1951 Smith-Corona Silent 5

The Silent 5 was introduced in 1949.  It was part of a series of Smith-Corona portables that were considered the “fastest Portable typewriters in the world.”
I was originally looking to purchase a 1930s Corona Silent in Elite, but saw this on sale at an antique store and had to have it.  The mechanics were pretty much all sound.  I’ve never purchased a machine that worked so well before, and it was only $59.  It came with the original case which was in pretty good condition.
I removed the body when I got home and started to clean it up.  Nothing was oily, nothing was sticky, just dust.  I was pleasantly surprised with the condition of the machine.  There were only three major issues, the first being the loud carriage return, the second being the sticking color selector, and the third being flattened feed rollers. 
The return system was easy to fix, as the noise came from the ratchet arm hitting a plastic stopper.  There wasn’t quite enough room for the teeth on the star wheel to slip by, so I removed the plastic piece on the stopper and the issue cleared up.
The color selector was sticking due to the spring clip that holds it on the correct setting.  The clip is located in the back of the machine and slides into different divots in the frame to lock in place.  The tension was too high on it, so I bent it up slightly, and that issue cleared up as well.
Finally came the flattened rollers.  Thankfully the platen on this machine is ridiculously easy to remove.  The back panel that covered the tab stops gets flipped open, and the small switch on the front side of the right platen knob gets depressed.  The index detent gets pulled on the left knob, as it’s not the push button system like in most royals, and the entire platen lifts out.  I had to take off some other parts to access the rear rollers, but those came out alright.  I didn’t have the proper diameter rubber on hand to replace them, but the flat spots were very small.  Instead of replacing the rollers entirely, like I usually do, I sanded them round again.
The rest of the machine was cleaned and reassembled.  I was very pleased with the level keytop action and the speed with which it typed.  It can keep up with speeds around 90 words per minute or higher, very cool for a portable machine!

Types in Pica and has a weird “e” which is kind of chopped off on the right.  Other than that, everything works as it should.




Ribbon color selector Repair 

Carriage return fix.  
 The piece of plastic on the left side got removed to give the ratchet more room.








  1. I see a lot of these and they are fundamentally very good typewriters. The ratchety return is a common issue, and you solved it effectively. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you! I am very pleased with the quality of this machine. It's the second one I've worked on, though I'm not the hugest fan of the design...


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