Saturday, July 27, 2013

Remington Deluxe Remette Features

Originally from Manual Entry. Notice that Feature # 19 is the Standard keyboard.
The instruction sheet is clearly doctored--notice how smooth the Deluxe Remette looks--especially the right side--no screws, or overlapping metal, unlike the real thing...
Here is my own Deluxe Remette

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Royal Portable Dealers, Washington State, 1964

Seattle Times, December 11, 1964
As you can see, the only Spokane dealer listed is The Bon Marche, a Seattle-based department store chain that merged into Macy's in 2005.
Former Bon Marche store, Spokane, WA, 2012. The "BM" monogram is left over from the 1960s Bon Marche logo:

Many remember the Bon Marche's One-Day Sales (Macy's still has them, but without the memorable commercial below)

Royal Custom II, 1968

This typewriter was originally owned by a resident of Spokane, Washington. His name is written on the inside of its case.

The first patent number on the underside of the ribbon cover is for the Royal Futura. The basic design of the  Futura was streamlined in 1961 to become the 890/Sabre/Caravan/Custom II/ Custom III/Futura/Sears Cutlass, just to name a few. Its production ended in the early 1980s.
A Section of a Higbee's ad from September 27, 1981's Cleveland Plain Dealer.
This is the other color my Royal Custom II was offered in. (Image courtesy of
1970s Royal Futura

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Royal Royalite/Northgate ads

As many Seattleites know, Northgate Mall was the first shopping center to be called a "mall" in the United States, when it was finished in 1950. Its anchor store, Macy's (known as The Bon Marche until 2005) remains largely original inside. Similarly, the downtown Bon Marche, at 3rd and Pine, was restored in the 1980s.

Royal Royalite vs Remington Deluxe Remette

Top: 1962 Royal Royalite. This typewriter was made in very large quantities in The Netherlands, from 1955 until 1963. (in this design). 
Bottom: 1940 Remington Deluxe Remette. Only 19,237 Deluxe Remettes were made from May 1940 until August 1941. 

While the Royal Royalite and Remington Deluxe Remette are mechanically very different, they have a lot in common. Both were low-priced portables. Both are compact, and both use a single-color ribbon. (In the Royalite, a two color ribbon can be used--if you want to use red, you have to turn the ribbon over...much more trouble than it's worth...) Both have a similar "feel"--the same amount of pressure is needed to operate each typewriter. 
Despite their similarities, the Royalite is much easier to use, due to its additional features, including: line-lock, which prevents the user from typing after the margin, a bell, automatic ribbon reverse, a carriage lock, paper support, a margin-release/de-jam key, horizontal carriage-return lever, three-position line-space lever (1, 1.5, and 2 lines), margin stops on the top of the carriage, instead of the back of the machine, a fully-enclosed frame, and a standard-size ribbon, and sound-proofing. As a result of these features, the Royalite is very easy to use, and much quieter. The Royalite is also two-tone gray, while the Deluxe Remette is black. Overall, the Royalite is the better typewriter for general use. Also, because the finish on the Royalite is smooth, it is easier to keep clean (the Deluxe Remette has a crinkle finish. Crinkle finishes are natural dust-magnets).

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rating Scale of Consumer Reports, 1937

"A product rated 'Also Acceptable' may be of higher quality than one rated 'Best Buy,' but the 'Best Buy' will normally give more return per dollar. In most cases, a product rated 'Not Acceptable is judged not worth buying at any price, because of inferior quality or because it is potentially harmful" (Consumer Reports, October, 1937)

With that in mind, here is the 1941 review of the Remington Remette:
"Remington Remette (Remington Rand, Inc.) $29.75. Most convenience features eliminated. Very good touch. Appearance of work only fair. Damaged standard business envelope. Despite other disadvantages, such as single carriage knob, manual ribbon reverse, single-color ribbon, no bell or type-lock, back-spacer on the right side, and only fair visibility, the Remette's low price makes it a "Best Buy." (Consumer Reports, November 1941)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Olivetti-Underwood Portable Dealers, Seattle

These dealers are from the 1956, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1968, 1972, and 1975 Seattle Telephone Directories. They have been color-coded.
  • Acme Office Machines, 1826 North 45th Street
  • Acme Office Machines, 2405 North 45th Street
  • American Office Equipment, 900 4th Avenue
  • American Office Equipment and Interiors, Second Avenue and Pine Street [Broadacres Building]
  • Beck Typewriter, 4124 Roosevelt Way Northeast
  • Burt Typewriter 1204 2nd Avenue
  • Carlson Office Equipment and Supply Co. 8076 Bothell [Lake City] Way Northeast
  • Cascade Business Machines, 2413 Western Avenue
  • Clark's Lake City Stationery and Office Supply, 12570 Bothell [Lake City] Way Northeast
  • Columbus Typewriter, 719 East Pike Street
  • Don's Office Equipment, 6022 California Avenue Southwest
  • Foster Office Equipment, 144 Southwest 152nd (Burien)
  • Hartman Office Equipment, 217 Sunset Boulevard North, Renton
  • Lar-Mac Office Machines, 159 Western Avenue West [Closed, 1975]
  • Lar-Mac Office Machines, 1014 Second Avenue 
  • McDonald's Business Machines, 6509 Roosevelt Way Northeast [formerly North End Business Machines]
  • Modern Office Equipment, 3126 California Avenue Southwest
  • National Office Equipment, 2621 1st Avenue
  • North End Business Machines, 6509 Roosevelt Way Northeast
  • Northwest Office Equipment, 707 2nd Avenue
  • Nye's Office Machines 12328 1/2 Lake City Way Northeast
  • Printing Calculator Co, 923 Western Avenue
  • Seattle Typewriter, Arcade Building
  • TI-FA Typewriter, 1811 East Olive Way
  • Typewriter Clinic, 1912 3rd Avenue (Moved to the address below in 1960.)
  • Typewriter Clinic, 2014 3rd Avenue
  • University Business Machines, 5501 University Way Northeast
  • University Typewriter and Mimeograph Co., 4226 University Way Northeast
  • Washington Typewriter, 1014 2nd Avenue

Monday, July 15, 2013

Consumer Reports' vs. the Olivetti Lettera 22

Olivetti Lettera 22

Tower Chieftain

I was reading reviews of various portable typewriters in Consumer Reports, when I noticed a discrepancy between the reviews of the Olivetti Lettera 22 and the nearly identical Sears Tower Chieftain. In 1957, Consumer Reports rated the Olivetti Lettera 22 as "Fair". (All compact portables that were available in 1957 were rated "Fair.") However, they much prefered the identical Sears Tower Chieftain. They stated
"None of the very small portables rated better than Fair in overall quality. One of the best of them was also the lowest-priced of the group, the Sears Tower Chieftain, $59.50 plus shipping."
The only difference between the Chieftain and the Lettera is the fact that the Lettera has a tabulator. In 1960, after Olivetti purchased Underwood, Consumer Reports suddenly liked the Lettera 22; they rated it as "Good"--it rated highest among lightweight typewriters. The only difference between the 1957 Olivetti Lettera 22 and the 1960 Lettera 22 is the addition of the Underwood name before the word "Olivetti" Other than the new name, the only other difference is the color; the 1957 is khaki, and the 1960 model is blue. By 1966, the Lettera 22 had been replaced by the Lettera 32. This typewriter was rated as "Good" The Lettera 32 was technically the "Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 32" in the United States. Before the Underwood/Olivetti merger, Consumer Reports did not like most Underwood portable typewriters--in 1957, the highest rating received by an Underwood was "Good." In 1948, Underwood Portables were considered "Fair." In 1946, Underwood's portable was rated "Not Acceptable." However, in 1941, the cheapest Underwood, the Leader, was rated a "Best Buy," but only when priced at $29.75 (Montgomery Ward's sold the Leader for $10 less than the list price of $39.75). In 1937, which was the year of Consumer Reports' first Portable Typewriter test, Underwood portables were rated as "Also Acceptable" (fairly high up in this category). Despite the ratings given to Olivetti portables, many writers love the Lettera series of portable typewriter. Recently, Cormac McCarthy's Lettera 32 sold at auction for $254,000. He used it from 1963 until 2009, when he replaced it with a different Lettera 32. The only maintenance McCarthy's typewriter received was the occaisonal cleaning with a gas station air hose. Source

Pettinger Typewriter, 1960s

The building next to Totem Pole Loans was home to Pettinger Typewriter in the 1960s. Thankfully most of these buildings have been restored.

The gray building in the photo above was replaced with a parking garage in the 1960s. The grimy brick building is the Pioneer Building. It has since been cleaned.

More neighborhood context. The Pioneer Building and the Howard Building are seen above. 

A close-up of the building with Pettinger Typewriter. This building, the Lowman Building, has since been restored.
Photos courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives.

1966 Smith-Corona Corsair and 1966 Sears Tutor

Here are the lids that the Sears Tutor and Smith-Corona Corsair are carried in.

Smith-Corona Corsair and Sears Tutor. Notice the angular ribbon cover on the Tutor.

Sears Tutor, 1966

Smith-Corona Corsair
For more information on these designs, go to Robert Messenger's excellent blog:

Smith-Corona Portable Dealers in Seattle, 1966
List is reprinted from the 1966 Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone Directory for Seattle
  • American Office Equipment, 900 4th Avenue 
  • Brown Typewriter, 5511 24th Avenue NW
  • Burt Typewriter, 1204 2nd Avenue
  • College Typewriter Shop, 22307 Marine View Drive, Des Moines
  • Foster Office Equipment, 144 SW 152nd Street, Burien
  • J.K. Gill's Lowman & Hanford, 4549 University Way NE
  • E.W. Hall, 2015 3rd Avenue
  • JAFCO, 520 Westlake Avenue North
  • North End Business Machines, 6603 Roosevelt Way NE
  • Nye's Office Machines, 12328 1/2 Bothell Way NE (Now Lake City Way NE)
  • Pettinger Typewriter, 105 Cherry Street
  • Typewriter Clinic, 2014 3rd Avenue
  • University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE
  • Washington Book Store, 4316 University Way NE
  • Washington Typewriter Co., 1014 2nd Avenue

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Remington 3 Instructions

This instruction flyer is courtesy of the Cornelia and Peter Weil Typewriter Archive.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Remington Case Brochure

This brochure is from Richard Polt. My Remington's case is in this style (custom from the Remington factory)  complete with stripes and storage compartments. It has the same lining as the case on the left of the first page.

Monday, July 8, 2013

1929 Remington Model 3

I bought this typewriter over the weekend in Sedro-Wooley, Washington. It was manufactured in March, 1929. This typewriter, called the Remington Model 3, was introduced in 1928, and discontinued in 1938. It came in several attractive color schemes; this one is "Colette and Endowa" Blue.
While this typewriter looks green from some angles, it is actually two-tone blue.
A Nyanza and Cellini Green Remington is seen below.
Below are ads provided to me by Richard Polt. His site devoted to prewar Remington portables can be found here:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Olympia Typewriter Dealers, 1972

Acme Office Machines
1826 N. 45th Street
Seattle, WA

Burt Typewriter     (Closed 1975)
1204 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA

Mako's Typewriter
5435 Ballard Avenue NW
Seattle, WA

Seattle Typewriter
Arcade Building
Seattle, WA

TI-FA Typewriter
1811 E Olive Way
Seattle, WA

Smith-Corona Silent-Super, 1957

I found this typewriter at my local Value Village after selling a 1946 Smith-Corona Sterling.  Although I only paid $12 for it, it came with all of its accessories, including its instruction manual, a brush, a new ribbon in its box, a touch typing card, and a "Holiday Case." It is painted in Seafoam (really celery) green. The previous owner wrote 11-23-57 on the manual--I assume that this is the date that it was sold. 
 (Nick Bodemer Collection)
From the Seattle Times, September 15, 1957