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Smith-Corona Silent

This is the oldest Super-5 typewriter that I have seen. It was made in 1949, according to the Typewriter Database. I bought it at the Red Door Antique Mall in Mount Vernon, Washington on December 14. 
The Red Door Antique Mall--notice the old washing machine in front. This building was most likely built as a garage.
 The logo is burnished metal; later models have a plastic logo.

 Notice the serial number--this is the lowest that I have seen for this model! This typewriter also has a brand-new ribbon.
The light green function keys indicate that this is an early model, made between 1949 and 1953. The brown space bar was only used for a few months, before it was changed to the body color. This typewriter has Elite type.

New Page Added

I have just added a form for cataloging typewriter dealers to this blog. I am working on adding a "Dealer History" page to this blog, but do not have enough cataloged information yet. Any information that you could add via the form will be incredibly helpful.

A Near Match to my 1960 Olivetti

 My 1960 Olivetti with French accents and mathematical symbols. 
I bought this typewriter in Snohomish, Washington.
 I am still trying to figure out which country it was made for. It was made in Glasgow.
Below is a "Spanish" keyboard Olivetti from The Vintage Typewriter Shoppe. It was sold in 2011. It is also missing most Spanish accents, the ñ, ¿, and ¡ symbols. It also lacks the μ that my Lettera 22 is equipped with. (Greek letter Mu, often used in various sciences, pharmacology, mathematics, linguistics, and meat science. For more, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_symbol) If anyone has theories related to my Lettera's keyboard, please email them to typewriterresearch@gmail.com. Anything will be greatly appreciated.
"Spanish Keyboard Oivetti Lettera 22" from The Vintage Typewriter Shoppe . This item sold in 2011.

Royal Fleetwood, 1970

Royal Fleetwood Advertisement, Dallas Morning News, October 10, 1970
The Royal Fleetwood was introduced in 1968. It was produced in Japan by Silver-Reed; Royal rebranded them as "Royals" This typewriter was widely advertised in most regions of the United States. (For some reason, Royal did not advertise this model in Western Washington [there was one ad for it in the Spokane Spokesman-Review] , Oregon, Idaho, Montana. Royal did not advertise the identical Caravan or 240 models in these states either.) It is a good typewriter, a lot like the Brother Charger, or Royal Mercury, but with a preset tabulator. 

Spokane Spokesman-Review ad: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19690420&id=erVWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=d-kDAAAAIBAJ&pg=868,1778939

Royal Fleetwood Advertisement, from the Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, June 8, 1971

According to Robert Messenger's post on Imperial Typewriters from the 1970s, http://oztypewriter.blogspot.com/2013/04/imperial-portable-typewriters-1908-1978_16.html, this typewriter was made in 1970 (the Imperial 220 has the same prefix, same design, and same serial number range.)

1966 Adler J4 and Adler in Seattle


American Office Equipment, 900 Fourth Avenue. This was the only Adler dealer in Seattle when this photo was taken. This building was demolished in May, 1971.
 Image Courtesy of the King County Department Of Assessments Records, Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Branch.
According to the 1966 Seattle Telephone Directory, there was only one Adler dealer in Seattle--American Office Equipment, located at 900 Fourth Avenue (which is now the site of the Union Bank of California Building, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/901_Fifth_Avenue )
By 1970, following Litton's buyout of Triumph-Adler, there were six dealers who specialized in Adler typewriters in Seattle:
1970 Seattle Telephone Directory Listing (Seattle Public Library)

By 1972, the number had doubled:
1972 Seattle Telephone Directory Listing (Seattle Public Library)

Royal Fleetwood's "Original" Box

While this is identical to the box that my Royal Fleetwood would have been sold in when new, it came from a different typewriter. (The box came from Etsy) The typewriter that was inside is a mystery, as there is no "content label"--just a shipping label that indicates that it was machine number 1 of 94 shipped to Edward's Department Store, a South-Carolina-based chain that was later bought by Wal-Mart. Edward's applied a price tag to the front, that indicates that the typewriter that was inside was sold for $34.95. The service center list that came with the box was dated 12/69. 

According to Google Maps, the address on the box was most likely Edward's distribution center. It is now the distribution center for a dairy.
According to the full-page ad above, from the Aiken, South Carolina Standard, dated August 14, 1972, the typewriter in the box was most likely a Royal Sprite, based on the price. The Royal Sprite is fundamentally identical to the Royal Fleetwood, except for the color. (The Sprite is blue and white, instead of black and walnut-grain. 

For anyone who wants to create a replica of this box, the box is roughly 14" x 14" x 5." It opens on the top (short side)

1936 Royal Model O

 Last month, I traded in my 1934 portable because the line space lever was beginning to wear out. Today, I found a beautiful 1936 Royal Model O, with its instructions, the cleaning brush, and its carrying case, in beautiful condition. These pictures were taken before cleaning the typewriter and its case.

The manual was last revised in April, 1936

From The Seattle Times, May 24, 1936

Stemp Typewriter Window, March 25, 1935 (Image from the Wisconsin Historical Society)
Cox Typewriter Exchange, Abilene, Texas, 1930s (University of North Texas Collections)

Anderson Business Technologies, Pasadena, CA


Last week, I asked Anderson Business Technologies if they could send me copies of historic photos of their business (Anderson's was founded in 1912). I was expecting small photos, or photocopies. Instead, Don Anderson, the son of the founder, Elmer Anderson, sent me 8x10 originals. (They were duplicates). All of the photos were taken by commercial photographers. Here are the pictures:

 Anderson Typewriter Company, early 1930s. Notice the poster for Royal's Poet of the Organ, Jesse Crawford.
 Anderson's in the early 1940s

 Anderson's in the early 1960s. Notice the round case in the right hand window; it contains a Royal Sahara portable typewriter.
 Elmer Anderson, the founder is holding a Royal Safari Custom, and his son, Don is displaying a Royal Electric typewriter. Notice the display in the background for the Royal Skylark. If anyone is curious as to how Royal displayed portable typewriters, look at the photo above.
The side of Anderson Typewriter Company, in the 1960s.
A current photo of the business.

Cole-Steel Portable, Circa 1960


"Advertisement." Billings Gazette [Billings, MT] 06 May 1959, n. pag. Print.

Cole Portable Dealers, 1957

If anyone is curious about where your Cole Steel might have been sold, consult this list of dealers
From Life Magazine,  November 18, 1957. 
Courtesy of Business, Science and Technology Collections, Seattle Public Library

Avona-Jet Among Bon Marche Boxes

I bought these boxes at an estate sale, and realized how well they would go with typewriters. All of the boxes are from The Bon Marche, from the years between 1960 and 1990. The red floor is a Bon Marche box lid, the yellow and brown ones are from the mid 1970s. The woodgrain texture is a vinyl clipboard. The typewriter was originally sold by The Bon Marche


1970 Royal Fleetwood in its Natural Habitat

1941 Royal Quiet Deluxe

The case below was only used between 1941 and 1942, and is usually seen with a tan typewriter inside.
 But, inside, there is a black Royal Quiet Deluxe, made in 1941:

1980 Wards Escort 350

This is easily the hardest typewriter to photograph in its true color; it is a much lighter blue in person. 
 Here is the lid of the typewriter; it snaps over the machine, forming the carrying case
 The sculptured sides from the lid continue on the typewriter.

This is a basket-shifted typewriter. Most compact Brother typewriters are carriage-shifted.

A page from Montgomery Ward's 1980 Christmas Catalog. (Image Courtesy of Wishbook) 

1966 Brother Echelon 66

Basically a Brother Charger 11 with a tabulator, this would have to be my favorite new acquisition. It is lightweight, yet a great performer, and has the original stickers and manual! It was designed in 1961 by Akio Kondo. His design was used until the mid-1980s. This typewriter is carriage-shifted, and has a pop-up paper support. Its serial number indicates that it was made in November, 1966. The Echelon 66 was a relatively inexpensive typewriter, often sold by discount stores such as Valu-Mart (a Seattle-based subsidiary of Weisfield Jewelers), Villa-Mart (the Portland, Oregon, equivalent of Valu-Mart)  for roughly $45. (They listed a comparable value of $80; the question that arises is: was the basis of the "comparable value" a Brother, or a more well-known portable?)

This typewriter is painted in Brother's initial color offering; the first Brother portable was painted this shade of gray. It also has the first type of case handle. It also may have its original ribbon spools. (I spooled a Point of Sale ribbon onto them

The bright red key is the preset tabulator.
These spools look like they were original to the machine--I have never seen ribbon spools that were stamped like this.

Notice the gold labels on the ribbon cover--the top one indicates that Good Housekeeping guaranteed this typewriter; the bottom one is Parents' Magazine's seal of endorsement.
Valu-Mart sold the entire Brother range in the 1960s. This ad is from The Seattle Times, August 15, 1968

A detail from the above advertisement  showing the Brother Echelon 66

Brother Echelon 66 Advertising

From the Hamilton [Ohio] Daily News-Record, May 17, 1967. The Brother is a far better typewriter than the Remington Streamliner

Evolution of the Tower Portable Typewriter 1959-1964

While it seems like a short amount of time, many changes were made to the design of Sears typewriters between 1959 and 1961. Before 1959, Sears typewriters resembled Smith-Corona typewriters that were slightly changed. By 1959, Sears typewriters took on a new identity, with new space-age styling. Their ribbon covers stayed the same, but they received larger knobs, a larger space bar, and a new lower-body, that was more angular than the previous generation, which had a lower body that was identical to that of the Smith-Corona Silent-Super.

1959 Sears Christmas Catalog page, courtesy of WishBookWeb.com Notice the curved ribbon cover, and carriage surround.
 By 1961, the ribbon cover had been changed to a more angular design, with a curved facing. The President XII was renamed "Constellation," and the two-tone color schemes were redesigned. By 1962, a new model, the Citation 88 was introduced, and the chrome-laden carrying case of the  1958-1961 Tower President XII and Constellation models had been replaced with the case that is most familiar to collectors. Known by Smith-Corona as the "Trimline" case, it had a small chrome band in the middle. The case was covered in black or brown vinyl. 
My 1961 Tower Constellation (Nick Bodemer Collection)

1962 Sears Christmas Catalog page, courtesy of WishBookWeb.com
Late in 1962, the carriage surround was changed from the 1950s-era metal surround that was seen on the Silent-Super, to the 1960s-era plastic surround that was seen on the Galaxie. This feature would remain unchanged until the mid-1970s, when Smith-Corona stopped making typewriters for Sears. In the 1964 catalog below, the Constellation has been replaced by the Sears President 12. This typewriter was painted black, with a brushed stainless steel front panel, similar to that on the Tower Constellation. It was the first Sears typewriter to offer Changeable Type. Mechanically, it is a Smith-Corona Classic 12.
1964 Sears Christmas Catalog page, courtesy of WishBookWeb.com

Royal Century Portable Typewriter, 1969

This is a hard typewriter to research. It was made in 1969 by Silver-Reed, and retailed for $39.95. It was rarely advertised. It was one of the lowest-priced typewriters to have a two-color ribbon and a touch regulator. Other than that, the few ads that exist do not lend much information. The carrying case was often described as a "Console Carrying Cover." Mechanically, it is identical to the Royal Mercury, which sold for the same price, but with a white body. The Royal logo on the ribbon cover is raised. The styling of this typewriter reminds me of many 1930s typewriters and architectural details, as well as the Royal Dart. The "Console Carrying Cover" has the word "Century" printed on it in large, factory-painted letters. Even though it is mechanically identical to the Royal Mercury, it rattles much less frequently than the Mercury, and has a better feel to it. The printed work is also much more visible.

1956 AMC Portable Typewriter

This typewriter was imported by the Associated Merchandising Corporation (now Target Sourcing Services), and was made in France. This typewriter was frequently advertised in the Midwest, but have been known to appear periodically in the Northwest and East. It is part of the Patria Family of typewriters (More info here: www.machinesoflovinggrace.com/ptf/EuropePatriaFamily.html and http://www.typewriters.ch/collection/patria_typewriter.html) Looking at it, three things become clear:

  1. This is a very high-quality typewriter
  2. It is basically a 1930s typewriter in a streamlined shell.
  3. The manufacturers of this typewriter put a lot of effort into making a simple, easy to use typewriter.
The mechanism inside this typewriter is identical to the Swiss Patria typewriter (later known as the Swissa). This design was used in many European countries:
  • Germany: Voss Privat
  • UK: Oliver and Byron portables
  • France: Japy (Pronounced jah-pea; Les Freres Japy manufactured high-quality clocks and watches, as well as typewriters)
  • Switzerland: Patria, Swissa
  • Spain: Amaya, Florida
The mechanism was designed in 1934 by Otto Haas; production began in 1936. In 1944, Max Bill designed a new shell for this typewriter. According to Haas (in 1934), portable typewriters were becoming too large to be portable, and required a specific container to carry them in. He set out to create a compact portable typewriter with many large-machine features. It should be noted that after Haas wrote this, portable typewriters kept getting bigger; the Royal Safari (1962-70) is an excellent example of this--it is almost twice the size of his portable! 

Part of a Higbee's advertisement in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 20, 1956. This was part of a full-page ad.

1967 Royal Custom

This Royal Custom typewriter is basically a Royal Safari, but in a metallic red color scheme. I have been looking for one for quite a while; I once saw a red Safari for $75 five years ago in Snohomish, WA, but this one was a much better deal at $20! The only part it needs is its ribbon cover (the same design was used from 1962 until 1982, so finding a replacement should be easy) 

It should be noted that this is not a "Regimental Red" Royal, but rather a burgundy typewriter.

From The Trenton (NJ) Evening Times, August 4, 1965

From the Trenton (NJ) Evening Times, December 6, 1964