By the time gray crinkle (or, for some in the industry, “crackle” or “wrinkle”) paint was being applied to typewriters both brand new and rebuilt in the early 1950’s, the venerable Underwood No. 5 had been out of production for almost two decades. However, with millions of these dependable and at one time industry-leading machines around it was inevitable that the No. 5 would play a prominent role in the world of rebuilt typewriters for many years, and this example shows that some even stayed in front line service long enough to be given the gray treatment.
While there’s no indication on this machine as to who rebuilt it or sold it, it’s known that for many years large companies such as International Typewriter Exchange rebuilt machines in this fashion — overall gray, with just a simple decal indicating the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer.) Such machines were sold through the 1950’s and 1960’s by Montgomery-Ward through its catalog, as just one example of a possible outlet.
Although open-sided machines of any make mostly didn’t stick around in the service loop long enough to “get gray,” this one did – and in reality, most rebuilt Underwoods look like they did when new, or else are all over black crinkle, making this example just a bit more uncommon than its color might hint.