Friday, January 7, 2011

Swissa Junior Manual Portable Typewriter (1950s)

It occurs to me that I have not yet properly introduced the typewriter (techno typeface, purple ribbon) that I used on my last typecast, so here we go. Please meet this lovely Swissa Junior, with a two-tone taupe and light gray metal body with subtle chrome accents. 

This version of the Swissa Junior was manufactured by the Swiss company Aug. Birchmeier & Son in Murgenthal, Switzerland in the late 50s. Prior to the redesign, the Swissa Junior (also known as Swissa Piccola) was produced in a body style virtually identical to that of the Japy Script. That style, first produced by another Swiss company, Patria, was very common among European manufacturers including Oliver and Voss (Privat model).

Some features from the previous model remain in this one, including the placement of the ribbon selector on top of the type basket. (Will Davis has some pictures showing the evolution of Swissa portables here.) Notice how the space bar is set in its own metal slot, a rather unusual arrangement. I shall admit that I find the ornate logo rather fetching. 

While the machine itself is a sturdy, compact little thing, the case adds some bulk to it that makes it slightly too large to fit in my regular IKEA Expedit shelves. Pity.

A close-up of the name plate on the rear.

Finally, the case, which is mainly wood covered with fabric, with a plastic handle. As you may have noticed from the baseboard in the other pictures, the seam on the case is a bit of a trompe l'oeil, because it is not where the opening is!

The Swissa Junior is a lovely machine in general, despite slight uppercase alignment problems that can be seen in the typecast. The techno typeface was also a pleasant surprise when I received it, having purchased it on a whim from a Swiss auction site last September. It is carriage-shifted, but feels solid due to the all-metal construction and writes very well and fairly rapidly at that, too. Good find overall, and as Swiss typewriters go, this makes a nice change from the usual Hermes!


  1. "The usual Hermes."

    Oh, you're killing me. :-)

  2. Very nice. And my oeil was tromped!

    I have one of these with a QWERTY keyboard; it's the only one I've ever seen.

  3. Hi and welcome to 2011 (well, I'm welcoming myself on your blog)! What's the serial number of this cute machine? I do think the Swissa is a bit clumsy, but that makes it nice, too.

  4. Hi Georg! The serial number is 6102535. Now that I've bothered to write it down, I shall go and research the year of manufacture... and I'm sure you'll do the same :)

  5. whoa I have the same typewriter! any idea what ribbon would work for it?

  6. Adwoa,
    I even read your old posts. Your site as well as Richard's are always interesting. I knew I saw a Techno typeface similar or matching mine on my Facit TP1. This, I am sure, it it. I thought it was your Dora, but that one is different. The Ww gives them away. Very nice post from a very nice typewriter. Check out the slugs and see if they are from CSA.

  7. Hi Bill, I'm afraid you'll have to ask Ted Munk, to whom I sent this Swissa last year. It does have an interesting techno typeface and could very well turn out to share a manufacturer with your Facit! Ted will respond quickly, I'm sure.

  8. The slugs are marked
    "11 C

    so yes, it looks like Swissa and Facit shared a typeslug manufacturer. (:


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