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Friday, 22 August 2014

The French Contin Typewriter: Ideal or Continental, or Neither?

Has anyone ever seen a Contin? It's the typewriter I will probably NEVER use!
Is the Contin no more than the French version of the German Continental? Conventional wisdom would have us believe that's what it is.
This is a 1922 Continental
I don't think it is. To start with, Contin is actually short for Continsouza (as in movie projectors, rifles), not Continental.
What's more, if it is a French version of a German typewriter, it's much more likely to be an Ideal:
Image courtesy of Georg Sommeregger
The Ideal model C
But I'll let you be the judge.
The Contin was definitely manufactured in France - it wasn't assembled there from German parts or simply rebranded in France. (Contin did, apparently, rebrand Remington portables.)
When the Contin was launched in August 1922, it got extensive coverage in US trade journal Typewriter Topics, without any reference to the Continental or the Ideal. Topics' 1923 typewriter history has an entry on the Contin which makes no connection with Continental or the Ideal.
Ernst Martin, however, gives Contin as one of many model names for the Continental, without referring specifically to France. This may have led to Dirk Schumann's serial number database listing the Contin as a French Continental. Martin doesn't, as far I can make out, mention the Contin in his Ideal entry.
Typewriter Topics, 1922
Michael Adler has an entry on the Contin without mentioning the Continental or the Ideal.
Leonhard Dingwerth doesn't mention the Contin in his chapters on Wanderer-Werke of Schönau (Continental) and Seidel & Naumann of Dresden (Ideal), but elsewhere lists the Contin as a French machine.
The Iberia. See Richard Polt's comment. I don't think I'll be shipping one in from Spain or France!

9 comments:

shordzi said...

I checked Martin and he is very clear about this: Contin = Ideal B. Wanderer (Continental) had registered the brandname "Contin" just in case - to my knowledge they never used it, though.
Interesting Dirk S. made this mistake.

shordzi said...

Sorry, shordzi mistake: Ideal D!

Ted said...

Well, we can fix it now, you know. (:

So, should I change the reference '"Continental" produced in France' that Dirk S. attributes to Sources #7 and #13 (the 1941 and 1955 "Liste der Herstellungsdaten") to something like 'Contin, a rebadged Ideal D, was built in France by Continsouza.' and attribute that entry to Source #4 (Ernst Martin, Die Schreibmaschine und ihre Entwicklungsgeschichte)?

Robert Messenger said...

Not that it matters a whole lot, since it is clearly an Ideal, but I checked too and I'd say Martin is far from clear. In my edition, "Contin" is not even indexed. Martin and Dingwerth both say the Model D came out in 1925, three years after the Contin. The image I used is a Ideal Model C from 1919.
Ted, yes it should be changed to make it clear it is not a Continental. But I'm not sure about the attribution, sorry.

Richard P said...

"The machine that you will probably use." -- What an anemic, feeble slogan! Much better is Underwood's "The typewriter that you will eventually buy."

They're pretty common in France.

Richard P said...

By the way, a clone was made in Spain as the Iberia.

Robert Messenger said...

Thanks Richard. "The machine you will probably use" - I figured something might have got lost in translation!

Ted said...

Ok, changed the verbiage on the database to remove references to "Continental", added "similar to Ideal 'C'", and deleted the "Continental (France)" marque that pointed to Contin.

The Hammersmith said...

Nice post about a weird fringe manufacturer/licensee?

I just found a Contin Portable. Just like the Remington Rand/Junior Portable from around 1933. Very interesting. A green case too... :/