Saturday, April 28, 2012

Typecast Writ Small: Swissa Jeunesse - 20 CPI Micro-Elite

I wrote 17 per inch in the typecast, but I was mistaken - this macro shot (excerpt from the letter Nik's parents sent us) shows closer to 20 characters per inch (counting from the first e to the c). Am I counting correctly?

Here is the typewriter itself, finally. Not much to look at externally, perhaps, but chock-full of inner beauty! David from has one of these with Bulletin typeface, and I believe Georg has also had his Swissa Jeunesse for several years now.

Note the unusual placement of the carriage return lever; here's a close-up:

The super small typeface is really quite fascinating: according to the letter we received, this Swissa was used in the Museum of Natural History at Bern to type labels for insect specimens. Fitting work, I suppose. I am not sure how common these were;  in fact, the only other typewriter I have come across with micro-elite typeface was a wide-carriage Hermes standard in Alfred Wepf's collection. It always seemed odd to me, having such a huge machine produce such tiny text!

Pity Swissa resorted to boxy plastic at the end, like the last generation Hermes 3000. Come to think of it, the shape, size, and lettering on these keys is exactly the same as the later Hermes 3000s and Baby used - coincidence?

Here is the very squared box it came in. Now I have two Swissas: one with a giant typeface, and one with a tiny typeface. A matched set!


  1. So cool! And it's very readable, at least with that carbon ribbon -- I suppose a cloth ribbon could create problems at 20 cpi (that's my count too).

    I almost like that '70s design. Next thing you know, I'll be wearing bellbottoms and sideburns.

  2. That's even smaller than my museum typer, the Whispering Giant Remington gothic from Seattle Art Museum. I will send you a page for comparison. I use adding machine tape to type on that one, the lines work out best that way. Nice score!

  3. Very neat and clean typeface! It is surprising how clear the small pitch is, but it all may be due to the carbon ribbon as Richard pointed out.

    I like the typewriter also. It does not look as unappealing to my eye as the last version of the Hermes 3000.

  4. Very sharp text - but like Polt said, it's all in the ribbon. I rather like the boxy look of those 70s machines. Not as nice as a 50s Corona, but still has it's charms. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. That typeface is just stunning. I was really surprised when I noticed the Olympia sample at the end.

  6. I like notagain's suggestion of adding-machine tape. You can see what a pica machine does on that size paper in my "Explanations" typecast but something this small would be just perfect. You could get a whole story on a postcard. What about tiny books with hand-sewn covers? Hmmm...

  7. Adwoa, I would have to disagree that this machine is "nothing much to look at." I think it's got that 70s charm, I find it quite attractive. The carriage return lever looks very 70s as well, kinda reminds me of a transistor radio antenna. And I'll definitely chime-in on the font- very cool!

  8. This typewriter looks to be in pristine condition -- great gift!

    That wonderfully tiny type would be great to use with postcards, or other small paper media for correspondence.

  9. Wow! The machine it's stunning! I'm not very I'm not very keen on the design but the typeface it's amazing :)

  10. I've spotted a maybe perfect match of this typeface in a digital version.
    It's called 'Generika Mono'. The swiss author of this work claims that he was inspired by 'an old Adler typewriter specimen'… I wonder which model it is.
    Find 'Generika Mono' specimen here



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