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Manual Typewriter Buying Guide

Manual typewriters can be both a collectible and functional item to do some writing without the aid of a computer. A wide range of styles and types of manual typewriters is available. Here is some information that can be helpful when selecting a manual typewriter from the various affordable offerings on eBay.

What types of manual typewriters are available on eBay?
  • Variable: This type features different styles and sizes of letters to allow for different font sizes and the ability to use italic, bold, and underline.
  • Electric: This type makes use of a motor to decrease the amount of energy needed for keystrokes.
  • Noiseless: This type features a bar that reduces the noise caused by the typing bar.
  • Portable: This type is designed with a small form factor to be carried around to different places. Some portable typewriters will also have a case built in with a handle for transportation.
  • Standard: This type can come in different sizes such as foolscap, policy, and brief sizes depending on the type of typing involved.
What are some of the features available on manual typewriters?
  • Front feed: Some typewriters have the option of adding a front feed that allows checks, orders, and receipts to be typed easier with a different paper loading option.
  • Carbon roller: This attachment allows for copies to be made without using special carbon paper to duplicate the typed text.
  • Card holder: This feature allows for thicker paper such as card stock to be fed into the typewriter by holding it in place.
  • Continuous feed: This feature on some manual typewriters allows the use of perforated paper to feed multiple sheets into the typewriter without requiring you to manually feed sheets after the first one.
What should you consider when choosing a manual typewriter?
  • Style: European and American designs will vary depending on the key placement, appearance, and available brands depending on geography.
  • Time period: Some examples include the Art Deco styles that were common in the 1920s and 1930s. Other time period factors will include the materials used, font design, and color choices.
  • Key type: Some older styles will have chrome rings with glass keys on top. Other options include plastic keys as well.
  • Typewriter type: Desktops and portables will be the two main types. Desktops are intended for use in a single location with the size and weight being higher than the portables. Portables, on the other hand, have space-saving features such as the 1 key being removed to allow for a smaller form factor.