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Sears Catalog Typewriters, 1964-1968

1966 Sears Christmas Catalog--courtesy of wishbookweb.com

1966 Christmas Book page

1968 Wish Book page 378

1964 Wish Book

1964 Wish Book

Olivetti-Underwood Portable Dealers, Seattle

These dealers are from the 1956, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1968, 1972, and 1975 Seattle Telephone Directories. They have been color-coded.
  • Acme Office Machines, 1826 North 45th Street
  • Acme Office Machines, 2405 North 45th Street
  • American Office Equipment, 900 4th Avenue
  • American Office Equipment and Interiors, Second Avenue and Pine Street [Broadacres Building]
  • Beck Typewriter, 4124 Roosevelt Way Northeast
  • Burt Typewriter 1204 2nd Avenue
  • Carlson Office Equipment and Supply Co. 8076 Bothell [Lake City] Way Northeast
  • Cascade Business Machines, 2413 Western Avenue
  • Clark's Lake City Stationery and Office Supply, 12570 Bothell [Lake City] Way Northeast
  • Columbus Typewriter, 719 East Pike Street
  • Don's Office Equipment, 6022 California Avenue Southwest
  • Foster Office Equipment, 144 Southwest 152nd (Burien)
  • Hartman Office Equipment, 217 Sunset Boulevard North, Renton
  • Lar-Mac Office Machines, 159 Western Avenue West [Closed, 1975]
  • Lar-Mac Office Machines, 1014 Second Avenue 
  • McDonald's Business Machines, 6509 Roosevelt Way Northeast [formerly North End Business Machines]
  • Modern Office Equipment, 3126 California Avenue Southwest
  • National Office Equipment, 2621 1st Avenue
  • North End Business Machines, 6509 Roosevelt Way Northeast
  • Northwest Office Equipment, 707 2nd Avenue
  • Nye's Office Machines 12328 1/2 Lake City Way Northeast
  • Printing Calculator Co, 923 Western Avenue
  • Seattle Typewriter, Arcade Building
  • TI-FA Typewriter, 1811 East Olive Way
  • Typewriter Clinic, 1912 3rd Avenue (Moved to the address below in 1960.)
  • Typewriter Clinic, 2014 3rd Avenue
  • University Business Machines, 5501 University Way Northeast
  • University Typewriter and Mimeograph Co., 4226 University Way Northeast
  • Washington Typewriter, 1014 2nd Avenue

Washington Typewriter Co, 1967, 1972, and 1981

Courtesy of Paul Dorpat
Spring, 1967

Spring, 1972. Notice that the "Washington Typewriter" sign has been replaced by LAR-MAC

1982--before its 1986 replacement. LAR-MAC is now Aztec Corp.

Cole-Steel Typewriter Catalog page, 1963

This ad appeared in a 1963 W D Gousset Co catalog:

J.K. Gill's Lowman & Hanford 22 Cent Sale

I had no idea that any dealer had Cole-Steel typewriters in 1962. This ad is from February 22, 1962.

J.K. Gill's Lowman & Hanford ad, 1960

I will try to find a higher-quality copy of this ad, making it possible to see the Olympia store.

Sears Tutor/ Smith-Corona Corsair Diagram

From Sears Parts Direct.

Model #8711970 Sears lightweight typewriters"

Rating Scale of Consumer Reports, 1937

"A product rated 'Also Acceptable' may be of higher quality than one rated 'Best Buy,' but the 'Best Buy' will normally give more return per dollar. In most cases, a product rated 'Not Acceptable is judged not worth buying at any price, because of inferior quality or because it is potentially harmful" (Consumer Reports, October, 1937)

With that in mind, here is the 1941 review of the Remington Remette:
"Remington Remette (Remington Rand, Inc.) $29.75. Most convenience features eliminated. Very good touch. Appearance of work only fair. Damaged standard business envelope. Despite other disadvantages, such as single carriage knob, manual ribbon reverse, single-color ribbon, no bell or type-lock, back-spacer on the right side, and only fair visibility, the Remette's low price makes it a "Best Buy." (Consumer Reports, November 1941)

Royal Royalite vs Remington Deluxe Remette

Top: 1962 Royal Royalite. This typewriter was made in very large quantities in The Netherlands, from 1955 until 1963. (in this design). 
Bottom: 1940 Remington Deluxe Remette. Only 19,237 Deluxe Remettes were made from May 1940 until August 1941. 

While the Royal Royalite and Remington Deluxe Remette are mechanically very different, they have a lot in common. Both were low-priced portables. Both are compact, and both use a single-color ribbon. (In the Royalite, a two color ribbon can be used--if you want to use red, you have to turn the ribbon over...much more trouble than it's worth...) Both have a similar "feel"--the same amount of pressure is needed to operate each typewriter. 
Despite their similarities, the Royalite is much easier to use, due to its additional features, including: line-lock, which prevents the user from typing after the margin, a bell, automatic ribbon reverse, a carriage lock, paper support, a margin-release/de-jam key, horizontal carriage-return lever, three-position line-space lever (1, 1.5, and 2 lines), margin stops on the top of the carriage, instead of the back of the machine, a fully-enclosed frame, and a standard-size ribbon, and sound-proofing. As a result of these features, the Royalite is very easy to use, and much quieter. The Royalite is also two-tone gray, while the Deluxe Remette is black. Overall, the Royalite is the better typewriter for general use. Also, because the finish on the Royalite is smooth, it is easier to keep clean (the Deluxe Remette has a crinkle finish. Crinkle finishes are natural dust-magnets).

Royal Royalite/Northgate ads


As many Seattleites know, Northgate Mall was the first shopping center to be called a "mall" in the United States, when it was finished in 1950. Its anchor store, Macy's (known as The Bon Marche until 2005) remains largely original inside. Similarly, the downtown Bon Marche, at 3rd and Pine, was restored in the 1980s.

More Royalite Ads

These ads are courtesy of Darryl Bridson, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Royal Consumer Information Products.

Consumer Reports' Royal Royalite Review

The Royalite appeared under the column marked "Fair" with this caption:
"The following portables were judged to be somewhat lower in overall quality than the machines preceding. Listed alphabetically."

Antares Domus

"Royal Royalite (Royal Typewriter Co. Port Chester, NY) $49.95, 10 lb. 42 type keys. No tabulator. Pica is the only type style available. Linespace settings: 1, 1 1/2, 2. Estimated durability, fair. Estimated ease of repair, poor. Touch not adjustable. Convenience of margin controls, good. No black-red-stencil selector, no erasure plate, no paper guide, and no convenient line adjustment for typing on a line form or adding several lines on a previously typed page. Has carriage release on only one side. Typed neatly at tops of cards and envelopes." (Consumer Reports, November, 1960, page 572)

Royal Custom II, 1968

This typewriter was originally owned by a resident of Spokane, Washington. His name is written on the inside of its case.

The first patent number on the underside of the ribbon cover is for the Royal Futura. The basic design of the  Futura was streamlined in 1961 to become the 890/Sabre/Caravan/Custom II/ Custom III/Futura/Sears Cutlass, just to name a few. Its production ended in the early 1980s.
A Section of a Higbee's ad from September 27, 1981's Cleveland Plain Dealer.
This is the other color my Royal Custom II was offered in. (Image courtesy of Etsy.com)
1970s Royal Futura

Royal Custom II Advertisements

Sheboygan (Wisconsin) Press, September 18, 1968
Trenton Evening Times, May 20, 1969

Seattle Times, August 18, 1968

Royal Portable Dealers, Washington State, 1964

Seattle Times, December 11, 1964
As you can see, the only Spokane dealer listed is The Bon Marche, a Seattle-based department store chain that merged into Macy's in 2005.
Former Bon Marche store, Spokane, WA, 2012. The "BM" monogram is left over from the 1960s Bon Marche logo:

Many remember the Bon Marche's One-Day Sales (Macy's still has them, but without the memorable commercial below)

Royal Royalite and Northgate Mall


From The Seattle Times, December 2, 1962
Northgate Center was the original name of Northgate Mall. However, when it was built, it was the first shopping center to be described as a "mall," due to the fact that there were two rows of stores that faced each other, like the National Mall. Northgate Center was built on what had been a cranberry bog. It was open-air until 1962, when it was partially enclosed with a "Sky Shield" It was fully enclosed by 1974, when it was renamed "Northgate Mall"

An interesting side note about Northgate Mall is that it was designed by the same architect who designed the Space Needle, John Graham, Jr., who also designed the upper stories for the downtown Bon Marche and Frederick & Nelson stores (both of which were designed by John Graham, Sr.)

This totem pole is now on the Suquamish Reservation, where it has been restored. 
The former Northgate Totem Pole is raised into position following its restoration.
It should also be noted that the first express bus service in Washington State ran between Northgate and Downtown Seattle. 
From The Seattle Times, September 1, 1970
Notice that Blue Streak was done by "Seattle Transit." By 1973, it had become King County Metro transit. The only bus routes that haven't changed much are the 16 and 41. The Blue Streak (#41) was the first bus to use the "Reversible Lanes" of I-5.

1966 Royal 890 portable


The Royal 890 was a mid-range full-size Royal portable. Its list price was $99.95. In comparison, the top-of-the-line Safari was $114.50. The low-end Telstar, which lacks the =/+ key found on the 890 had a list price of $79.95. A "Royalite '65" cost $59.95. 

The Royal 890 was available in beige, blue/white, and all white. My 890 is relatively easy to keep clean, despite being painted white. It has the inevitable scrape on the ribbon cover, caused by the folding carriage-return lever. It has Elite (small) type, and a key-set tabulator. 

Mid-range portables are often the hardest to find, partly because of the small price difference between a mid-range and a top-of-the-line portable. The low-end full-size portable typewriters are harder to find than the low-priced compact portable typewriters. This may be because the compact typewriters were extensively marketed toward students and travelers. 

Remington Deluxe Remette Features

Originally from Manual Entry. Notice that Feature # 19 is the Standard keyboard.
Here is my own Deluxe Remette

Royal Telstar and Allied Stores

As you can see, the Royal Telstar is nearly identical to the Royal Safari. 
Notice the manual margin stops, and the lack of 1/! and =/+ keys. 
Most of the newspaper ads for the Royal Telstar were printed by department stores owned by Allied Stores, including:
  • Titche's (Dallas, TX)
  • The Bon Marche (Seattle, WA; also Ogden, UT)
  • James Black Company (Waterloo, IA)
  • Troutman's (Western PA)
  • Muller's (Lake Charles, LA)
  • Pomeroy's (Reading, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre, and Levittown, PA)
  • Joske's (San Antonio, TX)
  • Dey Brothers (Syracuse NY)
Because all of the stores that advertised the Royal Telstar were owned by Allied Stores, I think that the Royal Telstar was specially produced for Allied Stores, in the same way that the Royal Heritage was specifically made for Montgomery Ward's. This might also explain the limited records for the Telstar that Royal has. (They have many records for other Royal portables, except for the Telstar.) 
This is a typical Allied Stores ad for the Royal Telstar. Another division, Muller's (Lake Charles, Louisiana) were selling the Telstar for $129.95--The Bon Marche's "won't be undersold price" was $79.95. I highly doubt that a standard price reduction of $50 would have been possible if it wasn't a special product produced for the chain.

Titche's ad from the Dallas Morning News, October 29, 1963
Muller's advertisement, December 3, 1963

A May 14, 1964 Bon Marche ad (below) from Ogden, Utah even referred to it as "Ours exclusively"

Smith-Corona Skyriter

Notice the masking tape on the space bar. I taped the space bar to add traction to it--the space bar on Skyriters tends to be a little slippery for my taste.