Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wilfred Beeching's Century of the Typewriter

Typecast sent from my pica Olympia SF, which has occasional margin alignment issues...

(Front and back cover)

(Olympia Portable Typewriters)

(Overview of Adler/Triumph typewriters)

 (Hermes Portable Typewriters)

(Olivetti Portable Typewriters)

(Picture index with some very rare machines shown)

It's nice to see the typewriters in our collection represented in a comprehensive timeline of other models from the same manufacturer. Some of the pictures are also quite special, like the aerial view of the Paillard (Hermes) factory in Yverdon which enabled us to find the exact site on Google Maps. I also very much appreciate details of the various typefaces and keyboard layouts offered by Olympia.

As comprehensive as it might seem, even I am able to notice several European manufacturers that did not get a mention, including Rooy, Japy, ABC, and Swissa. Pity!

As Will Davis said on the Portable Typewriter Forum last year, "this is a book to get". It still turns up for sale on eBay and Amazon every now and then, so if you're interested in typewriters and don't have a copy of this yet, you might want to ask Santa politely...


  1. You know, someone(s) in the typosphere or PTF could probably do a commendable job putting together a full-color, coffee table book with short blurbs of history...

  2. That is a great idea and it would work very well as a collaboration (in case there were some machines in Europe collectors in the US could not easily get to and vice versa). With all the technology available today, as well as all the machines unearthed through the internet, it shouldn't be impossible to produce such a book... I can just picture its glossy pages now.

    I know Will mentioned on PTF some years back that he was working on a project... I wonder what happened to it. I was just reading some pages on his website (archived at MoLG) and it's really good stuff (especially the material on European portables with pictures from his and Tilman Ester's collection).

  3. I would happily join in for the coffee-table book! And, what a coincidence: I just received my very own Christmas-Beeching yesterday! I read until late, and continued early this morning... excellent book!


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