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 ProjectWill 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.