Smith-Corona Skyriters 2Y, 3Y & 4Y – 1949 to 1962

I noticed the other day that most of the Skyriters in TWDB were mis-dated, probably due to the fact that I had “clarified” the numbers into actual ranges instead of December numbers earlier in the year. I had to re-date and clean up the Skyriter listings so they were correct. Doing this revealed some things that I found interesting and worth noting.

2Y Series Skyriter begins in 1949, a redesigned compact model to replace the pre-war 1Z and 1Y Series Zephyr.

Brown crinkle paint with a pair of vertical brown stripes on either side of ribbon cover, with a single stripe on both ends of the front frame. Smith-Corona logo insert on lid made of metal and painted same brown as stripes. Dark green main keys on keyboard with light green shifts, margin release and backspacer. Space bar painted olive green. In early 1950 the logo insert changes to light green plastic.

1950 model is basically unchanged.

In early 1951, the stripes are omitted.

1952 and 1953 models are basically unchanged.

In mid 1954, all of the keys, spacebar, logo insert and paper rest are changed to a dark green matching the main keytops.

In 1955, new wrinkle paint color schemes are added, including a tan model with white keys and brown painted space bar. A new leatherette zippered carrying case is added for some models.

In 1956, these options continue, and the first long return arm models in leatherette cases are seen. Many models in the zipper cases are still outfitted with the smaller return arm that was meant for machines that come with the form-fitting metal case. 3Y Series begins mid 1956.

These options continue from 1957 through 1959.

In 1960 the Smith-Corona insert logo on the ribbon cover is changed to a silver rectangular label. Skyriter production moved to England and 4Y Series begins.

In 1961, the Skyriter now has a flat grey paint job and the “SCM” logo is added to the lid label. This pattern continued through 1962 and probably 1964, when the Skyriter is replaced by the Corsair.

I’m not real sure when the blue plastic shelled Skyriter is introduced, but I suspect it’s later in the 60’s, possibly after the Corsair labeling has run for awhile and SCM might have been looking to refresh the line with a new “Skyriter”.

Updated: June 1, 2023 — 12:30 pm


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  1. Nice work.

    I need to recheck my Skyriters and get the ones posted to the database that are not yet posted.

  2. Very nice summary of Skyriter changes over time. Thank you for cleaning up the Skyriter listings – looks like I mis-dated my 1953 Skyriter.

  3. Thank you! This is excellent! I picked up a 1950’s skyriter yesterday. The lady had it since she was 10 years old. She could not believe the interest online and I explained how popular typewriters are again. I felt so lucky to find one from the original owner and she is super cool too. Any idea how many were produced? What do the serial numbers mean?

    1. tells you when it was built (:

  4. Have to get you photos of my ’54 … the earliest one (so far) with paper position indicator on left side of platen.

    Please have a look at #2Y 258009 ….. appears to be a 3Y 1958 … but is listed as a 2Y 1955..

    Long arm… no underlining on logo .. white plastic…

    IF the serial number is correct… Canadian ??? British ??? … or prototype?

    Obviously have a rather small sampling out of the thousands and thousands made, so who knows??
    But that one stands out as atypical for 1955…

    1. probable that someone reported wrong serial number. it’s happened. you gotta ignore those blips because I can’t fix it, not knowing the real serial.

  5. I have just purchased 2Y287441 being a Canadian made Skyriter. What a beautiful little machine. My first venture into a manual since about 50 years ago. I do still have a mint condition Olympia AEG xl505 which works wonderfully but is not the same as a very portable classic. Very pleased to be getting into cleaning and tweaking this little gem, and using it as often as I can in starting a journal. Am also into nice fountain pens so this fits nicely and ‘retro’ is my new name.

  6. I know this thread is older, but I have a question. Just took possession of a skywriter today. Serial number 3Y 420285 W. It is the rough grey paint job with the silver rectangular label that is only “SMITH CORONA” not SCM SMITH-CORONA. White keys. On the back, the stamp says Made in England. So wouldn’t the serial number start with 4Y not 3Y?

    1. Nope, in fact, your serial number is an example of clarifying where the break between 3Y and 4Y actually was. In my study above, the highest 3Y is 276109, and the lowest 4Y is 426162 – thus the fact that your 3Y is 420285 greatly narrows the range at which we now can say that transitioned happened. The “W” at the end of yours and the first 4Y we have is certainly interesting, might indicate British-made which would be a neat thing to know. *that* could also show that *some* 3Y’s were made in England as well. Lots of interesting possibilities there.. Are you gonna upload that one to the TWDB? (:

      1. Yes for sure. Will upload to the TWDB. I just got it today. On side note. I have a 1950 Silent and have Smith-Corona Floating Shift Typewriter Repair Bible. I looked at the Repair Bibles and could not tell if there was one that is for the Skywriter. Am I just not looking at the right one?
        Thanks for all your work and knowledge.

          1. Great, thanks for the info. The machine is dirty, but looks to be good otherwise. Only issue is the draw band string is loose so need to reattach that and see what needs to be done. Thanks again, Brian

          2. Just ordered the 6YC series repair manual. Thanks for the discount! Will upload to the TWDB in the next few days. Adios.

          3. Excellent! Thank you (:

          4. Hello Ted, finally got my Skywriter (3Y 420285 W) uploaded to the TWDB!
            Thanks for all your help.

      2. I just got a sky rider with a serial number 3Y409225W, made in England with the square smith corona without the SCM. This seems to be missing from the serial numbers on the typewriter database.

        1. Upload it to the TWDB so I can look at it. (:

  7. I just acquired a skyriter, 2Y 98386. What would be it’s value? Ballpark figure is okay with me. I much appreciate it.

  8. Hi,
    I am from Austria and found a skyriter 3Y32296 yesterday on the flewmarket for 1 Euro, but unfortunatly the metalcover is lost – is it possible to get one – I think she is so beautiful in her leathercase and I would like to restore it. I would never sell her, but I would be interested what the worth would be. Thanks a lot

  9. sorry – but I have another question too…. This zipewriter is aerican, ist it – but mine has ö, ä and ü on it – is this special?

    1. no more special than any other keyboarded machine sold in a country whose language has umlauted characters. Smith-Corona sold machines in countries all over the world.

  10. Dear Ted.
    Please be so kind to add

    and i am not sure is it Crown is a Crown Index.

    In next week i will be able to add this typewriters.

    BR Max
    Greetings from Moscow

    1. added all of these – we’re now at 1000+ brands finally! :D

  11. Ted, in any of your references, do you happen to have the factory diameter of a 4Y series (English made) Skyriter? Here’s my situation: I just got one of these, serial C4Y 23661 W, and found it so slippy as to be virtually unusable. I took it to a career typewriter repair expert, and he says the platen is actually too small for the machine it’s in. He thinks that at some point the original platen was actually replaced with the platen from an earlier Skyriter, maybe a 3Y or 2Y series machine.

    If I knew the required diameter, I could ask J. J. Short to resurface the platen to that dimension, instead of trying to find a matching model Skyriter just to pull its platen. My 4Y Skyriter is in great shape except for that damned platen.

    Thanks for your help!

    1. According to Schramm 1962, Skyriter has 25.4mm platen diameter. I do know that the platen was significantly enlarged in the transition between 4Y Skyriter and 5Y Corsair, but it is so much larger that you’d never be able to swap them. I have no info that would indicate any size difference between 3Y and 4Y, though, and They look the same between my 3Y and 4Y.

      If your platen is around 1mm-2mm smaller than it should be, it may have been ground down by a shop in an attempt to refresh the rubber (common practice), then you might try shrink-tubing the platen to increase the diameter enough to make up for the ring-cylinder mismatch.

  12. Well, have acquired a “parts machine”, but it is made in Canada. Does rather make a difference in any way? 2Y-126822

  13. Just picked up 2Y 9910 off FB Marketplace and cleaned it up for use as a daily driver – I’ll get it uploaded to the TWDB by this weekend.

    I’m curious about the logo insert. Mine appears to be unpainted metal (and I think I prefer it). You indicate plastic was used from the end of 1949 on? Or was that something that was introduced inconsistently?

    Are there any other quirks that I should look for and note before I upload my machine?

    1. That was based on that misfiled 1949 one. Since yours is early 1950, I think we can move that supposition up a few months into early 1950.

  14. jim arthur chapman

    i have a skyriter serial# 3y 173489 i can not find that # can you help?

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