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Saturday, 30 April 2011

Thrust-Action Typewriters: Is the Blick Universal German?

I can't definitively answer the question I just posed. I'm wondering now, after much research, whether anyone can, with 100 per cent certainty (given my Universal has no manufacturer's markings). But when Rob Bowker asked me about the country-of-origin of the Blick Universal, I promised I'd bring out the Big Guns - the Adler Model 7 and the Empire (as well as the Adler Favorit) - and compare them for size and design.
My contention at the time of posting on the Blick Universal  - without actually lining them all up together and comparing them - was that the Blick was much lighter and more compact than the German-made Adlers, and in turn the Canadian-made Empire, though all four are based on Wellington Kidder Parker's original thrust-action design (for the Wellington).
So here's the tale of the tape (and weighting machine), Rob:
Adler Model 7 - 23lbs, carriage width 14 3/4in, length 14 1/2in, height from boots to top plate, 5 7/8in.
Empire - 16lbs, carriage width 12 3/4in, length 13 3/4in, height from boots to top plate, 5 1/4in
Blick Universal - 10lbs, carriage width 12 1/4in, length 10 3/4in, height from boots to top plate, 4 1/8in
You will also note a significance difference in the typebar arrangement on all four machines, though less so between the Adler 7 and the Empire.
German-made or not German-made, the Blick Universal is decidely a differently designed machine from the Adler Model 7 and the Empire (and obviously the Favorit). It is markedly lighter and smaller. As I said before, I have not seen an Adler model or an Empire that looks quite like the Blick Universal, certainly not in terms of size.


Richard P said...

I think you'd want to look at a later Klein-Adler ("little Adler"). But I don't know the answer to your question of where the BU was made.

Rob Bowker said...

Robert: Love those big Adlers! Thanks for a great display and conscientious scale mongering. I have to confess, I have weighed my bikes on a bathroom scale, but never a typewriter! Yet.

Richard, you took the words right out of my mouth. Like an Adler, but little.

I do prefer the modern typography on the Blick's top plate to the blackletter on the Adler's.

Adwoa said...

Thanks for the comparison, Robert! I'm currently contemplating an Adler Favorit and would be glad to know your thoughts on those as well as the measurements, whenever you have a chance.