Following on from buying the Reader’s Digest 1000, and having read up on Korean typewriters on Will’s site, I was able to obtain a Marathon 1000 DLX (deluxe), which is quite a nice typer.
The Dong-Ah company is headquartered in Dongtan-Myeon in Hwaseong City, just south of Seoul. It was founded as the Dong-Ah Corporation in 1975 and on December 11, 1989, the Dong-Ah Precision Industry Company was established.
Will’s page on Korean typewriters is at:
He begins by looking at the Silver-Seiko clone, the Clover, made by K-Mek Inc in 1978. This company began life in 1973 as Sae-Han Pacific Company and became K-Mek in mid-1977. It started making typewriters in April the following year. The company evolved into Kyungbang Machinery Co in 1989 then Growell Metal Inc.
Will says Silver-Seiko sold off its tooling for manual portables in 1978; the small portables and the larger portables such as the Marathon/Reader’s Digest models went to Korea while a mid-size portable went to Bulgaria (I am about to post on this machine, the Maritsa 22).
Will says the Reader’s Digest 1000 is derived from the Silver-Reed 500 series. He says the Royal Safari III, identical to the Marathon 1000 DLX, was made in Korea after Litton's deal with Silver-Seiko expired in the late 1970s.
“The much more common Royal Safari III (pictured above) … is essentially identical to the Reader's Digest 1000. Other examples of this machine can be found labelled with the name Marathon.”
Will also raises the question of a Chinese connection somewhere along the way, and I must say the Reader’s Digest 1000 has, to me, all the look and feel of Chinese typewriters. The Marathon, however, feels somewhat different, a better typer all round.
I found on flickr another variation, a 9910TR with a Thai keyboard from Brian Chase of Portland:
And elsewhere a Marathon with a Korean keyboard: