It’s disappointing to note that, at a top speed of 12 characters-per-second, Silver Reed EX series (EX-42. 43N, EX-44) compact electronic typewriters are slower than most of their (early 1980s) contemporaries.

But speed isn’t everything (unless you’re a touch-typist with a competitive streak) and as I said when I bought a Silver Reed EX-42 electronic typewriter in October last year, these EX-series typewriters have an attractive simplicity, a very good build-quality (hence they’re quite heavy), a gorgeous keyboard, and a classic wedge shape—as featured on the cover of the Operating Manual (a copy of which I finally tracked down).

The only downside to owning one of these early Silver Reed wedges is the scarcity of their ribbon cassettes and print wheels. I managed to pick up a few ribbons cheaply on a recent trip to the U.K., which is where I also got the operating manual.

The brevity of the operating manual reinforces how simple this series of typewriters are, with the EX-42 being the simplest of the three.

The operating manual tells me that the EX-44 and the EX-43N have a paper table/fold-down plastic lid, and an eraser table, that the EX-42 doesn’t have.

EX-44 (above)

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The EX-42 is also missing a KBI and KBII keyboard selector switch, 15 pitch selection and a 15 pitch line on the margin/pitch scale.

But who needs 15 pitch when the EX-42 is so big on character?

The 15 pitch Gothic Mini type wheel I also bought recently during my U.K. trip (the one with the Selectric-style spring clip) works perfectly well when the EX-42 is set to 12 pitch:

According to the operating manual: “For the machines to USA/Canada function keys are indicated with the names of the functions instead of the arrow marks.” Not sure why someone thought that was necessary.

Silver Reed EX42-43N-44 Instruction Guide