Viewed from a distance you could be forgiven for thinking that the Silver Reed EZ 20 is just another bland, beige, portable wedge.

But you’d be wrong, or if not wrong, slightly narrow-minded.

There’s more to the EZ 20 than meets the eye. Imagine my surprise, for example, to discover an indirect link between this typewriter and Australian poet Les Murray’s poem ‘The Privacy of Typewriters’:

Les Murray’s Brother (Deluxe 762 TR)

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As revealed in an ABC National Radio “The Science Show” podcast of the 26th of August 2017, a Silver Reed EZ 20 is the typewriter on which the scripts of The Science Show are prepared.

Introduced in late 1986, Silver Reed EZ-series electronic typewriters are a departure from the EX-series of the early-to-mid 1980s. One difference are the print wheels used. The EZ series use a drop-in cartridge wheel …

Whereas the EX series use a clip-on print wheel …

The print ribbon, however, is the same across the EZ and the EX series, at least for the portable machines …

In fact, the only reason I bought this typewriter was to get my hands on 7 spare ribbons for my EX-42.

But I was pleasantly surprised by the EZ 20. There are several things which endear me to it:

  • It was made in England (just like me).

  • The typing action is incredibly quiet.
  • The keyboard’s an exotic (Anglo-Spanish) one.

  • There’s an anomaly on the top row of keys. The previous owner told me he’d bought it like this, second-hand, but didn’t elaborate further …

Surely that wouldn’t have got past quality control at the U.K. factory? Who knows.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know where to go to type a 3; knowing that you need to hold down SHIFT to type the # symbol is less obvious.

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Silver Reed electronic typewriters were mostly sold for export on an OEM basis in Europe and North America. Much like Brother Industries, Silver-Seiko sub-contracted the assembly of these machines to overseas subsidiaries in so-called “screwdriver plants”.

This perhaps explains the absence of a manufacturer name on the back of the machines.

Released in 1989, the EZ 22 has the addition of decimal tabulation and centering, but is otherwise identical to the EZ 20. According to ribbon listings, there were other model variants:

  • EZ-10, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 40, 43, 45/B, 46/B, 50, 245/B

This series seems to mark the end of the line for Silver-Seiko as an electronic typewriter manufacturer. Silver Reed subsidiaries eventually sourced their machines from Nakajima and Samsung.

The warning signs were there for all to see. These compact and full Size EZ-series machines take a Nakajima ribbon …

Silver Reed EZ-30 (Compact)

Silver Reed EZ-50