Sunday, December 28, 2014

1980 Hermes Rocket

This typewriter was made in Brazil by Hermes Precisa International in 1980 (According to the 1980 OMEF Age Guide, it was made after 1/1/1980.)

1968 Sears (Cutlass)

Red Royal Revisited

This is one of the last Royal Custom (Pre Royal Custom II) typewriters made. It was manufactured in the last week of December, 1966

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

On Tuesday, my dad and I went to the big Seattle Goodwill store. I found a perfect Brazillian Hermes Rocket, in light gray. He surprised me by paying for it. It is the first compact Hermes typewriter to have a ribbon-color-selector and a jam-release/margin release key. It also has a full-size carriage-return lever!
 My camera does not do it justice (my good camera died last month)
Many people are more familiar with the Olivetti version of this typewriter--the Olivetti Lettera 82. (Many typewriters are not fond of the Lettera 82--Robert Messenger referred to it as a "piece of plastic dross." His example definitely has an alignment issue, but other Lettera 82's type samples are relatively good.) Some Lettera 82 portables even come in brown! (I am particularly fond of brown typewriters, even the Portuguese Royal Safari)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Quick Quiz/Upcoming model

The new model I will post soon is an oddity. It was made by one of the most popular typewriter manufacturers. Despite this, only 15,000 machines were made (including the DeLuxe model)
It is basket-shifted, has a 42 key keyboard, but lacks the following:

  • Ribbon color selector
  • Touch selector
  • Paper supports
  • a locking mechanism in the case
  • Its own serial number range
  • A gloss finish
  • A tabulator
It does have a bell, which should eliminate the Remette. It also has margins, and a margin release key, and a backspacer.

The first three people to guess correctly will get to choose the background texture for the next photo. Sample choices can be seen below:
E.W. Hall store, 1937-1961. (Courtesy, Puget Sound Regional Archives)
The Smith Tower/an old postcard
Reprint of newspaper article from the Seattle Times, 1938 (about E.W. Hall's move)
Brick-textured cardboard
Photo of Pioneer Square, Seattle
Totem Pole
Drawing of the Lowman and Hanford Building, Seattle
Seattle Telephone Directory, 1940

Saturday, December 6, 2014

1966 Consul typewriter

This is an amazing typewriter! It was made on September 24, 1966 in Zbrojovka Brno's Czechoslovakian typewriter factory. Everything about this typewriter is incredible. Even the carrying case indicates an unusual level of care and effort. (Especially when compared to the cases of many American compact typewriters.) This typewriter is one of the lowest-priced models made, lacking a ribbon color selector and a tabulator. In addition, it only has a 42-key keyboard. Yet, despite it being a low-priced model, it feels remarkably well-made. (Unlike many other low-priced compact typewriters from this period: Corsair, Royalite, Holiday, Tutor...just to name a few) It has all of the mechanical quality of a much larger typewriter. It could probably give an Olympia SM a run for its money. (Or even a Hermes Rocket!)  Using the 1532, one thing becomes instantly apparent: this typewriter was made for people with various size hands, unlike many ultra-portables, many of which I personally believe were designed for Jane Jetson. 
 This is a very sturdy case. It inspires so much faith in terms of quality.
 Looking at this typewriter is like a strange ray of sunshine
 The bottom color is a different color than the ribbon cover.
 The logo to the left of "Model 1532" is the logo for Zbrojovka Brno, the company that made this typewriter.

The colors on this Consul are amazing too! Individually, each color would probably be bleak, depressing and/or ugly. However, when they are all put together, they make a wonderful and cheerful pallete, that could probably light up the gray Brutalist world of  Communism (think Pripyat, East Berlin, etc.) 

The company that made this typewriter is Zbrojovka Brno. Zbrojovka Brno was a large arms manufacturer. They made the BRNO gun during World War Two, automobiles (in the 1930s), and typewriters. .

It is not unusual for a gunmaker to make typewriters--Lyman Cornelius Smith, founder of the Smith-Premier typewriter company and the L.C. Smith (later part of Smith-Corona) also founded Smith and Wesson.

Many companies that sold the Consul referred to it as a "European Import." Others imported the parts into Canada, where they became a "Canadian" Commodore typewriter. Other importers brought them to America from Canada in the trunks of their cars. Ironically, while Western musicians' music was being bootlegged into the USSR and East Berlin, American typewriter dealers were doing the same basic thing. Bundy typewriter was one of the biggest importers; many older Bundy-branded typewriters are, in fact, Consuls and Maritsas (from Bulgaria). By the 1980s, Royal imported Bulgarian Maritsas as the Safari IV. There is a Dutch typewriter called the Forto. However, in design, it is clearly a Consul Silent. Not much is known about it.  Many small jewelers sold a typewriter called the Consul Comet. This was mechanically identical to this typewriter, but in an all-metal body. In Canada, it is possible to buy a Tower portable typewriter that was made by Commodore (but is really a Consul!) (see this link: )