The Galaxy Twelve

Here’s something to make you feel old:

When was the last time you used a typewriter? Maybe not too long ago, but when was the last time you tried to buy a typewriter?! That’s what I did today. I searched long and hard to find a damned typewriter in San Antonio.

I don’t mean a new typewriter – Office Depot has those, but like hell I’m paying minimum 180.00 for one – but a used one. After two hours and four pawn shops, I found one. Actually, I found four of them in one place: Thrift America.

The process had a bit of humor to it. No-one knew where in hell I could find a typewriter but at the last place, the woman behind the counter told me, “No, we don’t have any here, but Thrift America has them (at this point I became aware that there is a pawn shop circuit, complete with inside information – they all know what the others have). The trick with typewriters is that you have to make sure that you can still get the ribbons for them so have Office Depot’s number ready, and look at the model number of the machine. Make sure the ribbon is available before you buy it.”

Yes, there is protocol to buying a used typewriter. This was at a place that had not one, but four CD duplication robots on a shelf, next to the first-generation CD Walkmans. Are you starting to understand just how rare used typewriters are?!

I made my way to Thrift America, and after adjusting myself to the huge open space of harsh fluorescent lighting and the smell of Old Closet, I found the “electronics” section. Sure enough, there they were: at least four used typewriters, of varying brands and styles. Some electric, some mechanical, all decrepit.

Smith Corona Galaxy 12They were a motley bunch, but I finally found one with a little character. It was a 1960s vintage, two-tone blue Smith-Corona Galaxy Twelve (with Power Space function), complete with case, owner’s manual, and a well-used ribbon. As an added bonus, it was mechanical, so I didn’t have to worry about getting it back to the studio to plug it in, only to find myself in the midst of an electrical fire.

As I picked it up, the warning about the ribbons rang in my head, so I slyly “liberated” the ribbon from the adjacent unit and hid it under mine in it’s carrying case, just in case the one I had decided not to have any ink left.

At the counter, I paid fifteen bucks for my new treasure. I thought that was a little pricey, but hey, I needed it.

All this just to file Form W-2 with the Social Security Administration, which is required in triplicate, at a 12 pt. Courier font (typewriter). I could have filed electronically, but by the time I had thought about it, I decided that it would be fun to use a typewriter. I also could have hand-written it, but an epileptic speed freak writes better than I do.

It was worth the trouble. As an added bonus, I now have a sweet two-tone Galaxy Twelve to use as a prop in photos.


~ by peakaction on March 1, 2007.

17 Responses to “The Galaxy Twelve”

  1. I think we need macro shots of the inner workings of the typewriter…

  2. OO… I kinda want a typewriter now that you mention it… I’m not even from that generation.. then again I’m not from the Leica generation and I own one of them… but typewriters…. there’s something nice about them. But then again I don’t think that i could type nearly as fast on a typerwriter as I do on my keyboard…

    the keys probably don’t depress fast enough for me…. but they’re still hot things to own.

    I might get one.

    just for fun.


    enjoyed the story btw.

  3. I want credit for starting the New Typewriter Revolution.

  4. Would the author of this site kindly add their name to the “MY FASCINATING OPINIONS” header — I do find your opinions interesting, but anyone Googling my name is lead to your uncredited words. Thanks a million.

  5. Would the author of this site please add their name to the “MY FASCINATING OPINIONS” header — I do find your opinions interesting, but anyone Googling my name is lead to your uncredited words. Thanks a million.

  6. No, because I don’t really want to be told how I should host my own blog. My info is in the right column.

    People keep finding you here in Google searches because you are repeatedly leaving comments that have your name and URL in them. If you stop putting your name and URL over and over again in the comments, then the Google results will reflect it.

  7. It’s awesome that you found a Galaxy Twelve. I’m completely jealous. I’ve got a Smith-Corona from the 80’s. I haven’t had much luck finding anything more. Beautiful typewriter!

    • i have a galaxie 12, ink, owners manual, and alot of paper that came with it and it all works great. I got it all for $5 at a sale after some on passed.

  8. i just bought a smith-corona galaxie twelve at the salvation army
    for $10. it works great!

  9. Back in 2004 I found a Smith Corona Galaxie being thrown away in Long Island and I thought that was amazing that it still worked. Then some years later when my Grandmother passed away I inherited her Galaxie Twelve and the 12 is by far a much better machine. I love it.

  10. I have a Smith-corona Galaxie Deluxe, and it looks exactly like the one in the picture, except for color and the words “galaxie deluxe” on the front. I wonder how it relates to the twelve? joshcphotography- On mine the keys depress faster than on a regular keyboard, and it never crashes like my computer does. Sometimes, though, I find myself typing too fast, so I accidentally skip lettrs or make sentence be weird by lack of planning. 🙂 It is a great machine and probably my favorite that I’ve used. It’s on my desk right now, resting after I used it to type two full-page articles and other random stuff.

  11. Funny. I have a smith corona galaxy 12, and I am trying to figure out what I should do with it. Start a museum? Bring it to the local kindergartners, let them see how it used to be?

  12. I just got a Galaxie Twelve from my grandparent but cannot figure out how to install the new ribbon I bought.


  13. I have this exact typewriter, works like a charm. Same color, too.

  14. You should look up the debut album by Elk ( “Tamarack Mansion” to hear their song “Galaxy 12.” You can hear a demo version here, but the final version is much better.

  15. I have about 15 typewriters,sell typewriters and own the Galaxie Deluxe. This is a very nice “modern” typewriter. Great to see that there are others that appreciate typewriters!

  16. According to this site the Galaxie Twelve is from 1977, not the 60’s. I just scored one yesterday, it’s sweet!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: