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Good Bones – 1948 Underwood Champion

"Good Bones" is a term you hear a lot in the house-flipping industry, and it means the buyer is likely to rip the place apart and do a lot of refurb. This Champion needs a *lot* of fiddly work, but even so - crusted with dirt from not having a case, shift mechanism way out of whack and a janky ribbon vibrator - it still types like a dream. Light, snappy as all get-out and pleasant mechanical sound. The touch is DISTINCTLY different from the later 1950's machines, shockingly lighter and better. This one will be a great typer, but will never be a show-stopping looker.

“Good Bones” is a term you hear a lot in the house-flipping industry, and it means the buyer is likely to rip the place apart and do a lot of refurb. This Champion needs a *lot* of fiddly work, but even so – crusted with dirt from not having a case, shift mechanism way out of whack and a janky ribbon vibrator – it still types like a dream. Light, snappy as all get-out and pleasant mechanical sound. The touch is DISTINCTLY different from the later 1950’s machines, shockingly lighter and better. This one will be a great typer, but will never be a show-stopping looker.

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Last serviced, Sept 10, 1967 by Lloyd's Typewriter Co in Provo, Utah.

Last serviced, Sept 10, 1967 by Lloyd’s Typewriter Co in Provo, Utah.

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Updated: March 12, 2014 — 2:20 pm

11 Comments

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  1. Those are really nice typing machines. Much nicer than the later ones. I have one that is great as long as I do not shift it. Shift system in these appear to require special pin spanners to adjust. Mine will not shift back to LC after a shift to UC (without pushing it) because the spring is adjusted too light. So it sits on the may be repaired pile.

  2. They do feel good, don’t they!

    A candidate for repainting?

    1. Probably. The decals are there, but not in any good shape. I suppose it wouldn’t be a crime to strip & repaint it once I get the mechanical issues sorted out. (:

  3. It would be sad, though, to lose those garish Lloyd’s stickers.

  4. I’m always curious, so I decided to try to see if Lloyd’s was still in business. It seems their phone number still indicates it belongs to Lloyd’s Business Machines and they have listings on nearly every yellow phone directory on the net. I didn’t find a website (surprise!). I also didn’t find them listed on Mr. Polt’s repair shop list.

    The google street view shows a barricaded storefront that appears empty. (wait for street view to load)
    http://tinyurl.com/moepbaz

    What does “CONT” mean on the Lloyd’s sticker between “SER” (service) and “OHL” (overhaul)?

    1. Well you are in luck. I am Lloyd’s son. The only one of his 7 children to work full time at the typewriter shop. I can answer all your questions.

      The “cont.” on the service label was marked if the machine was on annual maintenance contract. it would also indicate to us when the last wort was done and the warrentee period for service so we would know if the service was under warrentee or was to be charged for. regular repair service warrentee was 30 days, Overhauls included deep cleaning, deep lubrication, and repair and adjustments. warrentee 1 year. annual maintenance contracts included work similar to overhaul and service repairs and adjustments were made at no additional cost except parts for the term of the contract. As for the garish stickers, those brought us more business than you could imagine. people would see them on machines all over the county and would come in and say they saw our sticker, and would get their machines worked on or buy new machines. Those stickers were on machines all over the world. Brigham Young university is in Provo, and a lot of students bought new or used machines and when they graduated took them with them, when they graduated. We also sold many machines to the LDS church who in turn sent them around the world.

      As for the current state of the business, dad had a major heart attack in the early 90’s. He sold the business just after that after almost 50 years in business. i worked there from high school until about 1992. about 30 years. after it was sold the new owner stayed in his building for 5 or 6 years. he then only repaired them at that point as the demise of the typewriter was imminent. The owner still has the phone number and still occasionally works on a machine or two. Parts are scarce. He does not actually have rights to the name, but Lloyd, my dad is a kind 90 year old and is okay with him using the name. also in the last two or so years the property was sold ant the buildings torn down. The city is now buildin buildings with street level retail shops and apartments above. Lloyd is stil alive and doing well. He proudly served many Utah communities for a very long time, The secret to his success was “The Customer is right. He was generous and kind to his customers. Honesty was his trademark. It is a great legacy that he created nurtured and grew, and I am proud of my dad, and to be part of this great enterprise. If you have further questions you can contact at jjtkchri@gmail.com

  5. A nice feeling typer is worth a lot more than a nice looking typer, right?

  6. Great site ! My grandfather is Lloyd, of Lloyd’s Typewriters (and later Lloyd’s business machines). My dad was the GM through 1989 or so. I asked, and the “Cont” designation was for machines that had maintenance contracts (i.e. extended warranties). ALB stands for Alton L Barzee, the repairman who worked on this machine. Now you know!!

    1. excellent, thanks for the info. I’ve heard from your father too, and I’ll probably email you soon with some questions. It’s pretty great to have some of the stories behind the little clues left behind on these machines. (:

  7. I just purchased one of these for my ten-year-old granddaughter who is quite enamored with using an “old” typewriter for her creative writing. I am now deciding on what I should do to it, if anything. She will be shocked to learn that typing on it is about the same as walking in mud, meaning SLOW.

    I’m in the Richmond, VA, area. Know of a place I can take this for oiling and a bit of rust removal around bottom edges (not much needed…excellent condition. Any ideas on what I might do to srpuce up the case? Appears to be a very thin cloth-like material, and am wondering if this could be painted or dyed to a sleeker, darker black. Is there any problem getting ink spools for this machine? My searches seem to indicate that the original spools are no longer made, so a generic replacement is required?

    Finally, I need an INSTRUCTION booklet/manual so that my granddaughter can learn how to use this. She is not local to me, so I cannot teach her myself, and my daughter barely remembers using my electric typewriter in the late 1980’s before the PC and word processing took over.

    Would appreciate your help! Thanks.

  8. I should say that I’ve seen several websites with PDF instruction manuals, but the closest one to the 1948 Champion available does not include the Touch Tuning mechanism, an important function. Appears the first manual that had this feature was 1946. I’ve seen it on eBay WITH the typewriter for sale, but not the manual alone. I would love to download and print this for her, but I’m willing to pay for that service if it’s out there somewhere!

    Thanks.

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