Saturday, February 22, 2014

1956 AMC Portable Typewriter

This typewriter was imported by the Associated Merchandising Corporation (now Target Sourcing Services), and was made in France. This typewriter was frequently advertised in the Midwest, but have been known to appear periodically in the Northwest and East. It is part of the Patria Family of typewriters (More info here: and Looking at it, three things become clear:

  1. This is a very high-quality typewriter
  2. It is basically a 1930s typewriter in a streamlined shell.
  3. The manufacturers of this typewriter put a lot of effort into making a simple, easy to use typewriter.
The mechanism inside this typewriter is identical to the Swiss Patria typewriter (later known as the Swissa). This design was used in many European countries:
  • Germany: Voss Privat
  • UK: Oliver and Byron portables
  • France: Japy (Pronounced jah-pea; Les Freres Japy manufactured high-quality clocks and watches, as well as typewriters)
  • Switzerland: Patria, Swissa
  • Spain: Amaya, Florida
The mechanism was designed in 1934 by Otto Haas; production began in 1936. In 1944, Max Bill designed a new shell for this typewriter. According to Haas (in 1934), portable typewriters were becoming too large to be portable, and required a specific container to carry them in. He set out to create a compact portable typewriter with many large-machine features. It should be noted that after Haas wrote this, portable typewriters kept getting bigger; the Royal Safari (1962-70) is an excellent example of this--it is almost twice the size of his portable! 

Part of a Higbee's advertisement in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 20, 1956. This was part of a full-page ad.

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