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Tuesday 30 April 2013

On the Iberian Typewriter Safari: Surfin' from Malibu to Newport, it's as simple as ABC (for Chevron)

One of the world's most extensive typewriter families stretches out across the globe from the Iberian Peninsula. It is one that embraces brand names such as Siemag (Siegener Maschinenbau AG), Koch's Nähmaschinenwerke AG, ABC, Cole Steel, Royal, Imperial, Sears and (in Portugal) Oliva; as well as Australian labels Chevron and Lemair. Model names include Safari, Malibu and Newport, to name but a few. The common denominator across this vast range of machines is the Lisbon company Messa:
The arrival here this week of a Lemair 3002 portable typewriter was a reminder of just how many variations there are in this family. The Lemair label easily peeled off to reveal it was in fact an ABC 3002. And of course barely readable under the left side of the carriage is the country of origin of this model:
I could already clearly tell from the eBay listing that the ABC 3002 was a very close relation to my Imperial 2002. I was quite surprised when I was given the Imperial 2002 last year, because I hadn't previously seen a design like it. That just showed how easily a typewriter's mask can confuse.  When the ABC 3002 arrived and I slipped off the ribbon spools cover, I can see instantly that the mechanics are identical to every other Messa machine I have ever owned - most commonly the ABC and Lemair 2000 series. The added figure of 2 on the end of 2000 simply represents a new, more "modernised" mask.
Here is the latest addition to my collection, the ABC 3002, aka the Lemair 3002:
Among the models in this range of mechanically identical family members are:
The original Messa version of the 3002
ABC/Lemair 2000S
Sears Newport (Ryan Adney Collection)
Sears Malibu
Sears Chevron
The Messa 2002 range includes:
Royal Safari II
Imperial 2002
Messa 2002
Oliva 2002
Here are a couple of Messa 2000s
ABC 2000
Sears Chevron
The earlier Messa small portable, a direct (plastic) descendant of the ABC-Cole Steel, was variously marketed as an ABC, Lemair, Sears and Oliva, among other names:
This one, made for Messa in Pakistan, is a close relation to the Neckermann Brilliant S, designed by Koch's-ABC
But back to the ABC 3002:
SPACEBAR NOTE: I loved the story told about a Messa 3002 by a Portuguese blogger. It seems there was a man who had owned one of these machines since at least the early 1980s. His 20-something sons referred to it as his "computer". They asked him why he didn't sell it. "The father sharply pressed several piano keys, producing a sound dark, and said, 'I wrote letters to your mother on that 'computer', without it you would not be here. Sell ​​it? Never ... Little ones, this is a typewriter, it's like a computer but with paper, no Facebook and no pornalhada'."


Scott K said...

The machine certainly has some peculiar dressing. Those tab buttons are... well... unmistakably unique.

Richard P said...

An interesting family.

The sight of a HCESAR keyboard is intriguing.

I've long thought that the green Sears Newport is, well, one of the ugliest typewriter designs ever. That's one that I saw at my local thrift store once and passed by.

Will Davis said...

Fascinating! This new find is certainly an attractive typewriter. And those buttons in the top cover are indeed distinctive -- and patented by Messa!

One family member to keep an eye out for is the Brother XL-1016 'Capri' that closely matches the Sears Newport shown on your page here. (There are also other numbers in the XL-10XX series of Brother machines one or two up and down from this which have been spotted over the years, all based on Messa machines.) These machines can be found in Royal style typewriter cases or with snap over lids. That's one remaining Messa mystery!

Great photo essay!

Ted said...

I've added Messa and it's marques to the Typewriter Database:

m said...

Thank you for sharing this valuable information. I have a messa 2002 in a very good condition, may i know how much you think it is worth?

kind regards

Carney said...

These typewriters remind me of the early 1980s "home" computer, the TRS-80 Color Computer 2, which must have been inspired by them. White chassis, white keys surrounded by black frame, one prominent red key.

Sylar Gray said...

Just bough my first typewriter, I'm 29 yo and this always has been a dream of mine.
I got the messa 3002 in perfect condition, so many things that I can't understand yet and I'm trying somehow to find instructions online. That's how I stumble on your blog. It's very good.
I haven't got the chance to find out where you're from, hope you're Portuguese or at least that you know the meaning of "pornalhada".

Anonymous said...

Hi oz.typewriter - if possible, would you kindly give a short description of how to release the lid on the abc 3002? sincerely Per and Anita from Norway