Letters from Nakajima: All the same
Posted on June 23, 2014
In the early ’80s Nakajima All continued to live up to their name and carried on as they had with their mechanical typewriters by rebranding their electronic typewriters for all and sundry.
The full extent of this electronic typewriter cross-pollination (see also my blog post about the Xerox 6002) becomes apparent when you search for a typewriter ribbon:
“BRAND NEW SEALED FRESH STOCK.
NAKAJIMA AE300, 330, 340, 350, 360, 365, 440, 460, 485, 650.
ADLER/ROYAL 8008, SATELLITE 2001, 2002, 2010, 2015, II.
OLYMPIA COMPACT ELECTRONIC, I, II, III, RO, EC, PORTABLE,
OLIVETTI 900 X, 901 D, CX 880
HERMES 18, TOPTRONIC 15
SMITH CORONA 1100, 1300, 1400, 4000, EC 1100, EC 1150, EC 1300, EC 1300RO, EC 400, EL 4000, ET 1300, Typetronic III,
SWINTEC 1146, 1146 CM, 1146 CMA, 1146 CMP, 1186 CM, 1186 CMP, 2100 Compumate, 4000, 4040, 8000, 8011, 8012, 8014, 8014 KSR, 8014 S, 8016, 8017
and many others…”
“ADLER/ROYAL”? Odd to think that Nakajima shared ribbons and components with Triumph Adler-Royal, who were busily rebranding typewriters of their own.
Still, a Nakajima by any other name does sound more romantic when its written in French…
“Marque NAKAJIMA AE 355 très bon état, peu servie. Peut être utlisée comme imprimante reliée à un PC avec 2 marguerites”
The last part of which Google-translates to: “May be utilised as a printer connected to a PC with daisies!” This is a reference to the parallel port on the back of the Nakajima All AE355:
Interestingly, the AE355 is closer in feel and sound to a Selectric than the IBM 6715 is.
For a start, it has the same washing machine-like hum, and also has very tactile and Selectric-like spherical (double shot) key tops – which are very different to the springy cylindrical (dye-sub) key tops on the IBM 6715 (which, by the way, still holds top spot as my number one wedge to type on).
The only problem I have with the AE355 is the fact that it’s quite noisy – but on the plus side, you definitely know you’re using a typewriter – and not a bad one at that!
So while it’s true many electronic typewriters look the same (and often are the same) and often share the same components and accessories, they can be different. That difference is often down to the quality of the key switches.