Further to my recent interest in portable electric typewriters, I bought one.

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I especially chose this Triumph-Adler Gabriele “Electric S” because it was Made in Germany

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 The number on the left seems too long to be a serial number. But there is what appears to be a serial number (251909) positioned prominently on the base, underneath the space bar.

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No dating information, possibly mid to late seventies.

According to Triumph-Adler’s own version of their history …

“1969: The elegant Gabriele 5000, the first “portable” typewriter produced in Germany, causes a sensation and is a big commercial success.”

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Triumph Gabriele 5000

According to Wilfred Beeching, the “Adler” Gabriele 5000 was first manufactured in 1972.

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I don’t know if the German-made Gabriele Electric S was made before, at the same time, or after portable electric typewriters were manufactured for Triumph-Adler in Japan …

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T-A Vertriebs-GmbH, Nürnberg, Made in Japan

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Online examples of the German-made Gabriele Electric S are few and far between, even on German eBay. The Gabriele Electric S was also badged as the Gaby Electric S, and a wide-carriage version, the Gabriele/Gaby Electric SL, was also produced …

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Mine came to me all the way from Tasmania!

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Appearances (and carefully chosen camera angles) can be deceptive.

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As I said in a previous Compact Electrics post, size or “compactness” is relative.

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The Gabriele Electric S is, for example, not much bigger than an Olivetti Lettera 32 …

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It is at least a kilo heavier though – yet appreciably smaller and lighter than an IBM “Baby” Selectric …

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I think we can safely say it qualifies as a “portable” electric typewriter.

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The dimensions of the Gabriele Electric S with lid on are:

  • Width = 32cm or 12.59 inches
  • Depth = 34cm 0r 13.38 inches
  • Height = 12cm or 4.72 inches

An instruction sheet is, thankfully, glued to the underside of the lid …

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Question: How am I supposed to set the right margin when there’s only one (left) margin stop? And what is the point of: “8. Margin release – to release the lock at the left-hand margin”?

That must be an error, as is “19. Shift lock key” which points to one of two Shift keys. The solitary Shift Lock key is correctly numbered “10.”

One thing I have figured out from the illustration, is that I’m missing a small plastic paper rest that folds down on top of the platen.

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The elaborate spring-loaded arms of the ribbon feed mechanism make feeding the ribbon a breeze …

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And the plastic ribbon cover snaps on and off very easily, as explained in the instruction guide …

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The spools and spindles are plastic, but in the context of a plastic-bodied (but solid) typewriter that’s okay …

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Of course, the big advantage of an electric typewriter is less finger fatigue due to the reduced angle or pitch of the keyboard …

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Beeching, page 179

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The touch of the keyboard on the Gabriele Electric S is similar to that on an electric daisywheel typewriter, as is the impact of the hammer (or in this case, the impact of a segment-shifted basket full of hammers). The big advantage that the type bar machine has over the daisywheel machine, however, is the speed of impact. You don’t get that awful lag between key press and impact that you get with a revolving daisywheel.

Likewise, when you hit the carriage return key there’s no delay, no waiting for some wimpy buzzing plastic ribbon cartridge to take a sushi train ride back to the left margin.

The carriage return on this thing is so lightning fast and so powerful the typewriter actually recoils. It’s magnum force in a typewriter!

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On the downside, the words “INTERFERENCE ELIMINATED” on the rear of this machine don’t quite ring true, since there’s a very audible hum when you switch the machine on. It could annoy the hell out of some people, but if, like me, you enjoy typing to background music, it’s not a problem.

Of course, the big design flaw that this and all other electric typewriters possess (battery-operated models excepted) is this …

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You have to plug it in!

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~

p.s. See Scott K’s comment below. It seems Triumph Adler Royal were supplying electric typewriters to Olympia.

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Olympia Monica Electric

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Olympia Monica Electric S

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