Rewind to the early 1900's and typewriter manufacturers were working on the same thing, making writing machines portable. The original machines were huge, desktop writers. Then, companies began to miniaturize their machines in the early twentieth century. The first major success was the Corona 3 which had a folding carriage that went over the keyboard when transporting it in its case. This machine was popular with reporters for its compactness and ease of transport.
But, as is always the case, other companies try to to compete -- enter the Underwood typewriter manufacturing company. Their engineers designed what is, in essence, the smallest fully-functional (in the traditional sense) typewriter ever produced. It is seen by many as a marvel in miniature engineering and considered one of the easiest machines to type on.
Later, as with most advancements (for example, the cell phone) the trend changes and people wanted more features in their writing machines. Therefore (just like cell phones) the trend reversed and companies were making larger typewriters with more features. Like the netbooks of today, these smaller three-bank machines were eventually pretty well phased out.
Personally, I'll take the portability over the features because when writing a story those extra features often just distract me and to have something really compact trumps bells and whistles. Therefore, my search began for the smallest mass-produced typewriter...
I found ones like the Bennett which was a pocket machine but had problems and doesn't take classic ribbon -- and had a space bar at the top which would be too hard to adjust to. Then I came across the Corona 3 and many were calling it one of the smallest machines (which it is). But that "one of" stood out to me and I kept searching to see what the others were.
Then I found the Underwood Standard Portable and instantly I fell in love. The genius of the three-bank keyboard over the four was instantly visible to me and the machine looked basic but sleek. I wanted one.
It was today that my new writing machine arrived at my doorstep and I got to try it out. Was it worth the research and money? How big is it, really? How (well) does a three-bank keyboard work? Find out the answers to these questions and my overall impressions of the latest addition to my collection in this video overview: