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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Blue Bird Portable Typewriter (Torpedo 18B)

The Torpedo 18B has the tabulator, the 18 does not
England cricketing twins Alec and Eric Bedser had a vested interest in promoting Blue Bird portable typewriters when they visited the Anthony Hordern & Sons store in Sydney on  November 10, 1955 (above). 
The Bedser brothers’ association with Torpedo came about because of their investment in office supplies companies. In 1954, with a friend, Jack Fagan, they set up an office equipment store in their home town of Woking, south-west of London. They soon bought another shop in Staines, and then acquired Henry Baker Ltd, a small business off Ludgate Circus. In 1962 they went into partnership with Ronald Straker to form Straker-Bedser, with 180 employees and 25 shops in London and the Home Counties. By the time it was taken over by Ryman in 1977, Straker-Bedser had an annual turnover of £1.8 million. Shortly afterwards Ryman was bought by Montagu Burton. 
Below, the Bedsers check out Blue Birds and other Torpedo typewriters in their Woking store, and Alec carries a Blue Bird portable as he and Eric set off from their home in Woking on a business trip to Australia.
I couldn't resist this, either


Ray said...

That's a very handsome typewriter. If you recommend it so highly then I'll definitely add it to my list of future acquisitions. That is getting to be a long list that it appears will take some time before much of a dent is made in it. You're quite the inspiration Robert to knew typewriter enthusiasts like myself.

Ray said...

I have no idea why my iPad decided to change 'new' to 'knew'. If only I had been using my Underwood.

Anonymous said...

My Blue Bird was acquired for £3.50 from a charity shop six years ago and is a joy to use. Doesn't distract me from writing like t'interweb does either...

Louisa said...

hello, thank you very much for this review, I have seen a bluebird on eBay which is in the most excellent condition and I have to say that I have been won over by the beautiful type quality. I have been enjoying your blog as I have now done a little bit of research into different brands and my google searches always come back to your site.

I learnt to type on an old olivetti when I was younger before word processers or computers were around and have been looking for quite a while for a typewriter, and I think this one fits the bill.

I hope to be typing letters to friends soon, in fact I plan to send out a monthly typed letter to subscribers instead of blogging, which I am so excited about

thank you again,

Grant Sheldon said...

Very interesting and informative. I like the back panel made in Germany US Zone while the front says West Germany - now a unique statment on world history! I have just listed my Mum's Blue Bird on ebay Australia as we have no room for it.

Unknown said...

Can you tell me what the typeface is? Thanks.
- Corina