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My typewriter collection and history page

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    As many know, the Royal Mercury is my favorite compact portable typewriter. While it is not much larger than a Hermes Baby, it is far more comfortable to me. That being said, it reminds me of a Hermes Baby, in terms of its touch, and styling. Its styling reminds me of the first-generation Hermes Baby. I always think that this typewriter is what the Featherweight could have evolved into, had Paillard wished to design a larger-looking version of the Baby, with a one-piece ribbon cover.
    Robert Messenger's Hermes Featherweight
    According to the original box that came with this typewriter, my Royal Mercury was originally sold by Meyers Jewelry, 424 S Georgia Street, Vallejo, California. 

    I have added advertisements from various newspapers. 
    From The Seattle Times, July 29, 1969

    From The Seattle Times, December 10, 1967. It should be noted that Bartell Drugs has not changed their logo since 1963.
    September 10, 1968


    This 1968 ad is from Royal's vast archives. (Image Courtesy of Darryl Bridson, Royal Consumer Information Products)



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    This instruction manual came with my 1957 Smith-Corona Silent-Super. I hope it is useful to the owners of Smith-Corona Portables (in Holiday Cases) (For more on the Holiday Case, go to http://oztypewriter.blogspot.com/2012/10/on-this-day-in-typewriter-history-case.html )













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    This typewriter was manufactured in 1951, but has been thoroughly refurbished, to the point that it feels brand-new. 

    I purchased my Quiet Deluxe from Bremerton Office Machines, located on the fifth floor of this building. My typewriter even came with a six-month warranty. 

    This is the well-hidden dealer label on this machine. 
    Bremerton Office Machines was founded in 1948, by Robert Montgomery. Sixty-five years later, Mr. Montgomery is still repairing typewriters. His father sold Underwoods, opening his shop in 1908. His website is http://www.typespec.com/typwrs.html . He wholeheartedly recommends the Royal Quiet Deluxe as a typewriter. He told me that the basic mechanical design goes back to the late 1920s. He also told me a story about Royal's fiberglass typewriter cases. The cases were custom ordered from a luggage manufacturer; each one cost Royal $24. Royal sued the manufacturer over the quality of the cases (they did not last well under heavy use)

    If you are ever in the market for a refurbished typewriter, and are in the Bremerton, Washington area, check out Bremerton Office Machines.


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  • 08/14/13--08:28: Royal Sahara Typewriter
  • What could this be?
     Open the three latches...
    Lift up the top

    It's a 1964-1965 Royal Sahara, in Pewter Gray!


    This typewriter was only made for two years. (I think that this is because of the ridiculously round case, and the fact that it is essentially a Royal Safari, which sold for $20 less when it was new) Most of these typewriters are found in Royal's wedge-shaped case--the round case has a flimsy-seeming handle, and was not originally designed to be a typewriter case; it has a cushion that was placed in it by the factory to hold the machine in place. 
    This was the standard Sahara ad that appeared in countless newspapers.  The case weighs roughly the same as Royal's more standard case.




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    1961 Sears Catalog Page advertising my new Tower Constellation.

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  • 08/15/13--09:00: 1961 Tower Constellation
  • This typewriter is essentially a Smith-Corona Silent Super, with a twelve inch carriage. The slight discoloration is from a late-1970s dealer decal from ABC Typewriter, in West Seattle. The fact that the decal was from West Seattle makes me think that my Constellation could have been purchased at the First and Lander location, which is the oldest (still operating at its original location) Sears store in the United States.

    Generally, a two-tone color scheme like the one above is accomplished by multiple parts (like on my Constellation II). However, this one was masked and painted.


    I bought this typewriter at La Galeria Antiques, in downtown Tacoma after selling two other machines. This typewriter had tempted me for two years, but the price wasn't right until yesterday. It comes in a space-age case, which is vinyl-covered aluminum:

    The pattern on this case reminds me of strange linoleum
    Another way I can tell that this typewriter is basically a Silent Super is the case: inside the case is the same mechanism that anchors it into the case. This mechanism resembles a crossbow, and is easily removed with a lever, turning it into a suitcase. (The carriage on this typewriter is basically that of the twelve-inch version of the Silent Super) The name for the Silent-Super is the "Holiday Case." For some reason, the name of this typewriter is printed behind the margins.

    For more information about the Sears on Lander, refer to this post:
    http://royaltypewriters.blogspot.com/2013/05/sears-tutor-1966.html?q=starbucks

    Here is a page from the 1961 Sears Catalog advertising the Constellation:



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     These ads appeared in The Seattle Times between 1951 and 1952. 


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  • 08/16/13--09:04: Bremerton Office Machines
  • My refurbished Royal Quiet Deluxe, which is from Bremerton Office Machines


    Mr. Montgomery was reluctant to put this sticker on this typewriter.
    I recently purchased a refurbished Royal Quiet Deluxe from Bremerton Office Machines. Bremerton Office Machines is operated by Robert Montgomery, who has run his shop since 1948. His father operated a typewriter shop beginning in 1908. During World War Two, he repaired typewriters while serving with the United States Army. He had the opportunity at the end of the war to tour the Olympia factory (later Optima) in Eastern Germany. According to Mr. Montgomery, Olympia's employees were moving as much of the machinery from that factory to their factory in Wilhelmshaven (in Western Germany). Olympia's typewriters had all of their parts machined, to make them smoother, while Optima's parts were not. It took the owners of Optima typewriters about three years of use for the parts to become as smooth as those of the Olympia.

    Originally from Tacoma, Montgomery went to high school at Broadway High School in Seattle. He worked as a typewriter and adding machine repairman as a teenager before getting drafted by the Army soon after the United States joined World War II. He fixed typewriters for eight months at Camp Beale, Calif. before seing sent to Utah for training. After that, he spent a few years fixing typewriters at the Allied Headquarters in London - a job Montgomery calls the “chairborne infantry - swivel chairs, that is.” (Lynsi Burton, Bremerton Patriot, March 4, 2011) The full article is here: 

    Bremerton Office Machines is on the fifth floor of this building, which was completed in 1947.



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  • 08/19/13--18:47: Burt Typewriter
  • This building was located at 1204 Second Avenue, where the Washington Mutual Tower is currently located. This is where my Smith-Corona Classic 10 typewriter was sold in 1973.

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    According to typewriterdatabase.com, this typewriter, serial number 346730 was made in 1957. According to tw-db.com, it was made in either 1950, 1954, or 1957. 


    While information on the Olivetti Lettera's history is readily available, local histories involving Olivetti typewriters are few and far between. However, here is a brief timeline:

    • May 9, 1950: The E.W. Hall Company begins advertising the "Sensational Olivetti" printing calculator in The Seattle Times.
    • 1950: Sears begins importing the Olivetti Lettera 22 as the Tower Chieftain
    • November 23, 1953: The Typewriter Clinic begins advertising Olivetti in the Classified Section of the Seattle Times: "47 PORTABLE Typewriters--All Makes--Save $$ on Olivetti $5 Layaway for Xmas. Typewriter Clinic MA. 6525 1913 3rd Ave" 
    • September 1, 1954: The Typewriter Clinic changes their ad to " $14.95 ADD. MACHINES New small Lightning Adding Mach. Also Olivetti Port. Typewriter. Typewriter Clinic 1912 3rd Avenue MA. 6524" By this point, The Typewriter Clinic had moved from its previous location to a new location across Third Avenue from its old location.
    • October 24, 1955: The Typewriter Clinic begins advertising in the Business section: "See our OLIVETTI MONEY SAVING Office Machinery Before You Buy. Typewriters, Adding Machines & Calculators. Typewriter Clinic 1912 3rd Avenue MAin 6524"
    • 1959: Olivetti purchases Underwood Corporation, forming Underwood-Olivetti (later Olivetti-Underwood)
    • April 3, 1961: Olivetti runs its first full page ad, featuring its full line of products in several newspapers nation-wide, using the "Underwood" name. 
    • September 3, 1961: Frederick & Nelson begins advertising that they sell Underwood-Olivetti typewriters.
    • 1964: The Olivetti Lettera 22 is replaced by the Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 32. Lettera 22 production continues for other markets, and Sears-Roebuck.
    • August 31, 1965: The Bon Marche begins advertising that they sell Olivetti-Underwood typewriters.
    • November 11, 1965: Main Office Machines begins advertising the new Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 32.
    • March 17, 1966: J.K. Gill's begins advertising the Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 32.
    • June 9, 1966: Zale's begins advertising the Olivetti-Underwood Dora.
    • August 28, 1966: J.K. Gill's features an Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 32 in a full-page ad.


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    Top: Front view of the Royal Telstar. This typewriter lacks the  "1/!" and "+/=" keys found on the Sahara. Margins are set manually. The color of the Telstar is called "Pottery Blue".
    Bottom: Front view of the Royal Sahara. This typewriter has automatic margins, and a 44-key keyboard. The color of the Sahara is "Pewter Gray" Notice the different logo on the front of the Sahara.


    The Royal Telstar was made in February, 1965. The Sahara is from August, 1964. Both have Elite type, and both are based on the Safari. (The Telstar is a stripped Safari, while the Sahara is a Safari with a page-end indicator and a round case. Both came in similar colors to the Safari.
    From The Seattle Times, August 23, 1964

    From The Seattle Times, December 11, 1964




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  • 08/23/13--15:26: Early Smith-Corona Galaxie
  • This Smith-Corona Galaxie has a feature that I have never seen (in person)--a dust cover:


    Notice that the Smith-Corona logo is on top of the ribbon cover--later models have it next to the SCM logo, which is usually larger.

    This typewriter is also unusual because of its lack of nicotine stains! It has a date code of 1-28 next to the serial number. The Typewriter Database says that it is a 1962 model, but according to the National Office Machine Dealers Association Blue Book, it is an early 1961 model. (The 1960 data ends at 330732. My serial number is 332643.) That would be about right for a typewriter made on January 28, 1961.

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    From an August 21, 1961 advertisement in The Seattle Times:

    • Burt Typewriter, 1204 Second Avenue, Seattle
    • Clark Stationery Company, 12750 Bothell Way (now Lake City Way), Seattle
    • Foster Office Equipment, 457 SW 153rd, Burien
    • Gene Brown Typewriter, 5511 24th Avenue NW, Seattle
    • Lowman & Hanford, 1515 Second Avenue, Seattle
    • MacDougall & Southwick, Second and Pike (Now a parking lot behind City Target), Seattle
    • Record Stationery and Office Supply, 801 Walla Walla Avenue, Seattle
    • Tom's Typewriter and Hobby Shop, 3402 Claremont Avenue South, Seattle
    • University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle
    • Washington Book Store, 4316 University Way NE, Seattle (Now part of the University Book Store)
    • Keeney Office Supply, Bellevue
    • Tri-County Office Supply, Bellingham
    • Black and King, Everett
    • Miller's Office Supply, Puyallup
    • H.D. Baker, Tacoma
    • People's Store, Tacoma
    • Rhodes, Downtown and Lakewood, Tacoma
    Here is the ad:


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  • 08/25/13--16:06: Cole-Steel's New Look

  • I decided to paint the ribbon cover on this typewriter. The color is Krylon Dual "Cherry Red"


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  • 08/26/13--11:31: Another Olivetti Lettera 22
  • I bought another Olivetti Lettera 22 as an exchange for a large Olympia "portable" typewriter. It was made in 1956, and includes its original case. As most of the handle's covering had fallen off, the handle is now neatly covered in red tape (literally). The case has the number 10 written on it in large white lettering, making me think that it was sold at a thrift store at some point. Other than that, it is in great condition.

    This is the original case for this typewriter. Notice that the handle matches the tabulator key on the typewriter.


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  • 08/27/13--07:29: Deluxe Remette's New Look



  • The ribbon cover on this typewriter was beginning to show paint loss, and was looking drab, so I painted it white. It makes the whole typewriter look brighter and really brings out its lines.

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  • 08/27/13--13:16: Lettera 22 ads






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    The Olivetti looked so drab in its neutral beige, so I decided to make it vibrant--like the Cole-Steel's ribbon cover, it is painted Cherry Red.

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  • 08/28/13--13:10: Royal Royalite Ads
  • As Robert Messenger pointed out, the Royal Royalite was not advertised in national magazines. This might be due to the fact that many dealers and department stores advertised the Royalite in newspapers. 
    Cleveland, Ohio

    Cleveland, Ohio 
    Cleveland, Ohio

    New Orleans, Louisiana

    New Orleans, Louisiana

    Portland, Oregon

    Portland, Oregon. J.K. Gill was  a very large stationer, in Oregon and Washington.

    Trenton, New Jersey

    Seattle, Washington. Raphael's specialized in diamond rings.

    Trenton, New Jersey


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