This 1982 Sharp ZX-500 electronic typewriter is HUGE. Weighing in at a healthy 19kg, I had no idea how big and heavy it was.


To give you an idea, here’s the ZX500 alongside a Nakajima All Ae355 – a wedge I had previously described as “bulky”…


And here’s the ZX-500 alongside an IBM 6715


When I went to collect this typewriter at the freight depot (no-one else was mad enough to bid on it and it was mine for a dollar plus freight) I questioned whether they’d sent the right box, it was THAT big!

Did I say a weighing in at a “healthy” 19kg? Unfortunately, the condition of this ZX500 is not as good as it once was …


Note the buckled frame at front (above) and how the right side of the keyboard is out of kilter (below)


The typewriter had been very well bubble-wrapped but had been lowered diagonally into a large cardboard box with the thin edge of the wedge facing up. No markings to suggest it was fragile. What seems to have happened is that gravity and the weight of the thick end of the wedge has caused the keyboard to be wrenched away from the front of the machine on one side, causing one key to snap clean off…


Cherry Black key switches?

… and the keys around the missing key  to become jammed up against the back of the keyboard surround.


The typewriter powers up okay, but because of its misalignment, the switch that disables the machine when the lid is open, isn’t triggered when the lid is shut.

I’m hoping I can take it apart, straighten things out and then reassemble.

When I opened the lid to check for damage inside, one word stood out…


SCHMUCK or not, there’s a lot to admire about this mammoth piece of junk.  The following pages of a glossy brochure that came with it illustrates what a state-of-the-art piece of gear it was back in 1982…






The reference cards that fan out from under the front of the machine are a neat idea…



Or for more detail, you could read the instruction manual, which runs to 90 pages and is almost as long as a novel…


Speaking of novels, you could write one on a machine like this. In fact I know someone who did – but more  about that in my next blog post, this one has gone on far too long.