Royal Portable Typewriters, 1926-1986

This is an incomplete catalog of Royal Portable Typewriters made between 1926 and 1986. I have done my best to calculate rough production numbers by subtracting one year from another (ex: 1/1965-1/1964=1964 production). Early Royal production numbers are easy, because the first Portable had a serial number of 1. Items in brackets do not appear on the typewriters themselves, but are a reference point for identification.

This list will be updated over time. If you have any information on Royal Portables, please send it to typewriterresearch (at) gmail.com 

Royal Portable [#1] 

1926-1930

Serial Numbers: 1-260000

This is a typical example of a Royal Model P. The Royal Model P was the first successful Royal Portable, and one of the longest-lived ones. (In 1930, when the Portable was redesigned, the former P became the Model O, and was produced until 1934.) This typewriter was offered in several color schemes, including black-and-red, black-and-green, black-and-orange, and black, just to name a few. (Nick Bodemer collection). About 260000 were produced between 1926 and 1930.

Royal Portable [#2]

1930-1934

Serial Numbers 260001-354231

The successor to the first Royal Portable is seen above. The Royal Portable was redesigned in 1930, giving it hinged ribbon covers and new blended duotone color schemes. Later in the year, a hinged carrying case (known as the Duo-Case) was introduced. Approximately 94,231 examples were produced, including the previous model (which was produced until 1934). (Nick Bodemer collection)

Royal [Model O/Touch Control Portable] and Royal De Luxe

1934-1939
Serial Numbers 409082-807493

In 1934, Royal introduced the Model O/Touch Control portable, which added a new key-tension lever (known as "Touch Control"). In 1937, a De Luxe model was introduced, which added a tabulator, two nickel-plated bands and crinkle paint. Another version was called the "Quiet"--it added extra soundproofing and a softer platen (main roller). The Quiet and Deluxe were merged in 1938 into the Quiet Deluxe.
A Royal Deluxe is seen above. Notice the nickel bands running along the front and sides of the machine, and the stamped Royal logo above the words "DE LUXE". Total production (including the Quiet, Deluxe, and Model O): 398,411(Nick Bodemer Collection)


Royal [Magic Margin Portables]: Aristocrat, Arrow, Quiet Deluxe

1938-1948


A 1941 Quiet Deluxe is pictured above--it can most easily be identified by its tweed carrying case with leather bands running along the top and bottom. An alternate method of identification is the black band running through the chrome trim on the ribbon cover and the rectangular shift keys (By 1942, the black band was replaced with solid chrome). The first Magic Margin portables have round shift keys, and were the first basket-shifted Royal Portables. Until 1951, Magic Margin only set the left margin.


Royal [Mercury #1]/Varsity/Companion

(Mercury has a U prefix; Varsity has D, UR, UB prefixes; Companion has CD prefix and smooth stripes)
1939-1942

This was Royal's basic model in the late thirties and early forties--while it has a bell, it lacks a right margin. According to a period Sears catalog, it came in a black-and-white tweed colored case, although most of these have turned brown with age.

Royal [1949] Portables

1948-1950

In 1945, Henry Dreyfuss was granted a patent for the casing of a portable typewriter. It was a much boxier machine than the previous Royal Portable design.  The two-tone color scheme was replaced in 1950 by the Gray Magic color scheme. (Picture coming soon)

Royal Portables (1951-1952)


In 1951, Royal redesigned their Henry Dreyfuss portables with new rounded edges and plastic-topped keys. It also gained Art Deco wings around the ribbon reverse and ribbon color selector.  These were the first Royal Portables with fiberglass cases .  The colors that were available were Velvetone Gray and Velvetone Tan. Velvetone Gray machines had gray keys and a red case lining, while Velvetone Tan machines had green keys and a green case lining.

Royal Portables (1955-1957)

In 1953, the Royal Portable was slightly redesigned, with a push-button ribbon cover (the ribbon reverse lever was moved under the hood)

By 1955, Royal offered six colors on the Quiet Deluxe: red, pink, blue, yellow, green, and charcoal in addition to the standard gray. Here's a pink one:
While most 1956-1957 Quiet Deluxe portables came equipped in a taupe-lined gray carrying case, it appears that many pink ones came in green-lined tweed cases.








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