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TWDB Secret Mission – Operation: SCM Datecode!

I’ve been emailing with Jay Respler back and forth the past few weeks regarding a couple of serial numbers on some very unusual Smith-Corona Galaxies and Classic 12’s. During the course of this conversation, he pointed me to a Yahoo thread where he discusses the “SCM Datecode” that is found on many SCM typewriters from about the mid-60’s to around the 80’s…

…ummmm, “datecode”?!? These machines that we can’t find age lists for are DATECODED?!? Holy meepin’ Mary mother of Mothra! :D

Now, Jay had appealed to the Yahoo group for people to send in datecodes and serial numbers so that he could compile a large enough list to start to decipher this datecode’s meaning, but didn’t get a very hearty response. But, you know what? The TWDB is purpose built to be a God-Almighty typewriter data collection behemoth, and I bet *we* can get that ball to the goalposts, don’cha think?

Well, here’s your chance to break the SCM Datecode for those pesky Smith-Coronas between 196-ty-ish and 198-ty-ish that vex us so with their unknown ages. Jay and I need your help, Typewriter Hunters. We need your serial numbers and datecodes, and I’ve put together a special mission page and database just for this specific purpose. The first of the TWDB RFI Missions. (request for information) It should be noted that Typewriter Hunters will be awarded 2 Points for every machine entered into this special mission page (compiled nightly, like all Points).

Click here for Operation: SCM Datecode, the page set up to record this data. When you are logged in as a Typewriter Hunter level member, you are presented with an entry form for your serial numbers/datecodes, an interface to view the current entries, and a download link to grab a CSV export of the current data, in case you’d like to analyze it yourself to try and crack the code. If you aren’t logged in, then you just get the interface to view the entries.

*  *  *

Oh, and you may note some new graphic ads on the TWDB. We got approved by Project Wonderful, a smallish mom-n-pop style ad network run mostly by webcomic artists and nerdy/craftsy people that make stuff like chainmail underwear. I ran these adspaces back in 2008 when I was running Secret Society Wars, and was very impressed with the simplicity and transparency of their ad buying/selling model and the general quality and “indieness” of the advertisers.  It wasn’t a big revenue-generator, but really that’s what the Google ads are for.  The Project Wonderful ads are basically for you.

Yeah, *you* guys who sell typewriter pads and rubber stamps and handmade notebooks and typewriter covers and refurbished typewriters and ribbons, and anything else that the 3000 or so people who cruised by the TWDB today looking for typewriter-related info might possibly be interested in.

Because, you see, the TWDB appeals to those with a very specific goal in mind. Usually, people hit the TWDB to get a date for a typewriter and then they go away. Page engagement per session is about 2 with the DB (that’s you handful of people who click endlessly on the galleries divided by the thousands that just hit the serial number pages), so quite often once these passersby have got the info they need, they next want something like a new ribbon, and wella – the guys that sell ribbons get a click. My analysis of the past 3 weeks has made it clear that the people advertising typewriter-related items are doing quite well, and are competing aggressively for the ad slots. Those spots are out of the reach of the kind of advertisers I really want to see show up on the TWDB. I want to see other clever and useful typewriter-related stuff there than just cheap ribbons and “Royal Manual” typewriters.

And, if you fire up Photoshop and whip up a 300px by 250px banner ad for your thing *right now* and then go start a Project Wonderful account and bid on the TWDB’s adspace, YOU WILL GET YOUR AD SHOWN TO ABOUT 3000 TYPEWRITER NUTS A DAY FOR ZERO CENTS A DAY FOR AS LONG AS THERE ARE LESS THAN 5 BIDDERS FOR THE ADSPACE. Yeah, No minimum bid, so all you gotta do is bid *anything* and as long as no more than 4 people outbid you, your ad is FREE. I don’t really expect that to last long with the kind of eyeballs the TWDB draws, but you are welcome to milk it while it lasts and see how it works for you. :D

Updated: May 24, 2015 — 8:10 pm


Add a Comment
  1. Interesting. Any hints on where to find the date code?

    1. Usually right on the bottom of the machine, on a paper label, rubber stamped. Format: XXYYYYY, where X is a letter and Y is a number.

      1. Ah, thanks. Mine doesn’t seem to have one.

  2. Ooooh! A secret mission! Exciting.
    Too bad I don’t have any SCM’s. :-(

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