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Tuesday 17 April 2012

Many More Toy Typewriters: Mostly from Samuel Berger

I was pleasantly surprised by the interest shown in the 40-odd toy typewriters I posted on a week or two ago. These were toy typewriters being considered for my July-September exhibition at the Canberra Museum and Gallery, and were in the main full keyboard machines.At the time, I mentioned a number of index toy typewriters I had in storage, which weren't being considered for the exhibition. But given the number of visits to the previous toy typewriter post, I decided to dig them out and post on these as well - plus, to start with, some other keyboard machines I had overlooked back then.
Most of the index typewriters - including Berwins, Mettoys, the Mettype, the Dial-Marx typewriters and the Unique Portable - were designed by Samuel Irving Berger (1889-1970), of Newark, New Jersey.
There are a couple of repeat showings here, relating to patents:
Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb design by Alfred Oswald, Hackensack, New Jersey, 1934
Tom Thumb Index
 Polt Challenger
(This is a heavy-duty, fully functional
typewriter in Spanish national colours)
Berwin, designed by Samuel Berger
Berwin Gold
Berwin Superior
Mettoy Elegant, also designed by Samuel Berger
Mettype Junior

Mettoy Reporter
Mettoy Messenger
Mettoy Perfect
Unique Portable, also designed by Samuel Berger
De-Luxe Dial Typewriter (Marx), designed by Samuel Berger, 1941
Dial (Marx)
Dial (Marx)
Junior Dial Typewriter (Marx)
Marx Junior Reporter, designed by Samuel Berger
(A Louis Marx Toys history website points put that Marx toys are often mistaken as being branded "MAR" - the large "X" behind the letters "MAR" in the logo is, in other words, often overlooked)
Petite Excel, designed for Britains Petite Ltd
by Martin J. Richards, of Gedling, England. Petite toy typewriters were made by Jardine of Nottingham, more famous among typewriter collectors for the British Bar-Lock, Bar-Let and Byron "real" typewriters (not to forget the Byron lookalike, the Kamkap/Revere toy typewriter).

Petite Storyteller
Mickey Mouse Junior Typewriter
Sesame Street Typewriter
Smith-Corona stamping typewriter
designed by Earl Boisselier of Glen Ellyne, Illinois
Barbie typewriter, designed for Mehano of Slovenia
by a team of Italians and Slovenians


shordzi said...

Wow, excellent overview - plus you found the "Barbie" patent!

Scott K said...

Some stunning examples here. Clearly it is entirely plausible to find a passion in collecting these machines alone!

Thank you for sharing. Some of these things are pure works of art, with curves and shapes that have become symbolic of the era that they were made in. Your photographs are great, but I feel that some of these are worth spending some quality time photographing well, as they have so much amazing character to them.

Ted said...

I'm surprised Richard Polt doesn't thumb-wrestle you to the ground for that "Polt Challenger"!

notagain said...

is that Smith-Corona as odd as I think it is?

Duffy Moon said...

"Polt Challenger"!? Fantastic!

Those are all like candy. Love it.

Robert Messenger said...

Thank you Georg, Scott, Ted, Peter and Duffy.
Scott, when you come to Canberra for the July-September exhibition, you are welcome to take some of these toy typewriters home with you to photograph at your leisure. I agree, some would make some spectacular pics.
Ted, Richard is welcome to the Polt Challenger, but it weighs so much it would cost heaps to post!
Peter, the two S-Cs are toy stamping devices, what more can I say? I don't think it looks odd for a toy stamping device, but then I haven't seen too many toy stamping devices ...
Duffy, I plan to also post on 30 odd Simplexes shortly. More candy ...

Richard P said...

What is this, April Fool's Day?!

I had to laugh out loud when I saw the Challenger. I'm sure an explanation will be forthcoming in due course ...

How DOES that Smith-Corona "stamping" typewriter work?

I have a Marx Dial like the next-to-last one you show here. Do you have an estimate of its date?

Thanks for all this ... especially the PC!

Robert Messenger said...

Hi Richard. It's no joke trying to type with the Polt Challenger, you need to be a heavyweight boxer to punch the keys, they're so heavy. But there's been so much interest in it, I might make a video of someone (George Foreman?) typing with it! It does work fine, it's just heavy going.Don't know why there's so much weight in it.
The stamping devices work, I gather, by lifting one of the keys/stumps, inking the bottom of it on a pad in front of the "platen", then pressing it on paper held by the "bail" - the bail is ridged so the letters are spaced evenly. The "keys" are identified by an embossed letter on top and the letter to be inked at the bottom. I think that's it, I've never tried them out.
The year estimated for that Marx Dial by Darryl and Roxana Marie Matter in their toy typewriter book is 1935, but it may be even slightly earlier than that. The one they illustrate was sold at Christmas 1935.

Robert Messenger said...

Hi Richard, me again: two add-ons. 1. The stamping toy keys have ridges along the front edge, so that they slot firmly into the paper bail, which lifts up for the paper. The stamping area, the "platen", has a felt surface. 2. I just tried the Polt Challenger again. Recent use and lubrication must have freed up the typebars etc, because now it's typing beautifully and smoothly, with the heaviness of the keys completely gone.

Richard P said...

Thanks for the explanations, Robert. I still feel "challenged" by that "Polt," though!