How to Use a Smith Corona Typewriter

By G.K. Bayne

Updated September 26, 2017

A Smith Corona typewriter can be either a manual or electric model. Whichever model you have, the typewriter works in basically the same way. If you are familiar with a computer keyboard, you can type on a typewriter as the keys are laid out exactly the same. Unlike a computer, typing mistakes are harder to correct and, unless you use carbon paper, you will only have one copy of any document you type.

Determine which model of Smith Corona typewriter you have. This can be found by turning the typewriter upside down and looking at the information plate riveted to the underside of the typewriter base.

Thread the proper ribbon for your model onto the typewriter. Older Smith Coronas have a two-reel ribbon system, while many of the newer models may use a cartridge system.

Place a piece of paper behind the roller of the typewriter carriage. Use the small wheel on the left or right side of the roller to advance the paper forward in the machine.

Lift the paper holder away from the roller and continue to advance the paper until you are at the desired starting place on the paper. Press the paper holder back in place to hold the paper.

Use the slider bars on the carriage to set the margins and tabs. Margins are generally set 1 inch from the edges of the paper. The first tab is generally set 5 spaces from the margin setting for an indented paragraph.

Begin typing your document. Be aware that if you are using a manual typewriter, you will have to press the keys much harder than if using an electric model or a computer keyboard.

Use white out or typewriter correction film to correct any mistakes. Backspace to the misspelled word or letter, apply the white out or film, and retype.


Ribbons for a Smith Corona may be solid black, black and red or have correction film along with the black ink.