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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Mawle's Mystery Portable Typewriter

Before posting on British Typewriters Ltd founder Norman William Reginald Mawle yesterday, I contacted his grandson, Guy Mawle, to ask if Guy had any other typewriter-related information or documents which had belonged to his grandfather.
Guy spent most of the day scanning in the iceberg tip of a treasure trove of historical typewriter material (it makes me shudder to think how much more of this type of material is still out there, held by typewriter-connected families). 
Among the items Guy kindly scanned was this image of a typewriter I have never seen before.
Guy Mawle trained as a biologist and economist and joined the Welsh Water Authority as a Fisheries Scientist in 1985. He left the Environment Agency in March 2001 as national Fisheries Manager, after 15 years at head office. He is now a trustee of the Wye & Usk Foundation and also a Fellow of the Institute of Fisheries Management.
My first guess is that it is the prototype of a portable typewriter British (or Empire) Typewriters planned to make, perhaps late in the 1950s. Talks about a takeover by Smith-Corona-Marchant apparently began in 1958, and the takeover occurred in 1960.
Until then, British Typewriters had been making the Hermes Featherweight-Baby under licence, marketing them as the Baby Empire and later the Empire Aristocrat.
Has anyone ever seen the typewriter shown above? Perhaps it was one made by another company, maybe Swiss? It seems rather similar in some ways to a Calanda? If you know what it is, please let me know.
I have a lot more material now to post about Mr Mawle and British Typewriters Ltd, so watch this space, as they say ...

10 comments:

Bill M said...

Sure is an odd looking typewriter. Looks old with modern keys.

writelephant.com said...

British Olivetti prototype?

Scott Kernaghan said...

This looks like it has more in common with a Royal than any other make.

Richard P said...

How very cool! I love seeing images of typewriters I have never seen before.

As Scott says, the appearance is reminiscent of a Royal in some ways. But the only mechanical details that are actually visible are on the left end of the carriage, so that's where to start comparisons if one wants to.

Looks like a photo of a prototype that was really built and may even still exist somewhere.

Robert Messenger said...

Yes Richard, I have been looking at the small opening on the ribbon spools cover, the carriage lever, the paper guide, the panelling at the front and the swoop in the trim around the spools cover. None of the portables I've looked at have yet matched it. That includes a Spanish Regia.

toronto guy said...

It looks to me like a cross between a Royal, a Torpedo and a Halda.

shordzi said...

Looks like an updated.version of the Hermes Baby to me. Mind that BRitish typewriters had taken up production of the Hermes 2000 at the same time pre-war as the Hermes Baby, under the name Empire junior. Apparently, production did not resume after ww2, and this photo might be a trace of a would be production?

shordzi said...

Correction: i meant an updated version of the Hermes 2000, of course.

toronto guy said...

It looks an awful lot like this early Hermes 2000 from 'Machines of Loving Grace':

http://machinesoflovinggrace.com/large/hermes2k.jpg

Robert Messenger said...

Not sure why there's a need to link to Alan's website when that model Hermes 2000 is well and truly covered on this blog and also by Georg on his blog.