Friday, April 8, 2011

April 2011 Typewriter Sightings

Imperial Good Companion

In order to keep these posts from becoming Hermes parades, I think I'll start them off with the most interesting/ unusual typewriter sighted in the given period. Last Saturday was a good flea market day: the sun was out, all the vendors showed up, and there were quite a few typewriters to be looked at, including several with qwerty keyboards, which is not so common.

The best sighting was the above Imperial Good Companion, which looked to have a wide carriage and a very well-preserved crest. Fascinating! I'd never seen one of these before, Imperial-branded typewriters in general being rare birds in Switzerland. I imagine this was brought over by a British expat sometime in the 50s or 60s, and, returning to England for a well-deserved retirement, he left behind this gem. I didn't test it out, just oohed and aahed and took pictures, but it looked to be in fine condition, case and all. Size-wise, it is a mid-range sort, so about the same as your average Hermes 2000.

Remington Portable qwerty

Here's another qwerty - a Remington "Home Portable" which must also have come from the UK, judging from the pound sign. There must have been a recent exodus of British retirees around these parts! Taking this picture was a bit of a challenge; first I had to squeeze past a malnourished-looking Bengal cat that the seller had attached to a leash (how strange...) and who mewed piteously as she dashed frantically to and fro. Didn't stick around long enough to figure out if the cat was for sale, too.

Royal KMM (?)

Another British qwerty - this time a Royal KMM (KMG?). The seller was so hopeful as I approached to take a picture that I temporarily considered trying to fit this into our cramped 500 square foot apartment. Huh. Not happening. I complimented him on the nice find, though.

Hermes 2000 qwerty

Yet another qwerty! This is your usual Hermes 2000, grimy and unfortunately bald, but it has a rather interesting keyboard - all of the French characters and accents are present, despite the qwerty layout.

Remington Noiseles

Before the Hermes parade begins, here are some others: a Smith Premier Noiseless 61. Very handsome fellow; I must admit the size of that "noiseless" hood is a tad intimidating.

Underwood Standard

An older Underwood standard from the same seller, who seems to always have a steady supply of nice antique typewriters. The selection changes every few months or so.

index typewriter

This time, he also appears to have uncovered a valuable treasure: a Special AEG index typewriter. If I have it right, AEG is the company that later became Olympia - the name later showed up on some Olympia electric typewriters.

Hermes Media
The start of the Hermes parade: a beautiful glossy black '30s Hermes Media, with a Swiss-French keyboard.

Hermes 2000 qwertz
Next up in chronological order, a late '50s Hermes 2000. Identical to the bald one shown earlier on in this post, but this one has a full head of "hair" and a Swiss-French qwertz keyboard.

Hermes Media 3
 To top it all off, the last in the generation: a Swiss-German layout late '70s Hermes Media 3.

Not a bad haul of photos, all in all. A few of these are rather expected, but the Imperial was definitely the highlight of the day!


  1. Wow... a normal day at the fleamarket? Some market!

    We get quite a few Imperials down here in Australia, but I've never actually tried one.

  2. I'm always jealous of your markets. Would really like to get there someday.

  3. Heh, we're always jealous of the wide selection of Hermes machines you have. Your swap meets look like a joy to browse! Thanks for keeping the beautiful typewriter porn flowing (:

  4. Really a great day for a photo-safari!

    I love the body style of those '50s Good Companions. Some of them came in a great streamlined case, too, like a small version of the Olympia SM cases of the period.

  5. Nice find! I have a nice Good Companion, made in 1943. It is amazing to note how good the fit and finish of the machine is, having in mind the fact that it was built by an economy engulfed by warfare needs (and warfare planification). If properly maintained, I think it will outlive the current owner :)

  6. This is really rich ! thank you for the post. In Zurich either I am very unlucky or all the markets seems to have only Olivetti Lettera typewriters and very few Hermes ....I once found one in fairly poor conditions and asking an astronomic price !


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