• 13 July 2023
  • Cherie Jacobson

Right in time for school holidays, you can now try writing like Katherine Mansfield!

We recently purchased a Corona 3 typewriter from a local auction house, the exact same model as the one Katherine Mansfield used, with the hope that we could get it working again and allow visitors to experience using it. Thanks to the voluntary efforts of Marty Pilott, our little Corona is now back in business and has already delighted some young visitors who had never used a typewriter before.

This Corona 3 is over 100 years old and was obviously very well cared for by its previous owner - the case is in good condition and it came complete with its original oil vial and cleaning brush, and its user manual! Thanks to the typewriter’s serial number and the last patent date noted on the back of the machine (1917), we are confident our model is the same as Mansfield’s.

Mansfield’s Corona 3 is held in the collection of the Alexander Turnbull Library at the National Library of New Zealand. It was gifted by Mansfield’s longtime friend Ida Baker in 1971. You can read more about it in this National Library blog post.

Interestingly, the brush in the case with Mansfield's Corona 3 at the National Library is different. Perhaps she preferred to use a brush from another typewriter, or lost the Corona 3's original brush and had to get a different replacement. The oil vial has an inscription reading '"Never Leak" One Drop Oil Can'. It unscrews to reveal a spike used to put a tiny drop of oil where it's needed.

The Corona 3 was relatively small and lightweight and with its handy carry case, you can imagine it being like the laptop of its day!

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