The Bunbury Kolibri
Posted on September 4, 2014
A few of you may have seen this 1959-60 Groma Kolibri typewriter appear fleetingly on Australian eBay and Gumtree …
Last Friday I tracked it down to the coastal suburb of Safety Bay, in the town of Rockingham, Western Australia. The original owner, an elderly lady, told me she was born and grew up in Bunbury, a town just a few kilometres further south. This was where, as a young woman, she’d bought the typewriter in 1960.
It just goes to show you, there’s no telling what you might find, even in this far-flung corner of the world!
Like almost every other Kolibri I’ve seen on the Internet, mine (yes, of course I bought it) has some damage to the paintwork on the ribbon cover caused by the low-slung return lever. Apart from that and a few scuff marks on the rear, it’s in very good cosmetic condition.
And I really like the colour scheme …
The serial number (underneath the space bar on the underside of the frame) is 647 376.
Although this QWERTY Kolibri was obviously manufactured for export, it’s not marked “for export” like the one owned by Kalachuchi Atbp.
I found out recently from Nick B that the badge (and the number) on the rear of the machine is known as a “Gütezeichen (quality mark) and the number indicates the specification by which the typewriter was held against for quality.”
This typewriter had one metal Pelikan spool (pictured below) and one plastic spool – which I replaced with the remaining spool of three (Olivetti) Pelikan spools I bought recently on eBay – and it fits!
For size comparison, here’s the Kolibri alongside my Lettera 22 …
I haven’t had a good type on the Kolibri yet because it needs cleaning, several type bars are sticky and there’s a problem with the “o” type bar, which for some reason won’t return to its resting position even though all the springs seems to be intact. It can be brought back to a resting position by quickly jigging the key up and down. Perhaps a bent rod somewhere. I haven’t had time to look at it yet.
The typeface seems to match the Pica Imperialschrift type sample shown in the booklet (below).
Bunbury Kolibri girl 1960!
Finally, a timeline of production (albeit in German):