Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Antares Annabella Manual Portable Typewriter (1960s)

March is here! My very favorite month of the year - snow melting, spring arriving, days lengthening, and a birthday! (*hintmoredetailsoncontactmepageendhint*) So, what better time to feature a bright, cheery typewriter? After ogling Richard's parade of pretty Sad Face Vosses (a misnomer if ever there was one), I would like to add this Annabella to the cotillion of fetching two-tone typewriters.

The Annabella is not a particularly rare machine; it appears to be a version of an existing Antares typewriter produced in this color scheme for the German market (I've only ever seen it on German eBay and with a German keyboard so far). David and Georg both have Annabellas, and I could only stare at their pictures for so long before going off on a quest of my own. I was hesitant to order from Germany, what with the troubles of international shipping, and when this appeared on a local Swiss website... well, it was destiny. I wonder whether that bidding war was destiny too...

An ad for the Italian version of the typewriter. Also, Georg has kindly put up a photo set on Flickr comparing the Annabella to another Antares portable of the same era - while they are slightly different externally, the mechanism is exactly the same. A comparison of the Antares Parva with the Annabella reveals many design similarities as well.

(The lever on the side changes the direction of the ribbon.) I used to have a typewriter quite similar to this, an Underwood 19. It was... eh, just ok. It typed well enough, but the key tops were made of a hard plastic that rattled in an unnerving manner and felt rather flimsy. It was unremarkable in every way, a beige plastic, carriage shifted, little mouse of a typewriter - with the one redeeming feature being its incredibly slim profile.

This is one of a few typewriters, like the Rooy, that I bought just so I could have one and look at it. In that respect, it works perfectly well! It spends all day in its cozy case, and occasionally comes out for a photo shoot. I acquired this knowing that it would have many of the features that I found less than convenient in the Underwood 19, including rattly key tops and carriage shift, but the all-metal body and stunning color scheme more than made up for it, so I forged ahead anyway.

Look at those cute rabbit-eared paper fingers! Reminds me of nothing so much as Pikachu...
I haven't gotten around to making a type sample, but I shall add this into my typewriter rotation so you should be seeing a typecast from it soon. In any case, it's a continental elite typeface, 11 characters per inch. And finally, the case, which is very similar to that of the Lettera 22, and is just as handbag-like:


  1. I have one of these and also love it for its looks.

    Misnomer, eh? Surely typewriters have faces, and this one is a Happy Face Typewriter if there ever was one! Just look at that big lipsticked grin on the ribbon cover.

  2. Beautiful machine, Adwoa! It seems that virtuall all Annabellas sold in the German market had this dark red/ivory scheme I find so attractive.
    Btw, watch your booth: the ribbons should arrive at any moment...

  3. Congratulations on this find! Documentation on Antares machines could help to shed some more light on the hitherto not so well documented company and production history. I will have a look in persona at our upcoming type-in!

  4. I wish Switzerland was closer (at least by the Pyrenees...), for I would love to participate in your type-in! As for the Antares machines, Georg, I will soon provide data about two similar machines (the "normal" Annabella and a variation that seems to have been marketed only in Italy, Austria and Germany).

  5. @Richard - Ok, fine, I sort of see it. Especially with those ears perked up! Hilarious comment about the lipstick; now I'm always going to think of that when I use the Annabella (fitting!).

    @Ruy -Indeed, I'm not sure whether Antares sold this exact color scheme in the native Italian market. I look forward to seeing/ reading about the rare Annabella variant! We shall miss you at the type-in, details of which are to be determined...

    @Georg - That's one way to get serial number information! Come and hunt for it in person :-)

  6. I have a Parva on the way with an English/Spanish keyboard layout.


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