Oh Gabriele (Yet Again)
Posted on April 1, 2020
In the early days of the ET, “portability” meant you could stow your trusty machine inside a small suitcase and “lug it” between offices.
Seen online, the Adler Gabriele 8008 looks bulky:
As bulky, say, as its big brother, the SE-1005 standard daisy wheel electronic typewriter introduced in 1981:
Or as bulky, say, as a 1984 Olivetti M21 “transportable” computer (which is what is being carried by the man at the top of this post).
After taking delivery of an 8008, this impression I had of bulkiness was reinforced, first, by the size of the case the typewriter arrived in:
And secondly, by the sticker on the postal bag that enclosed the case:
I was surprised, however, by how small and light (relatively speaking) the Gabriele 8008 is.
Not for nothing (double negative alert) is this typewriter listed in my 1984-85 edition of Info-Markt, the German office equipment catalog, as a “Reiseschreibmaschine” (which translates to “travel typewriter”).
I’m not sure I’d want to travel with it, but it is lighter than many electric typewriters that came before:
As well as “Adler”, the Gabriele 8008/800L was also sold under the “Triumph” brand, and sold as the Alpha 2001/2002 under the “Royal” brand in the USA:
Released in 1982, the 8008 was the first in a long series of “Gabriele” portable and compact electronic typewriters. It was described in Australian advertising of August 1983, as “setting the new standard for the office at home”.
Former owner of the company Max Grundig leant his granddaughter’s name to a series of mechanical and electric typewriters, so why not a series of electronic typewriters?
Incidentally, since the last of those “electric typewriters” were sourced from Nakajima, it’s not surprising to find an AE-series compatible ribbon cassette under the hood of the 8008 …
Which is not to say the 8008 was manufactured by Nakajima. More likely, taking the “Made in Western Germany” manufacturer plate at face value, we can conclude it was possibly manufactured with the collaboration of Nakajima.
CIearly, the outer shell, the chunky platen knob, and the studded Lego-brick-style key-tops, are all a throwback to the single element (golf ball) predecessor of the SE electronic (daisy wheel) series, the SE-1000 CD:
Given the use of a Nakajima ribbon, I was surprised to find a Triumph-Adler brand printwheel in situ: Very surprised given that the Rarotype typestyle compatibility guide states:
The following ADLER/ROYAL models require NAKAJIMA AE – Series printwheels: Gabriele 8008/L, ALPHA 600, 600P, 720, 820, 920, 2015, 2300, 3300, 4300, 5300, BETA 8000, 8000T, SIGNET 100, 200S, Satellite 40, Satellite 80, Royal 7700
All things considered, the 10 cps, dual pitch Adler 8008 is an odd prototype that was quickly superseded by faster, sleeker models – models that took a proprietary TA ribbon cassette:
Gabriele 9009 (1984) – listed in my 1984-85 copy of Info-Markt as a “Reiseschreibmaschine”, then listed in my 1986-87 copy of Info-Markt as a “Kompakt-schreibmaschine” (a change in classification which makes more sense) – the same platen knob transposed to the left-hand side where it belongs, flatter key-tops, a more wedge-like shape, triple rather than dual pitch, and an increased speed of 13 cps:
Gabriele 7007/L (1986) – listed in my 1986-87 copy of Info-Markt as a “Portable Schreibmaschine” (smaller indeed than the 9009), modified platen knob, more conventional key-tops, classic wedge-like shape, dual pitch, 13 cps:
These models were quickly superseded, in turn, by SE-300 series Kompakt electronic typewriters. The “Gabriele” name continued to be used for a plethora of cheaper late-model portables.