Just as I was calming down from another of my early morning "bloody eBay sellers" bouts, there was a shout from the front door and the Sri Lankan postman was standing there with a stack of boxes almost as high as himself. There were four boxes, two from the US and two from Germany, each containing an extremely well packed typewriter - a real mixed bunch, two blacks, a blue and a green. But definitely the pick of them is this 1933 Smith-Corona myrtle green "flattop" (serial #1032059) in beautiful condition and good working order, so I guess it has been another Green Typewriter Day for me, my second or now third in six months. Since I find green a calming colour, this one certainly did the trick! Gee, some sellers really do know how to pack a typewriter.
Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
While writing my "Portables, ETCetera" column for the next edition of ETCetera (due out next month), I spent many hours trawling through typewriter listings on eBay in Germany, Australia, the US and other countries, as well as on Etsy. The column is on Japanese typewriters and I was interested to find out the numbers of these listed in various countries, as opposed to "home" brands that are much more common in, say, Germany and the US. There is a direct correlation in each country between typewriters available for sale today and the numbers which were sold there as new. For instance, very, very few Blickensderfers come up for sale in Australia, because Blickensderfers were never sold new in this country. Likewise, Corona four-banks before the Series 5, which were relabelled here anyway. Conversely, there are an awful lot of Imperials for sale in New Zealand, because at one time Imperial was the only brand sold in New Zealand - it was British and therefore could be imported there.
The availability of certain typewriter brands and models becomes quickly apparent when one starts collecting and confines oneself to, say, Australian eBay. When Will Davis added Australia ("A World Apart") to his Portable Typewriter Reference Site in 2007, Richard Amery and I were pleasantly surprised to realise typewriters readily available to us (that is, Japanese-made machines) were not all that common elsewhere. Nothing excites Will's interest more than makes and models that aren't, at least for him, run-of-the-mill.
Anyway, as you might imagine, the many hours spent trawling through thousands of eBay and Etsy listings felt much more like an indulgence than a chore. As a result, I finished up buying a few typewriters. But I was particularly interested to come across typewriters with which I had not been previously familiar.
Take for example the Filius typewriter at the top of this post. It was made for a Cologne bulk purchase company called Juwel sometime after 1936, but started life the previous year as the Dankers. Dankers was from 1904 a trade training institute in Hamburg which later sold Hassia typewriters and started importing US machines, as well the parts to assemble American typewriters in Germany.
In 1935 Dankers had manufacturer J.A.Heinr make for it a portable. The beauty of this was that there were three versions, selling at 109.50, 125 and 130 (with case) marks - but you could buy the 109.50 model and then buy and add to it the bits that made up the 125 model, thus saving a little money.
Dankers started selling the portable in bulk to Juwel and in 1936 Juwel took over the production rights, founding the Juwel Typewriter Company in Cologne. The Filius later became known as the Juwel Flott.
But getting back to Japanese typewriters. I have long been aware of the Brother-made Remington portables (Richard Polt has posted on his 333) but have never been able to get my hands on one (they were never sold in this country). So I was staggered to find this range of Silver-Seiko-made Remington portables on Etsy. I had had no idea Silver-Seiko made typewriters labelled Remington - surely it is the only company to have made Royals, Imperials, Adlers, Triumphs and Remingtons. One of these is listed as an "Idool", but I'm wondering whether that should be "1000L"? I am also wondering whether, when Litton Industries moved production of Royals, Imperials and Adlers/Triumphs to Nakajima in 1974, Silver-Seiko then started making Remingtons. Or was Silver-Seiko's deal with Remington the cause of the switch?
In Holland, a seller called Nigmegen has listed these later model Carl Sundberg-designed Remington Monarchs, labelled as the Remington 2000.Here are some more models that I hadn't seen before. First a Consul 231.3 called a Bianca:
Below is another Consul 231.3. I believe after the Boston Marathon bombing, there was some difficulty distinguishing between Chechnya and the Czech Republic. But this one, while recognised as of Czech origin, is referred to as "German vintage". Uh?
This lime green Splendid looks to me to be very much like one of the later model, plastic Consuls, sold here (as with the 231.3 Consul) as a Pacific 30:
Two Brothers that were new to me - but, then, I am certain there are many, many Brothers that I am still yet to see. The interesting thing here is that both use the same Akio Kondo design from 1960:
I hadn't come across this later model Maritsa, the 25, either. It is also known as a Hebros 1300:
This Pacific 22, listed on Etsy by an Australian seller, is the earlier Maritsa. Below it is a Princess, also made by Maritsa:
This Antares-Underwood seems to be called a Hercules 200. Below it is a Antares Lisa 30 as a Luxor 52. In Australia these were called Craftamatic:
One model I had only ever seen as an Underwood 21 is this Olivetti Studio De Lux from 1966:
From France, a Japy P90 and a Julietta known to me as the Antares Compact and the Lagomarsino LP44:
And from Germany, a Robotron (Erika/Optima) as a Präsident, an Erika as her sister Ursula (thanks for pointing that out Anonymous, whoever you are!) and a Torpedo 30 with the ribbon spool cover hole for a wristwatch, but no wristwatch!Finally, a really shiny Optima, a Remie Scout mounted on boards and a Lilliput listed as a real typewriter. I found that one of the most remarkable things about the Remie Scout is that it sits so solidly on the writing surface - the thought of placing it on boards never occurred to me (let alone as necessary). At bottom, the Olympia 8 "Tiko" written about by Norbert Schwarz in the April 2012 edition (No 87) of the International Forum Historische Buröwelt's Historische Buröwelt:
Monday, 20 May 2013
Little did I think at 2.27 this morning, still half asleep as I waited to (unsuccessfully) bid on a nice burgundy woodgrain Rheinmetall portable typewriter on German eBay, that I had opened a small can of worms. As I waited, I posted on my Mercedes K45, saying that it was directly descended from the Mercedes Selecta, not the Superba, which I already knew (from my own collection) to have a distinctive high, bulbous top plate. The Selecta (which I also own) and K45 have flat, sliding ribbon spool covers, as well as the same switch on the left of the front panel. What's more, I am unable to find any images or written material confirming the existence of a Mercedes K50 typewriter. The only Mercedes K50 I can find is a car. Was a K50 typewriter ever made?
This is what I believed had confirmed my impression of the Selecta-K45 lineage:
This is what I believed had confirmed my impression of the Selecta-K45 lineage:
Ernst Martin's Die Schreibmaschinen und ihre-Entwicklungsgeschichte (1949)
Leonard Dingwerth's Die Geschichte der Deutschen Schreibmaschinen-Fabriken, Band 1 (2008):
These are images of my Selecta, K45 and Superba
Note the spelling on my model is "Selekta" and on Georg's it is "Selecta". "Selecta" is the more usual.
Here are some other Selectas and K45s:
Georg Sommeregger Collection
Here are some more Superbas:
Richard Polt Collection
I'll let you be the judge as to which the K45 is descended from. In my opinion, the answer is pretty obvious and lies quite evidently in the design of the machine. Do you believe your own eyes, or lists of numbers which include a non-existent typewriter?