11 Apr 2014

Post-war Erikas (part 2, 1965-1991)

Erika portables made after WWII have always been a bit confusing to figure out. Hopefully this 2-part series helps clear things up as I compare model-by-model and introduce a long-needed full list of serial numbers online. Using the data in Die Entwicklung der ehemaligen DDR-Schreibmaschinen-Produktion, I have compiled a comprehensive serial number list that spans the entire history of Erika typewriters and fills in a number of gaps and fixes inaccuracies in the old list from tw-db. The new complete listing is found on the Typewriter Database.

1928-1991 Erika timeline

click to enlarge

All of the pictures in this post have been found on the internet and come from the collections of Tilman Elster, Rob Messenger, myself, and other typospherians, as well as current and ended online auctions, and are presented purely as examples essential to this post. No infringement intended.

All typewriters with serial numbers indicated have been dated using the list at the bottom of the post. Regarding the numbers; there are a number of different sources that all slightly contradict each other. The source I am using is the newest and most complete one available.

This post will be edited when new information becomes available, especially with model examples. If you have an example with a serial number and photo, or anything else useful, please let me know!

Mechanical differences

The Erika models shown in part 1 have a few different mechanical designs, as well as having different shells. The 8, 9, and 11 are a completely separate line of typewriter from the 10 and 12. All of the models shown here, on the other hand, appear to be very similar, mechanically. Because I only own one, I can't say for sure. When I eventually find a few more then I'll add my observations to this post. But at this time I think it is safe to say that all the models produced from 1965 onward are mechanically very similar, aside from slight changes like a rapid-spacer and slightly different card/paper prongs/holders.


The branding of East German typewriters has always been a little bit muddled, but the typewriters by far most affected by different rebrandings are Erikas. A few people have asked me how they should classify their typewriters in the Typewriter Database, and I have come up with the following plan.

This is for all Robotron machines not branded "Erika". If the typewriter says Robotron anywhere on it, or dates to 1980 or later according to the serial numbers, always place it in the Robotron gallery with the model name stating the full name, like "Präsident Deluxe". If it dates to 1979 and says Robotron anywhere on it, do the same thing. Part of the way through 1979 production was taken over by Robotron from Zentronik.

On the other hand, if it says VEB Dresden, Naumann, or Zentronik, then enter the gallery name as "Erika", "Optima", "Aztec" or whatever brand it may be. If it has a model name/number on it anywhere, use that as the model, or else find out what the corresponding Erika model number is. If there is no brand name for the rebranding you have, just ask Ted to add it for you. I bet he won't have a problem doing so.

Hopefully this will help keep all the Erikas and kin in order in the database.

Model 30/40: 1965-1976

During the second and third major eras of Erika production, the model numbers were a little simpler than we saw in part 1. Typically, the lower model number lacks a tabulator while the higher number has one. I wouldn't go as far to say that the Model 30 is a stripped down version of the Model 40 because they appear to only differ in having a tabulator.

4046101 - 1966

4702808 - 1971

4981719 - 1973

5126513 - 1974

The Model 30/40 also had a few name variants. CBM was sold in the United States. The Präsident version of Model 30 is the first of a line of many Präsidents you will see. The name was also frequently used on computer printers made by Zentronik and Robotron.

CBM 30 - 4193330 - 1967


Irene Super


Hanseatic super de luxe


Jack Tramiel really has gotten around, because a Commodore version was produced.

Commodore - 4201770 - 1967

Some examples of the Model 40. This improves on the 30 by having a tabulator.

4118632 - 1966

The Model 40 can be known as an Optima, for export to English-speaking countries, as well as a Präsident Deluxe. All examples of Erikas rebranded as Präsident that I have found are located in former West Germany so I believe it to have been an export name. A CBM version with Hebrew keyboard was sold in the US.


CBM 40 (Hebrew)

Präsident De Luxe

Präsident De Luxe - 4815218 - 1972

Models 32/42, 41, and 70: 1966-1979

The Model 32/42 was one of the longest-lived Erikas and many examples can be found. As with the Model 30/40, the 32 lacks the tabulator which the 42 has. The 32 appears to be been less common than the 42. Earlier 32/42s came in a hard case while the later ones came in a soft (but still rather sturdy) case  with red lining.

32 - 4373193 - 1969
32 - 1973


Here are examples of the Model 42. I will use this time to explain a theory about the name "Daro" appearing on Erika typewriters. It originated in 1973, as I have seen Erikas from that year with and without the Daro nameplate, and it stopped being used in 1979. In 1969, all typewriter manufacturers in the DDR were united under the name Zentronik. In 1979, the name was changed to the more familiar Robotron. I think that Daro is linked to the Zentronik enterprise because although it did not begin immediately in 1969, it ended the same year as Zentronik ended.

42 - 4675060 - 1971

42 - 4475841 - 1970

This Erika was made in the middle of 1973, right after the new case was introduced, but still with the old Erika logo in plastic.

42 - 4887154 - 1973
42 - 4957707 - 1973

42 - 5216684 - 1975

42 - 6122376 - 1979

Boots and Vendex (for the Netherlands) rebrandings:

Boots 42
Vendex V1000

The Model 41 was a wide-carriage version of the Model 42 and has a tabulator.

41 - 4425237 - 1969

41 -1978


41 -5929565 - 1978

This Erika 41 is one of the few that were imported into the US. Oddly, the Daro logo is lacking, even though it was built between 1973 and 1979. Perhaps Daro was left off when exporting to the US.

41 -5392219 - 1976

A Präsident version of the 41 was produced. I have not seen either the 32 or the 42 rebranded, though I do not know if this never happened.

Präsident Profi

The Erika 70 was a special model made for typing on passports. More information can be found here on Georg Sommeregger's blog.

Model 33/43: 1968-1974

The Model 33/43 is interesting because it was the only Erika portable with an integrated base and a snap-on lid. It has a similar appearance to the Model 32 introduced 2 years earlier. The 33 is much more common than the 43 and lacks a tabulator.

4876485 - 1973

4916973 - 1973

Here is a Präsident variant of the Model 33.

Präsident Super De Luxe

The 43 was a 33 with a tabulator. This is the only example I've seen of a Model 43.

Model 43 was also made as an Irene Super, an export brand for sale in West Germany by Quelle. An Optima version was sold in Germany.

Irene Super


Model 50/60, 48: 1974-1991

The Model 50/60 is special because it is the first Erika to have been designed after the formation of Zentronik. It was produced for a longer time (18 years) than any other Erika aside from the old Model 5 (22 years). It also happens to be one of my favorite designs, based on æsthetics, produced by post-1965 Erika. Both 50 and 60 always have a rapid-spacer (indicated by the red dot on the spacebar). Earlier 50/60s came in a red-lined case, while the later ones had a black-lined case. Model 50 lacks a tabulator and is less common than Model 60.

6350288 - 1980

Model 50/60 had quite a few name variants and also was available in a few different colors. As usual, the Hanseatic was an export name for West Germany and Optima was exported to an English-speaking country.

Hanseatic Super De Luxe

Präsident Deluxe SL

Model 60 had a tabulator and the linear progression of color schemes appears to be tan, white and grey-blue, and then finally just white.

5158100 - 1974

5545646 - 1976

6309431 - 1980

6634389 - 1981

7328299 - 1984

8199216 - 1990

Model 60 also existed as Präsidents and a Japy for French export.

Präsident Super Deluxe

Japy P951

Model 48 is essentially an E44 (seen below) with a wide carriage and a card holder. Although it was released in 1974 with the 50/60, it shares more similarities with the 34/44. The only examples I have ever seen were in Spain.



Then there is the mystery of this Hercules 300 SL. It was sold in Germany, and is almost identical to the 48. The only difference is it has a rapid-spacer. This makes it externally look like a 60 with a wide carriage, although it has a card holder which is lacking on the 60. I'm aware of model numbers that exist but I have no information on or examples of, so I'm assuming there's a model number out there for this.

Hercules 300 SL - 6303156 - 1980

Model 34/44: 1975-1991?

The Model 34/44 is basically the same as the 50/60, but lacking a rapid spacer. It's a lot less common than the 50/60 in Erika branded versions, but can be found more frequently under other names. The 34 has no tabulator, while the 44 has one.

The Präsident variation is found in Germany.



Präsident De Luxe

Präsident Deluxe TAB

Tohsei - 6808178 - 1982

The Optima, Craftamatic, and Hanimex versions are found in Australia.

Optima - 7407836 - 1985
Craftamatic Mark I - 6841815 - 1982

Hanimex Elite 34

Models 100/105 and 127: 1977-1991

Model 100/105 is another long-lived Erika commonly seen in and out of Germany. It appears to be the first design to not have been rebranded as a Präsident for West Germany. Model 100 lacks a tabulator. They were sold in white, green, yellow, and tan. They don't have a rapid spacer. Later models, beginning around 1979, have a slightly different carriage body with an indent/groove along the whole width.



100 - 7951112 - 1989

Model 105 has a tabulator. It is somewhat more common than the 100 and came in the same three colors. The earliest versions have the Daro nameplate, but most lack it, showing that production of this model was likely fairly slow at first and increased during the 1980s.



105 - 6638929 - 1981

105 - 6707836 - 1981

105 - 7982004 - 1989

The Optima variant is found in Australia.

Optima 105 - 6787594 - 1982

The only other model 105 variant I have ever seen is this odd Imperial 34. No connection with the Imperial of England, I assume, but other strange things have been seen… (you'll find out at the end of the post)

Imperial 34

The 127 was a wide-carriage version of the 105 and came in the same three colors again.


127 - 1987

A few variations on the 127 can be seen including a Junior and an Erika Champion.


Erika Champion - 6976146 - 1983

Models 115/120 and 125: 1979-1981

Model 115/120 is one of the least common Robotron Erikas, only produced for 3 years. The 115 has a standard-width carriage, a tabulator, and rapid spacer. The 115/120 was also not rebranded as a Präsident, to my knowledge.

115 - 6408958 - 1980


The 120 is the same as the 115 except it has a wide carriage.

120 - 6403411 - 1980

I have only seen Model 125 as a Robotron Comfort 125. This was made for only one year (1981) and seems to have been one of the most deluxe Robotrons made. It's basically the same as the 120, though, just with a slightly nicer case and a red tab key to match the red dot on the rapid-spacer.

Robotron Comfort - 6534476 - 1981

Models 150/153/155 and 170/173: 1981-1991

The Model 150/155 was the last new model designed by Robotron, in 1981. For the remaining 11 years, no new models were introduced. Both the 150/155 and 170/173 do not have a rapid spacer. The 150/155 was made in white and green. The 150 has no tabulator. It is interesting to note that some 150s (and 170s as well) have a white on black nameplate rather than the typical black on silver one used by all other Robotron Erikas.

While all the previous models of Erikas (in the German language, at least) have the ordinary German keyboard that lacks the number zero and has the " , . -   ? ! ' " pattern of keys at the right bottom corner. The vast majority of Models 150/155 and 170/173 (but not every single one), on the other hand, place the underscore in that location and lack an apostrophe altogether.

150 - 7933735 - 1989



Again, an Optima version was sold in Australia.

Optima 150 - 8003301 - 1989

Unlike the two previous model styles, the 150 was produced as a Präsident, as well as an Elite with charcoal grey ribbon cover and carriage.

Präsident 1500 Deluxe

Präsident 1500 Deluxe
Elite SM 500
Optima 150 - 8003373 - 1989

Model 153 is a 150 with a touch regulator.


Model 155 is a 150 with a tabulator, and is less common than the 150.

155 - 7489081 - 1986

155 - 8219669 - 1990

The 155 was rebranded as a Privileg and a Manor. Privileg was a brand used by Quelle, the mail-order company in West Germany.

Privileg 342 T

Manor 1500 deluxe

I have no examples of the 170. It is the same as the 155, but with a wire card holder and line end lock. The 173 is a 170 with a wide carriage and sometimes has the interesting white on black nameplate.



Model 173 existed as a Hercules, a Präsident, and a Privileg.

Präsident 1700 Profi

Hercules 330 S

A few different versions of the Privileg 345 BT exist. I don't know much about this rebranding, other than they were intended to be sold in the DDR.

Privileg 345 BT

Privileg 345 BT


There exist the following models that I have not seen any examples or information about, but exist in the serial number listing: 158, 128. (If you have any information, please let me know) I am aware of models 34/44, 103/108, and 145—they were special versions with either Oriental keyboard or carriages that went from left to right instead of right to left.

The Sigma SM 1000 is interesting because it appears to be mechanically identical to Model 150, although the ribbon cover is different. I have only seen this different cover on green Sigma-branded versions of the 150. The Sigma SM 3000 is a model 173.

Sigma SM 1000 - 6985811 - 1983
Sigma SM 3000

The AEG Olympia Regina De Luxe is a wide carriage 1980s Robotron in a shell that matches that used by Japanese Olympias of the time. 

AEG Olympia Regina De Luxe
AEG Olympia Regina De Luxe

Olympia Regina De Luxe - 6777532 - 1982

Olympia Regina De Luxe - 6590760 - 1981

Olympia Regina

This version of the Privileg 345 BT uses the same shell of some of the Olympia Regina De Luxes.

Privilege 345 BT

I have seen this boxy body style branded as an Erika once. Strangely, it is labelled Model 105. It was sold in Poland.



Die Entwicklung der ehemaligen DDR-Schreibmaschinen-Produktion reports that 7 typefaces were available on 1965-1991 Erikas: Pica, Perl, Kleinblock, Großpica, Imperial-Pica, Imperial-Elite, and Kristall, as well as an 8th, Venezia, starting in 1979. Kristall is the popular sans-serif typeface that looks like a combination of Hermes Epoca and techno.


Serial numbers
from Die Entwicklung der ehemaligen DDR-Schreibmaschinen-Produktion

Models 30/40, 32/42, 41, 33/43, 50/60, 34/44, 100/105, 150/153, 155/158, 170/173, 127/128, 103/108, and 125
4000001 1965 Model 30/40 production begins 6/1965
4040756 1966 Models 32/42 and 41 production begins 8/1966
4135705 1967 Model 33/43 production begins 1/1967
4245403 1968
4345569 1969 All East German typewriter manufacturers consolidated as Zentronik (Robotron) 4/1969
4467200 1970
4595067 1971
4709444 1972
4839102 1973
4989374 1974 Model 50/60 production begins 1/1974
5175664 1975 Model 34/44 produced from 6/1975 to 6/1976
5375600 1976
5577400 1977 Model 100/105 production begins 8/1977
5780400 1978
5984600 1979 Zentronik becomes Robotron 4/1979. Model 127 production begins 7/1979. Model 103/108 (Oriental keyboard) production begins 1979
6298600 1980 Models 150/153, 155/158, and 170/173 production begins 10/1980
6512300 1981 Model 125 production begins 1/1981. Model 127 resumed 4/1981
6711495 1982
6924876 1983
7129492 1984
7329010 1985
7476301 1986
7622893 1987
7773262 1988
7929107 1989
8080389 1990
8224302 1991 Production ends August 1991


All the typewriters on this page are segment-shifted and represent the second major stage of Erika production in the DDR, most of which was under the control of Zentronik and Robotron. During this time, the only portable typewriters made in East Germany were made by Erika and eventually Robotron.

By the end of production in August 1991, Robotron was one of the last manufacturers of high-quality manual portable typewriters. No new models had been introduced since 1981, though, so I doubt anything new would have come from the factory had Germany not reunified.


Die Entwicklung der ehemaligen DDR-Schreibmaschinen-Produktion (Frensel, 1999)

Thanks especially to Georg Sommeregger, Ted Munk, and Piotr Trumpiel for their excellent help.

Also of interest

Last updated 21 February 2014


  1. More great research!

    Those models 115/120 and 125 are really bizarre looking, as if the sides are floating away from the typewriter.

  2. Sadly the post-war Erika's are all much the same. A nice reference all the same. ;)

  3. Hefty amount of work done here indeed!

  4. Aaaargh, runs from house screaming. I do believe I just overdosed on Ericas. Impressive research.

    1. I think this post definitely borders on too much. I just don't know what's enough and what's too much—better to be more thorough.

  5. That's a nice and thorough overview! I picked up the Erika 42 model recently from a flea market. It didn't come with a manual, do you happen to have one by chance? Or any idea where to find one? Thanks!

    1. These are not for your exact model, but they are very similar:

  6. Ah, thanks a lot, I'm going to look those through.

  7. Nick, excellent overview, thanks. However, you might be interested to know that Privileg was a brand name of West-German (BRD / FRG) mail order company Quelle for a lot of products, many of them, sucn as the ones you identify as Robotrons, produed in Eastern Germany (DDR / GDR). Greetings from Berlin :)

    1. Thanks for the information—I'll add it soon!