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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Portuguese Typewriter


As Richard Amery will readily testify, I have long scorned the humble ABC 2000S. But since I needed a portable to exhibit Portuguese-designed and built typewriters, I had to dig one out and dust it off.
And it needed some cleaning up, too, because, as Richard will also tell you, it had long languished at the bottom of a pile in my shed.
Jesus Filipe Genesio, of Alqueirao, Portugal, designed in the early 1970s this none-too-impressive ABC 2000S portable typewriter for Messa-Maquinas de Escrever (Messa writing machines) SARL, of Mem Martins.
It is a far cry from the Wilhelm Wagenfeld-designed ABC portable typewriter more familiar to most of us as the Cole Steel.
Wagenfeld designed the original ABC portable for Koch’s Adler Nähmaschinenwerke AG, which sold the relabelled machines to Cole-Steel Office Machines Inc, an affiliate of the Cole Steel Equipment Company, New York.
In 1965, after Cole Steel became a part of the Litton empire, Koch’s offloaded the tools and naming rights for the ABC to Portugal. In Algueirão–Mem Martins outside Lisbon, a company called Messa SARI (société à responsabilité limitée) had been set up to make German Siemag (short for Siegener Maschinenbau AG) typewriters. Siemag moved its plant from Eiserfeld, Siegen-Wittgenstein in North Rhine-Westphalia, to Mem Martins in 1963.
Messa turned the German ABC into a small plastic portable for Sears in the US (it was marketed under the name Lemair in Australia). The machine was then developed into a larger body and, according to Will Davis at the European Typewriter Project, http://machinesoflovinggrace.com/ptf/EuropePortugal.html “given more options; this was the ABC 2000S”.
ABC 2000 (all metal?) from the late Tilman Elster's Collection,
European Typewriter Project
Will says the ABC 2000 series “was sold to Litton, who distributed the [slightly restyled] machine as the Royal and Imperial Safari (see above). Some machines were sold by Brother of Japan in a model series beginning with XL, such as the Brother XL-1010 (see below) and XL-1016.
“Variants of this group also appeared as the Sears Chevron, and as the Sears Capri. The Brother machine actually says Capri on its paper table.”
Messa, of course, had earlier made Royal and Imperial Safaris for Litton according the original US design, with an all-metal body.


8 comments:

Bill M said...

Nice post. I never knew a Portugese typewriter existed other than the ones made for other companies.

Justin Sullivan said...

I just picked up a Sabre and am curious as to which city these typewriters were produced. Google doesn't seem to have much information on where. Any ideas as to a location of production in Portugal?

Justin Sullivan said...

I just picked up a Sabre and am curious as to which city these typewriters were produced. Google doesn't seem to have much information on where. Any ideas as to a location of production in Portugal?

Robert Messenger said...

It would be a good idea to actually read this post.

Addrian said...

Sorry for disturbing You,but I nave a question.I nave a messa 2000s and I am interesat to sell IT.WHat is the price that I can obtain for, and avere I could sell this messa 2000s?
Thank You very much !

Addrian said...

Sorry for disturbing You,but I nave a question.I nave a messa 2000s and I am interesat to sell IT.WHat is the price that I can obtain for, and avere I could sell this messa 2000s?
Thank You very much !

David Rodrigues said...

This company `Messa' was the reason why in 1937 the portuguese dictator Salazar ordered that all typewriters in Portugal had to have the obsolete HCESAR keyboard layout (that was the `oficial national layout'). It was a measure to try to protect and give monopoly of typewriters in Portugal to Messa, but soon after foreign companies started adjusting the layouts of the machines they sent to Portugal. In some cases people didn't want to use HCESAR, so foreign companies would ship AZERTY / QWERTY typewriters with the keys not glued. This were rearranged in a HCESAR layout, because customs would do a visual inspection of every typewriter imported but not a writing test. Then at home you would just swap the keys to your ordered layout.

Here are couple of links about this:

HCESAR - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HCESAR
http://p3.publico.pt/vicios/hightech/4710/o-teclado-do-futuro-da-visao-de-salazar-actual (in PT)

MESSA - http://algueirao-memmartins.blogspot.pt/2012/08/fabrica-da-messa.html (in PT)

John Moore said...

I'm looking for a PDF of the manual for the 2000s/Sears Chevron that I just sold (to the parent of a 9-year-old!)... any help would be appreciated. (Yes, I've done some rather extensive searching, and have visited lots of the relevant sites.)
Thanks, in advance.