Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hermes Baby Portable Manual Typewriter - 1970s

I shall catalog here not only what I have for sale, but also what I have already sold (loved and lost, as it were), in addition to my forthcoming (very important!) posts on my own interest in typewriters, as well as the many uses of typewriters in 2010.

My beautiful white 1970s Hermes Baby (the original MacBook was how I always thought of it) was sold today. It was the first typewriter I purchased and the one that hooked me in. Here are the pictures I took before it left:

Trivia: Hermes typewriters were designed by Paillard S.A. of Yverdon, Switzerland. Production was also based in Yverdon until the mid-sixties, when it moved first to Germany and then to Brazil (where this model was manufactured). The company pioneered the very first ultra-lightweight portables with the introduction of the original Hermes Baby in 1935. As someone who has seen all the generations of the Hermes Baby, I can vouch that this latest version is not so different (weight and size) from the very first one, but has many more nifty features!


  1. Hi there. I've got a Hermes Baby typewriter at a secondhand store. I even found a place to purchase new ribbons. But it seems that the ribbon is at an end, every time I've written one line. Can you tell me how the ribbon mecanism works?

  2. Hello - I doubt I could easily explain it. Please take a look at any typewriter manual which has a page on ribbon insertion; they all work the same.

    The fifth image in this post might be of help:

    The text is all in German, but hopefully the pictures will be of some use to you.

  3. Thanks a lot :-) I have one question though (if it's allright with you) Shouldn't the ribbon reverse when it's at its end? On my Hermes Baby it just stops, and it seems as if I have to take it out and manually respool it and insert it again. Can that be right? Again thanks for your time. And thumbs up for your website. It's really cool

  4. Yes, technically the ribbon is supposed to reverse automatically - there is usually a small grommet at the end of the fabric that trips the mechanism. However, these typewriters are several decades old and I suspect that reverse mechanism is a rather delicate one - perhaps it may not be working anymore. In which case, it only takes a minute or two to rewind the ribbon, so it is a rather minor inconvenience.

    1. Adwoa, thank you for the mentioning of the "grommet that trips the mechanism". That brachte mich auf eine Idee. It is easy to simulate this grommet by binding a knot at the end of the ribbon! Very easy. The mechanism is not so delicate, it is very robust and works as designed, very well. The problem is that the common ribbons today do not have this "knot" at the end, so you have to make the knots yourself.

    2. Even with the Grommet, my rocket will not reverse. It just goes in one direction and I have to manually rewind.

  5. Hello

    I just bought one Hermes baby, i was wandering what's the third color in the middle ? On mine it's red too...
    Thanks (sorry for my bad english...) :)

    1. The third option is usually for "stencil". That is, the vibrator will not raise so the ribbon won't be hit at all.

      It is for cutting mimeograph stencils. It can also be used for correction tabs.

  6. Hi,

    to catch all letters of alphabet you've to change one word in your sentence:

    The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

    BTW: I love the HERMES Baby

    Greetings from Austria,

  7. I really want a typewriter (preferably a hermes baby) so could you email me at if you have any offers? (I'd prefer that they were under £300.00)

  8. I have purchased a baby hermes typewriter and have taken it to be cleaned and ribbon replaced. I have had it at the repair shop for a month now and the typewriter repair man has stated that it has been dropped and the knob needs to be replaced / glued and this is a common issue. He stated that this week upon more further detailed inspection the carrier had been sodered, repair probably from being dropped.

    When I purchased this from an estate sale, I don't remember having an issue when typing / the knob being cracked or in need of repair. I don not have a lot of typewriter experience. I guess I just want to know if this is common for this model and Is this guy just trying to get me to say forget it so that he can buy it off me?

    thank you kindly in advance for your advice,


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