How to Pack a Typewriter for Shipping

To make sure that your typewriter arrives at our workshop without damage, please follow these packing instructions. This is mainly for large manual typewriters, but can easily be adapted for portable typewriters and phonographs.

Please put your name, address, phone number, and email address on a piece of paper and roll it into the large black rubber roller (platen). Often I receive machines that have unreadable return address because the box has been slid around on its base. I will not know whose machine has come in until you call to inquire about your machine!

Take photographs of your machine before you pack it up, in case you need to file a claim with the shipping company. Once it is on its way, send me an email with a tracking number so I can watch for it.

If you have any further questions, please reach out via our Contact page.

John Lewis with Underwood for cleaning

Most occupations have age limits on employees – but not typewriter technicians. The older they are the better!

Shipping Supplies

You will need:

  • A strong plastic trash bag that will completely engulf the typewriter
  • A roll of packing tape
  • Some painters tape
  • Some bubble wrap
  • TWO sturdy boxes (one larger than the other)
  • Packing peanuts

You can find sturdy boxes at many of the computer and office machine stores and they are usually happy to give them away. I have found that FedEx is the best for shipping heavy boxes, and certainly the easiest to work with when it comes to filing a damage claim. Do not forget to spend a couple of extra dollars and insure the machine for $500, to insure that they will take a little extra care with your treasure.

Underwood 5, before


First, tie or tape the small plated levers that release the carriage so it floats freely back and forth. You do not want to ship the machine without the carriage in the released position because, if the machine receives a hard blow, or is dropped, the tiny teeth on the escapement gear will snap and the carriage will be rendered useless.

Tape the ribbons down and fill the type basket with bubble wrap.

Place the machine in the large plastic bag, and while centering the carriage, tape the machine in all four directions with many wraps of tape. You may need to enlist the help of someone to assist you while holding the carriage centered. You will have it taped enough when you can no longer move the carriage under the bag. Normally it takes about a half a roll of tape to get it secured. (I will not laugh if you over tape it, but you will be saddened if you do not tape it enough.)


Your first heavy box should have at least 2 to 3 inches of clearance around all sides of the typewriter, especially the carriage end knobs.

Pour a few inches of foam peanuts in the bottom of the box and then shake the box for a minute or so until the foam settles.

Place the typewriter on the bed of peanuts. Fill the box with foam peanuts and continue to shake the box until the peanuts will not settle any more. At this time add more so that the box looks too full.

You will know if you have enough peanuts in the box if you need assistance holding the box flaps down so you can tape it closed.


Now, and MOST IMPORTANT, put this first box into a second one that will allow the same amount of clearance as the first box, remembering that you will need to have peanuts around all six sides of the box.

If you feel that the box can be dropped from 6 feet without the carriage ends being damaged, then you have done a good job of packing.

Just imagine a bowling ball in a box of foam peanuts. After rolling around in the box for an hour or two, most of the peanuts will be flattened and there would not be any protective padding left. This is why it is so important to double box the machine as it keeps the heavy typewriter from crushing all of the peanuts.


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