Cream of Typewriter Soup
Posted on November 2, 2015
“57 Varieties” was the advertising slogan that told consumers about the numerous products available from the H.J. Heinz Company. These days it has come to mean anything that is made from a large number of parts or origins, so it’s a slogan that seems particularly apt in a typewriterly context.
A good variety of typewriters were manufactured in 1957. Typewriters like my Remington Senior-Riter (Torpedo 18) …
… or this 1957 Hermes Baby, which I stumbled upon at a car boot sale last weekend …
… or better still, this 1957 Triumph Perfekt, the last in the batch of German typewriters I bought in Fremantle, Western Australia …
For its size, this Triumph Perfekt is remarkably heavy. With the added bulk of a case (which I don’t have) it’d be barely portable.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d much prefer to carry it around in a case. In fact, if I could find a “crazed” one like I dream lo-tech’s, I’d be more than happy.
The carriage mechanism on this Triumph Perfekt is so buttery soft, so silkily smooth, so whisper-quiet, it requires minimum human effort to return it.
The typing feel is effortless too. Not quite as snappy as my Torpedo 30 but that’s no bad thing when you consider that the sound of a Torpedo can be quite jarring.
Plenty of mileage left!
Great typewriter, great typeface.
But how does it compare with the 7 other German typewriters I bought as a batch? Here are my rankings (first to last) based purely on the examples I own and their comparative condition. Your experience may, of course, be different.
1 – 1970 Olympia Color-tip S (SM9)
A scriptwriter’s dream machine – sure it’s a little bashed up, but this is a typewriter with a spaciously easy-going nature and a gorgeously large typeface.
2 – 1954 Erika 11
A very compact yet solid typewriter with an understated charm. Pristine condition. I fell in love.
3 – 1954 Gossen Tippa
Surely the ultimate in ultra-flat typewriters? All I have to compare it with (ultra-flat-wise) is a 1959 Groma Kolibri. It’s better.
4 – 1957 Triumph Perfekt
Nice to use, even better to look at. The typing feel is good, but if I had to make a criticism, the keytops aren’t as good as they could be.
5 – 1963 Torpedo 30
Another great looker. Super-snappy, but unfortunately this Torpedo has a cheaper build quality than earlier Torpedos. A good typewriter to use when you want to let off some steam. Like a sub-machine gun, they’re devastatingly effective in short bursts!
6 – 1969 Olympia SF De Luxe
Spring-loaded keytops. What an efficient little typewriter. Business-like in both design and operation.
7 – 1952 Groma Modell N
I feel guilty about not liking this typewriter more. It’s grey, it’s austere, it gives off a bad vibe.
8 – 1968 Triumph Tippa S
You’d be right in thinking this typewriter bears some similarity to the Olympia SF De Luxe (above). But you’d be wrong if you thought it was anywhere near the same quality.
As tinny as a can of Heinz soup …