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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Adler Model 32 Portable: Sweet Typewriter Eye Candy

Experience dictates that there will be days when one makes good and satisfying progress with the typewriters one is working on, and there will be days when one won’t. On those last mentioned days, the thing to do is to put the troublesome typewriters to one side and stamp on that sense of frustration by taking out a beautiful old typewriter, one in excellent working order. And either just admire it, or type with it, preferably the latter. It makes one feel much better about oneself.
Today was one such day. I needed to change a few things on the FuNkOMaTiC, reverting to the base of a Nakajima ALL from a preferred Silver-Seiko (there are subtle differences, believe it or not), and there were delays with that. While I was able to reset the mainspring and reattach the drawband on a gorgeous old, shiny black Imperial standard desktop, the ribbon vibrator still left me with a problem.
The holdups meant I was unable to collect another 20 typewriters from storage to add to the 40 I had brought back home in the previous three days, putting me further behind schedule on that particular pressing project.
So at midday I abandoned all those tasks and instead opened the case of my Adler Model 32 portable typewriter, gasped yet again at its sheer beauty, and then, for the first time in the month since I acquired it, I began to type on it. How I had managed to resist doing so earlier is one of those unanswerable questions, I’m afraid to say. Things just plum got in the way.
I took possession of the Adler Model 32 on the evening of the opening of my typewriter exhibition, on July 14. I can’t say that had I owned it earlier, it might have been included in the exhibition, certainly not at the expense of my Klein Adler 2 (below). Nonetheless, surrounded by the 101 beautiful typewriters that are on display, this one still stood out. It would be no exaggeration to say my eyes feasted upon it.
Lothar Gerhardt, a retired management support provider, came down from Newcastle, 283 miles (453 kilometres) north-east of Canberra, to attend the typewriter exhibition opening, bringing his charming wife and his fantastic, exceedingly well-preserved Adler Model 32 with him.
Until Lothar first showed me the Adler, I had been under the mistaken impression that Adler had persevered with thrust-action typewriters, including portables such as the Klein Adler No 2 (1925), which is in the exhibition, and the Favorit (1935, seen with the Klein Adler 2, below), to the total exclusion of frontstroke machines.
However, on checking Wilf Beeching’s Century of the Typewriter and also the European Typewriter Project website, put together by Will Davis and the late Tilman Elster, I discovered that Adler did indeed make frontstroke machines before World War II, dating from the standard-sized Model 31 of 1931.
The Model 32 appears to have been the first Adler frontstroke portable and it clearly dates from 1931 or 1932 (Beeching says 1932), even before the Favorit first came out. Tilman pointed out there was an upgraded version of the thrust-action Klein Adler 2 which was first made in 1929 and called the Adler Model 30.
Tilman Elster dated his Adler Model 32 (below) from 1933 and gave the serial number as 431976.
An Adler Model 32 (below) now on sale through an American online store called ICandy Collectables (price $US175, $A166) has the serial number 455922 and the seller dates it from 1934.
My Model 32 has the serial number 589962, which would suggest it was made much later in the 1930s. Certainly, when production resumed after the war, Adler started making a small portable called the Privat (1952).
Lothar, however, says the Model 32 I now own was bought in 1932 by his father, Heinrich Gerhardt, in Kassel, 193 kilometres north-east of Frankfurt. The changed style of the Adler decal, aligning it with the 1935 Favorit, would add to the impression that my Model 32 is a mid-30s version.
Lothar’s family migrated to Australia in 1954, bringing Heinrich’s Adler portable with them. However old it now is, 80 years or slightly less, they have taken extremely good care of it, as can be seen from these images.


Dwayne F. said...

Very nice! I love these German machines and would enjoy any of the Adlers. The styling is generally understated and the mechanical bits are well made.

Jasper Lindell said...

The Germans do seem to be up quite high in the ranks when it comes to mechanical engineering in miniature.
So that's what the fellow was doing at the opening with a typewriter on a table, when you signed my copy of your book - he was giving it to you. You're 'give one away get two back' typewriter theory is still standing true. Are all of the ones that you're given like this though? Great quality, not dime-a-dozen and amazingly well maintained? I guess not.

maschinengeschrieben said...

That design is gorgeous! The front somehow reminds me of the Noisy Noiseless.

shordzi said...

What a wonderful machine! The Gropius eagle apparently dates to 1930.

Richard P said...

That truly is a beauty. I have noted photos of the model online, but never gotten my hands on one. Thanks for your report!

Anonymous said...

Dwayne F. said...

I came back for another look and just realized how much it looks like my Triumph Mod6. The slots in the paper table, ribbon selector and segment screw arrangement are identical. It appears to be the same machine with a different cover. No wonder it types so well!

Richard P said...

I won the Adler 32 mentioned in the anonymous comment above this one. Great typewriter! It is very easy to use, about as light as an Olympia SM8 or SM9 from much later. The top piece is plastic, at least on mine. As Dwayne says, the basics are identical to Triumph portables.