Posted on July 27, 2016
I recently came across an interesting (U.K.) listing for a Polish Predom Łucznik portable typewriter …
While the branding wasn’t familiar to me, the typewriter certainly was …
… even more so when I saw the tell-tale tubular carriage rail …
It’s the clone of a Facit 1620, which were sold with or without (as in this case) tabulation. As you may also have noticed, this one is for sale without carriage return!
The result of a search on “Polish Typewriters” revealed the genesis of these machines, and is worth paraphrasing (and plagiarising) here:
“In the early ’70s the decision to begin the production of typewriters at the Polish Radom “Łucznik” [Archer] armaments factory was made. The main reason for this decision was a significant decrease in the demand for armaments following the end of the Vietnam war.
New production, oriented towards the social needs of the civilian population (typewriters, sewing machines, domestic appliances, clocks) replaced the production of military hardware and weaponry. The 1970s were not, however, the best of times for typewriter manufacturing. It was around this time that many manufacturers (Underwood, Royal, and Remington, etc.) closed their factories for good.
In order to begin the manufacturer of typewriters at the Radom “Łucznik” plant, the company – formerly famous for its production of Kalashnikov rifles and Walther PPK pistols – purchased several patents from the Swedish typewriter and business machine manufacturer, Facit. Thus the production of portable and standard typewriters (both mechanical and electric) began.
During almost 20 years of production, some small changes to the designs were introduced, however there were no great departures from the designs provided by Facit. Typewriters were produced for the Polish market, and models with Cyrillic typefaces and keyboards were also produced for the Russian market.
In the beginning, Predom was used as the brand name. Later, this was replaced by Predom – Łucznik, and finally just Łucznik. The production of typewriters ended around 1990 and the Łucznik factory was divided-up between companies specialising in gun and sewing machine manufacture.
Łucznik typewriters had a reputation for good quality, however they were heavier, noisier (and invariably made from cheaper materials) than the Facit models on which they were based.
The big advantage of these typewriters from the point-of-view of dissident Samizdat publishers in Poland, was their ability to produce 5 copies per typed page using carbon paper. However, this was not as impressive as the 8 copies achievable using East German “Erika” typewriters.”
The following Predom standard typewriter – a Predom Łucznik 1007 – listed on Polish eBay, is one of several Predom typewriters featured by Will Davis on his website here.
It’s a Facit T2 clone.
Another brand variant is this ELTEX machine, which shows all the signs of being a rebadged Swedish-built Facit rather than an Eastern-bloc clone …
A clone of the Facit 1624, a 1620 with a wider carriage, was the Predom Łucznik 1303.
Here’s another Predom Łucznik 1301 (Facit 1620 clone) listed on a Spanish auction site …
In addition to typewriters, clones of various Facit mechanical calculating machines were also made, and sold under a Predom – Mesko brand name.
See Also: Companions-in-arms
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