schoolers are assigned laptops for all their schoolwork and it’s slowly making its way to the middle school as they increase their amount of laptops available.

  3. I still have the Hermes 2000 manual I bought my first year of college, 1970. A lovely sea green. Yay for your Galaxie! A treasure for sure.

  4. Awesome find! I love typewriters and have a few myself. Loved this post 🙂 I was just talking to someone about ten years younger than myself and the age gap is noticeable. I too remember a time before computers ruled the world!

    1. Thank you! It was an exciting day. My daughter didn’t realize that the use of the typewriter in the movie wasn’t just to create an eerie scene. Sometimes I forget my kids may have never seen items that were normal in my youth 🙂

  5. I suddenly feel so very old!

    I had a Smith-Corona in university in the 1970s. I hammered out all my papers on that baby, and finally got rid of it in the 90s when we bought our first of many computers.

    It feels like it was a million years ago. Thanks for the trip down memory lane 🙂

    1. It’s crazy how fast it all changed. My daughter was hunting for the backspace button on the typewriter! I was given my first borderline obsolete computer in the late 90’s, but I was so excited to use it to print my college work. 🙂

  6. What an absolutely fabulous typewriter! I love thrift stores. I’m always on the lookout for “stuff.” When I took typing in high school (okay, I’ll date myself here) back in 66-67, they were just getting in the “new” electric typewriters. We still had manuals in the classroom but we were lucky enough to all be able to learn on the electrics. My dad had an old manual and I learned to type my name before I learned to write! HA!

    1. It was an exciting find! We had an old manual when I was a kid that I loved. I remember having an electric, but being impressed when I found a word processing one. 🙂

  7. What a great find! I’m a huge fan of thrift stores, flea markets, junk shop and charity shops, and have found quite a few treasures over the years. I think it’s one of the best forms of recycling 🙂 And typing class was my home room in my first year of high school – can you imagine a class like that now? (I’m almost as old as your new purchase, don’t tell anyone ;-D )

    1. We enjoy searching for “new to us” treasures.
      I remember entering a typing contest in high school and winning a large hardbound dictionary. My mom still has it and it has been used as a “booster” for the grandkids at the dining table! 🙂

  8. So cool, I would love to find one of these in a thrift store. I remember taking typing class in high school and learning to type on an electric typewriter. My cousin had a typewriter similar to the one that you found.

    I typed my high school papers on an electric typewriter. And when I went to college, I had to use the computer lab (buying my own computer was way out of my price range). My senior year I had a word processor (not a computer) that I would use to type my papers.

    I love the pictures and enjoyed reading about your great find. Thanks for sharing.

  9. OMG I had a typewriter up until freshman year of college. 🙂 Then I borrowed my roommate’s computer. I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 24.
    Neat find… thank you for sharing. AND I love the message you and your daughter typed at the end of your post. Very cool. Blessings. <3

  10. In my memory is the tit tat ryrhym of my father working away in his hpme office preparing his weekly sermons. It’s musical. I have all those hand prepared messages and the are art to hold treasures to search. Great post.

  11. I remember the beat and rhythm these typewriters made. These typewriters are beautiful but hard to master. I wasted a lot of bond paper, onion skin, and carbon paper back in the day. 😊

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