Its Rise and Fall
From a German Gem to Japanese Junk:
5 Backward Steps in 25 Short Years
1975Paul Friedrich Karl Gossen (above, born Stargard, December 13, 1872), a businessman and electro-technology engineer, established Paul Gossen & Co K-G Fabrik elektrischer Messgeräte in Baiersdorff in 1919. The company moved to Erlangen early the next year.
Between 1939-45 his factories had been taken over to be used in the German war effort. When he died, in Nuremberg on June 30, 1942, aged 69, Gossen’s company was inherited by his widow Rosa and children Charlotte Klarner, Elisabeth Seiler and Hans Gossen, with the chief executive officers Hans Gossen (below) and Charlotte’s husband Dr Karl Klarner.
In August 1945, the American military government allowed the Gossen company to return to its former business.
In 1939 Gossen had bought a former brush factory in the Gluckstrasse and it was in this building that in 1948 the company began planning typewriter production. The factory became known as Tippa-Werkes.
Production of the “office in a briefcase” started in 1950 and so successful was the Gossen Tippa portable typewriter that in October 1951, Gossen was churning out a typewriter every eight minutes.
The little "original" caught on fast, but in the mid-50s Gossen decided to abandon this very basic if effective design for something a little more stylish: the Pilot (also the Tippa B), with its Hermes Baby-like gull-winged ribbon covers. The "look" came at the cost of some of the original Tippa's typeability, however.
This gave the impression of a slightly larger machine, through a much broader "lipped" base, though it was not much higher, if at all. The sturdy and equally stylish Gossen case included compartments for stationery, the "necessaries" (see below) which allowed the company to promote the concept of an "office on a briefcase":
Perhaps the changes impacted on sales, as Gossen decided after just six years of making typewriters (about 100,000 in all) to once more concentrate on what it knew best. In the Autumn of 1956 the license for the Tippa was sold to Adler, although for a time it continued to be made by Gossen.
The new-look Adler Tippa won a design award in Milan in 1960 and another in Germany in 1962. It is a fine writing machine, too, and fully deserved the widespread popularity it enjoyed, rivalling the earlier Tippas.
Like its 1969 Olivetti rival the Valentine, the Tippa S is very pretty to look at, but as a typing machine it is a lemon, a real yellow dog. The SCM Super Ghia is superior in all regards to both.
The final step in the decline of the once-glorious Tippa was taken in Japan, where Litton took production of Adlers and Triumphs in the early 1970s. The Japanese Tippas were made by Nakajima. With supreme irony, these were branded the “Tippa De Luxe”. They aren't a patch on the original, "de luxe" or otherwise. Oh, how the once mighty mouse had fallen.