L.C. Smith No. 8


Shortly after a renewed interest in older standards, I retrieved this L.C. Smith from the garage, where it had lain dormant since last year. Newer machines held my interest since then, and only a fascination with an Underwood No. 5 drew me back to the venerable standards I had long ignored.

I ignored the No. 8 because I remembered s typeface as being too grungy for my tastes. It had a special place in my heart, though: it was given to me in a dire state, and the shop wouldn’t take it, saying it would be too much work. I had more rudimentary skills then, but through sheer persistence I managed to get it working. I was so thrilled that I wrote a 12-page letter with it. It must have been treasured by someone, since that person took the time to weld metal strips with where the body had cracked in the front and left side.


On a whim, I took it out last week and discovered that my prejudices against it were unfounded. It’s a great machine, and I have been using it almost daily. It has some “character”: the carriage sounds like an old coffee grinder when returned, and the keys sometimes skip, albeit for half a space, if I type too fast. Now I find the inky typeface appealing and, well, full of character.



lcsmith8typefaceAll of which makes me wonder that initial impressions of a machine are best put aside until one has given it time for more substantial assessments. This has happened to me before, most recently with a Woodstock 5 I initially considered over-hyped. I was wrong about that one, too.

I gave short shrift to these older L.C. Smiths and now find myself coveting them. My cherished Olympias have receded into the background. Some things truly get better with time.

3 thoughts on “L.C. Smith No. 8

  1. The repair adds character to the big machine. Sure is a fine looking typewriter. Nice clear typeface. Much of the heaviness of the impression could be due to the ribbon. I like the old cotton ribbons on some of my old typewriters simply because they do make the typeface quite heavy. I can always change out to a nylon for general use or silk when I want a really nice clean presentation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bill, I too like the heavier impression: it has character. I used to see the heaviness of the print as too smudgy for my tastes, but I don’t feel that way at all anymore. I like this No. 8 so much that I ordered another one.


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