The Underwood Leader Typewriter - a Review

underwood leader typewriter

I purchased an Underwood Leader Typewriter a few weeks ago.  This one appeared to be in very good condition and since I don't happen to own this model, it seemed like a good time to purchase one.  I've had it long enough now that I thought I'd provide a short review.


The cosmetics of this machine are good since it sports an eye-pleasing two-tone paint in light and dark gray.  What you don't see in this machine is a lot of chrome or other accents that you might find on more fully featured machines.  The Leader was meant to be a bare-bones typewriter . . . just enough functionality to do what a typewriter needs to do without any of the bells and whistles.  That design aesthetic shows through in this simple looking but elegant machine.  I actually prefer the color of the Leader over the tan color of the Champion.  

Keyboard Action

Snappy!  That's the best word I know of to describe how this machine types.  It's responsive to the touch with nice-sized key tops that seem large enough without being too large.

Print Clarity

Wow, does this machine print nicely on paper!  Where some of my Smith-Coronas and Royals are a bit more fuzzy looking, not this Underwood.  It's as clear as it can be.  Very nice output for a manual typewriter.

Problem Areas

This particular machine functions flawlessly but they do tend to have ribbon advance and ribbon reverse problems.  Most of the time, those issues can be corrected but I do believe that ribbon mechanism could have been designed better by Underwood.

I do miss having a paper bail.  While the chrome "fingers" hold the paper fairly well against the platen, I do believe it tends to be a bit louder due to the "thwack" sound the type slug makes when it comes in contact with the paper.


From my experience, I would recommend owning an Underwood Leader typewriter.  It's simple and clean design makes it a pleasure to use.  If you like having just the basics, you'll enjoy using and owning this Underwood.

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