Map blogger. Science fiction and fantasy critic and writer. Snake whisperer.

Not Too Cheap to Upgrade

In December 2020 I won an eBay auction for a 1968 Royal 200. With shipping, the typewriter came to a grand total of $63.87. It was an ultraportable made in Japan by Silver-Seiko and sold under the venerable Royal brand; the 200 appears identical to the better-known Mercury. Our example turned out to be surprisingly good, not just for what it was—a cheap, small typewriter—but full stop: it types better and faster than many ostensibly superior machines, and despite some yellowed plastic1 it remains in terrific shape. But while its platen and sound insulation could stand replacing, I wondered whether it was worth spending money upgrading such a cheap typewriter: the expense would not necessarily be recouped if we decided to sell the thing on. Meanwhile, the typewriter blogger Joe Van Cleave went and did to his Royal Mercury what I was simply musing about: he replaced the platen and installed a sound insulation kit, with good results. He clearly intends to keep using his, and at this point I think I’m likely to do the same with mine. Resale value should be a moot point in this context. In a way it’s too bad that it’s no longer quite as silly to get J. J. Short to recover its platen, now that Joe’s broken this ground. I liked the idea of doing something silly.

Notes

  1. I’m not sure, but it may be too old for retrobright.

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1 Comment

  1. Retrobrite could be an issue long-term – but these aren’t ‘zactly museum pieces. If you like it enough to keep it (and I do think these are worth keeping if you’re into actually typing on them) then Hot-Rod it out to your liking and damn the resale value. Tho, again, in the current market a tricked-out perfectly working SS700 would probably be worth the materials cost easily if resold to the right buyer.

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