Released circa September 1991, Sharp’s “second generation” 3000 Series of PA (Personal Automation) portable electronic typewriters are smaller and lighter than their predecessors …

Above, a single platen knob Sharp PA-3000II
(in my collection)

“First generation” PA-3000/3100 Series portable electronic typewriters (3000, 3020, 3120, 3130, 3140, 30211) were introduced in October 1986 …

Above, a Sharp PA-3000 series (First Generation) “Intelliwriter” ad (1991).
Above, a double-knobbed Sharp PA-3100II
(in my collection)

Both the new and the old PA-series continued to be manufactured and sold into the 1990s.

In the following ad, a Sharp PA-3000II is described as “compact”. Not compact in the sense of “semi-professional”, but compact in the sense of being small and lightweight …

Sharp Advertising (1991)

Since these were entry-level typewriters (often targeted at students and given away with fountain pens) the “Intelliwriter” name was dropped …

Like the PA-3000/3100 series “Intelliwriters” that came before, these typewriters have an average speed of 12 cps, which is one benchmark of a good rather than a poor-to-average portable electronic typewriter.

Other portable wedges (Brother AX-440 I’m thinking of you) claim a top speed of 12 cps, when the average speed is somewhere around 10, and are sluggish by comparison.

Things to like about these 1990s Sharp PA-3000 machines:

  • A quality keyboard with tactile soft-to-the-touch key-tops
  • A spacious cable-stow compartment on the rear of the machine
  • Simple, stylish, lightweight

On the downside:

  • The typing line is hardly visible:

Where’s a 40 character LCD screen when you need one? A major drawback of these typewriters is the one-piece transparent ribbon cover which doubles as the paper bail bar and obscures your view of what’s being typed – annoyingly this is a cover which you can only pull towards you and rest against the keyboard, rendering the typewriter inoperable …

  • Another downside is the print wheel:

“First generation” PA-3000/3100 Series typewriters use a drop-in cartridge (Below Right). The wheel is further supported by a metal brace.

“Second generation” wheels are also dropped in, but without a protective cartridge (Below Left). Get the alignment wrong and you can damage the wheel …

Drawbacks aside, for simple typing jobs these typewriters are pretty good. Manufactured in Korea, the U.K. and the Philippines, the PA-3000, with various S, H and X suffixes that hint at additional storage and/or functions, come in a variety of light-to-mid-to-dark grey-to-charcoal colours …

Sharp PA-3000S (above)

The UK-made Sharp PA-3000s below appears to have been the very first incarnation of the “second generation” – they have a flip-up lid/paper table which is separate to the ribbon cover and the bail bar, plus a chunky platen knob – features more in keeping with typewriters of the “first generation” (PA-3000/3100 series) …

A variation of this typewriter was advertised for sale in the USA, in August 1990 and the years following, as the QL-800 “Celebra” …

Brand recognition is important to the giants of consumer electronics. Sharp is no exception and mostly sells its products under its own name; however some electronic typewriters were clearly supplied on an OEM basis …

SIGMA SM-8400 (above)

Later (“third generation”?) QL-110, 200, 210, 310 portable electronic typewriters (sold in the U.K. circa 1993 onwards) have a body style which is very similar to typewriters of the “second generation” …

These QL- typewriters have a more rounded shape. A view of the underside of both machines shows the difference …

This typewriter has flair!