The Imperial Good Companion (IGC) 5 is a typewriter that’s been blogged about extensively by collectors such as Robert Messenger, Richard Polt (who also provided an instruction guide), Nick Tauriainen, Teeritz and Rob Bowker.


I was interested to learn from them that the IGC5 is a descendant of the German-Torpedo 20.



This is not the first Torpedo in my collection masquerading as something else: I have a Remington Senior-Riter (AKA a Torpedo 18) …


The typing action of the IGC5 is not as snappy as that of the Senior-Riter, but its flatter and more contoured key-tops are easier to type on.


In all there are 7 incarnations of Good Companion typewriter – almost as many model variations as there are adaptations of J.B. Priestley’s novel, The Good Companions.


Priestley’s novel was adapted as a stage play (1931), two movies (1931 and 1957), three stage musicals (1974, 1995, 2009), a Yorkshire TV series (1980), and a radio adaptation (2010).


Flogged to death – as the person who caked this beautiful machine in whiteout ought to be! There’s still a job to do to remove it from the carriage rails and segment.


An odd fact pointed out by Robert Messenger, in one of several IGC-related posts, is the omission of the IGC5 in Wilfred Beeching’s book Century of the Typewriter. The fact that (possibly) England’s finest portable typewriter was based on a German design may have been too unpalatable a truth for the Director of the British Typewriter Museum to bear. Who knows.

All I do know is that mine was once sold by an Imperial-Olivetti dealership …


The serial number 5H-763 dates it to 1958. It’s in reasonable shape, although its rubber feet are completely shot, and to my mind the scrapes on the front edge of the typewriter are indicative of a major design flaw …


… an abrasive fibre-glass shell that is awkward to fit. I suppose that must be the British part of the design. 😉


Still, as Rob Bowker points out, it is better to have a case than not have one, and a “crumb tray” is essential (strangely enough the rubber feet on the tray are in very good condition).


Not bad for $40 AUD. Elite typeface.