Acme and the Underwood Noiseless


Ed Cordon is my hero. I took Zelda to Acme Business Machines yesterday after spending some time trying to make her at least somewhat presentable for company. I called before making the drive, wanting to give him a heads-up before sauntering in with such a typewriter, “Bring it on in,” he said, like he gets this all the time. Maybe he does. Twenty minutes later it was some trick getting her out of the backseat and up to the front door, where Ed was waiting with a big smile on his face.
I was half afraid he’d shake his head at the Underwood Noiseless, tell me he was sorry, send me back home. I don’t know why, because once he had that typewriter on the table he poked and prodded and plunked and such, declaring quickly that Zelda was absolutely repairable.
Then he turned her up to look underneath. Oh dear. The cobwebby nastiness of seventy neglectful years was under there and though I thought about turning her over during the hasty clean up, I never did. Obviously, twenty-two years of vigilant parenting has made me feel responsible for such things and I need to get over it.
Mr. Cordon didn’t seem to care one bit. He did say it would take a little time to get old Zelda up to snuff.
He talked a bit about the typewriter repairs and sales he’s had lately, and I want to thank every single one of you who’ve somehow made your way to North Little Rock to give this man your business. He’s not sure how much longer he can keep the store going, he said, because business is generally thin. He only looked frustrated for a minute or two, though, before he went back to testing and fiddling with my old Underwood. Clearly, he loves the work.
Ed doesn’t have a website or email address, so I’m going to give you the info here again. Give him a call, stop by, write him a letter on one of your old typers. Let him know you’re out there and when you can, bring him a little something to work his magic on.
Acme Business Machines, Inc.
Ed Cordon
5308 MacArthur Drive, Suite A
North Little Rock, AR 72118
(501) 753-7375

The Monster – My New Underwood Noiseless

Feast your eyes. This was a gift today from a colleague who knew I’d love such an animal.

It’s unquestionably the most filthy typewriter I’ve ever seen up close, and certainly the heaviest one I’ve ever lugged into the house.

I made it as far as the kitchen table. That dangling piece of ribbony thread on the side is ( I assume) something important in advancing the carriage. This is probably why the spacebar doesn’t respond. I can tell it wants to, though.

The keys are stiff and slow to return, but the carriage moves back and forth smoothly. Looks like I’ll be winding ribbon by hand if I can get this machine to work.

The cobwebs are a bonus, I think, as most descriptions I can find online of the Underwood Noiseless fail to mention them.

There she is and I’m a little in awe of her. Here’s the plan: Since I’m completely mechanically stupid, I’ll haul this down to Acme Business Machines in North Little Rock tomorrow and see what my friends say. I doubt anyone there would be mean enough to, for example, suggest I sink it in the Arkansas River on my way home or anything. At least I hope not.

I’m still looking for the serial number, which may be hidden in plain sight by the dust and grime of seventy or so years. Everytime I go into the kitchen to look her over, I love the machine more. Thank you, Steve. This makes me very, very happy.