I like the authoritarian tone of parts of the Erika 3004 portable electronic typewriter instruction guide I picked up cheaply on eBay (it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a typewriter might turn up to go with it). While the written English is understandable, it’s clearly not the English of a practiced English speaker:

“We congratulate you on having purchased our electronic portable typewriter. You should convince yourself of the efficiency of this machine (and our political system!).”

The Erika 3004 was first manufactured in 1987 at the VEB Robotron Optima Büromaschinenwerk, Erfurt plant, GDR, mainly for export to OEMs in Western Europe.

This explains why the instruction guide fails to refer to a brand or either a model name or number throughout. But given that the unnamed typewriter is clearly a “plain vanilla” machine, limited to 10 and 12 pitch, with an unimpressive speed of 10 characters-per-second, no LCD screen, and a correction memory of a mere 20 characters, we can safely assume it’s an instruction guide for the 3004.

The Erika 3004 is the first in a series of portables which includes:

  • a 3005 model with more correction memory and the addition of 15 pitch (1988),
  • a 3006 model (also 1988) which has even more correction memory and a small (16 character) LCD screen.

In 1989, Erika 3015 and 3016 typewriters, with added functions for bold, underline and centering, were released as successors to the earlier 3005 and 3006 models.

This example of an Erika 3004 has a more attractive colour …

An interesting point of difference are the sleeved 100-character daisy wheels of the 3000 series. These wheels seem to have been short-lived and were not, as far as I know, used on Robotron’s higher-spec compact 6000 series.

Robotron-Erika 3004 Portable Electronic Typewriter Instructions Guide PDF (7.7 MB)