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Friday, 2 August 2013

Rob's Rooys: Fit For A Briefcase - The Ultraflat Typewriter

Three typewriters, all in their cases, stacked on top of one another.
 The total height?
¼ inches!
The height of an average coffee mug.
Yes, it's the incredible ROOY!
The total weight? 26½ pounds
- less than two stone.
4kg (8.8lb) per typewriter (in its case)!
Here is how it's done:

POSTSCRIPT: Kind comments from Miguel and Peter have lifted me to greater effort here. I forgot to show the trapdoor under the keyboard which drops down to give leverage  when the typewriter is in position for use on top of the case. Here is also a video of opening the case and the type action and typebar movement:

Each case is 1¾ inches high (4cm) and 12 inches square (31 centimetres)
The body of the typewriter itself
is 1½ inches high!
Two Rooys arrived from Yves Lenchon in France via Peter Muckermann in Germany today (thank you, Peter!), to join one sent to me by Richard Polt many years ago. I was able to measure the height of the Rooys using the Baco Ribbon & Supply Co ruler Richard sent me a couple of months ago, and weigh them with my new electronic kitchen scales:

The arrival of the two 'new' Rooys was timely, as today this blog reached two milestones:

(Along with 110 followers and 4330 comments - two deleted)

See Will Davis's The Portable Typewriter Reference Site, "The Rooy Portable" and "Rooy Portable - Mechanical"
On the left, serial number 28542 (Model 2, 1954) and the 1958 model (Model 3?) that was once part of Richard Polt's Collection (serial number 61618)
The two "new" machines, left serial number 23754 (Model 1, 1953) and #28542 (Model 2, 1954)
Left, #61618 (Model 3?), and #23754 (Model 1)
Rooy had to change its logo after losing court challenges
from Royal in Paris and New York in 1954. See my earlier post on the history of the Rooy here:

 The 1954 model (Model 2)
 The 1958 model (Model 3?)
The 1953 model (Model 1)

Joseph Borel's ingenious design for the tightfit mechanics of the Rooy (see patent below). Note the mainspring is left of the segment - the drawband runs across the front of the carriage. The outer typebars compensate for distance and angle of movement by having a "bow" in the centre of them = very clever!
In my typecast, please excuse the number of q's for a's, as I'm still getting used to the AZERTY French keyboard.

The Canadian patent claims, in French (naturally): 


Miguel Chávez said...

Now I'm really impressed! This is exactly what I meant when I said I appreciate and admire the ingenuity that made possible these extraordinary machines. I'd never seen such a, should I say, ultraportable portable before! It almost looks like it was squeezed by a steam roller as part of the manufacturing process! Do you use it like that, or you have to raise the carriage somehow, say, a-la-Corona 3?

I think the ultraslim profile accounts for its relative lack of typeability, wouldn't you say? I imagine the typebars would have a really hard time hitting the platen consistently, particularly if they have to hit the platen at such a low angle; there must be just too little travel space for the keys and the typebars to build up enough momentum... but that's just a guess.

Congratulations on your first 600K visits, congratulations for the fantastic stats of your blog, and congratulations for your amazing collection! Thank you for sharing with us all your beautiful machines. And thank you very much for giving us such awe- and thought-inspiring posts!

Peter said...

Amazing machines! I will read your earlier history of them as soon as I have a moment. I gather from the drawings that the machine must be elevated on its case lid for use, so the key lever can protrude below the bottom when the key is depressed?

Congratulations on the Rooys and 600K!

Robert Messenger said...

Hi Miguel and Peter. Thank you for your very kind comments in the past two days, they are much appreciated.
Your comments on this post have sparked me to greater effort and I have added a photo of the trapdoor under the keyboard (should have done that in the first place!) as well as a video of opening the case and the typing action.

TonysVision said...

Congratulations on reaching 600K visits, and thank you to Richard Polt for encouraging your entry into the blogging world.

600K visits would likely never have been reached had not the content of your posts been superior, and once again it has been enjoyable to read about something I'd previously no clue about. The little Rooy is indeed a wonder. I had no idea such a small typewriter had been made, thinking that machines like my Hermes Rocket, 1922 Remmington portable, or my lovely and just-received Triumph Tippa were the epitomy of tinyness. And not only do you present that fascinating little engineering marvel, but you have also somehow dug out interesting bits, like the patent drawing showing how the typebars need that space allowed by the trap door.

1200 posts - and I've only been following for a few months - so there is much more interesting typewriter stuff to catch up on.

And for heaven's sake, hopefully you can soon consign those two out of 4,330 comments to your mental dust bin; they are nothings, null, zeros, ciphers, as are their creators.

Richard P said...

Ah, most certainly a classic and unique design. Congrats on your two new ones, and I'm glad I was able to provide the first.