15 Sep 2014

News and soul




I should say now that I'm fond of the 1941-1949 Royal QDL, and I understand why people would like them, but I have no near the attachment to them that a lot of people have. On the other hand, I really don't see the appeal of any 1950s or 60s Royals...


Sent from my Consul 221.1

8 comments:

  1. My 1946 Royal Quiet De Luxe is perhaps my favourite machine to use. It barely nudges out above my Silent Super, SM3 and SM9. Reason being that it truly is a quiet typewriter. Even though it has the annoying 'wordjoiner' function, I just love the soft "thwack!" of the slugs as they hit the paper.
    The overall look of the QDL, for me anyway, is how a post-War typewriter should look, and it gives off a strong " British Foreign Office" vibe. Whenever I look at this machine, the name 'Graham Greene' always comes to mind. I picture him tapping away at one of these typewriters in some hotel room in Vietnam in the early 1950s, cigarette smoke curling towards the ceiling, a bottle of dark spirit within reach. I've re-written history here, because I don't remember if he was in Vietnam in the early Fifties and I couldn't say if he ever used a Royal typewriter.
    But then, truth has no role among the reasons why I like one particular typewriter over another.
    For me, that pretty much captures the 'soul' of the Royal Quiet De Luxe.

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    1. I should say in the post that I'm rather fond of the 1941-1949 Royal QDLs… I'm not saying it's hard to see why they're loved. I just don't have the same passion for them that some people have.

      I have an Aristocrat from the same time as your QDL and it's one of the loudest typewriters I have, I'm looking forward to finding a quieted down version of it soon…

      Thanks for telling me your thoughts and feelings about yours. :)

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    2. I was using my SM9 yesterday and I thought;" Gee, this is a nice typewriter!" I would feel the same about my SM 2 & 3 if they had basket-shift instead of carriage-shift. My fingers just aren't as strong as they used to be. Or maybe I should go the e.e. cummings route and just write everything in lower-case.
      As for loud typewriters, my just-sold Corona Four sounded like a farm tractor crossed with a Thompson machine gun. Beautiful to look at, but so, so noisy. "Atonement" really had me fooled.

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  2. I'd always thought that my emotional attachment to the earlier Olympia SM series machines was because an SM3 was my high school typer which lasted me through grad school and beyond. So it is validating in a way to find that others appreciate them also. At the moment, a chocolate brown SM4 is my current fave. But perhaps that is because it is the one I selected for our two-week sojourn on the Mendocino Coast (Northern CA), which is turning out to be such a relaxing time that I'd probably even enjoy using my Oliver. The SM4 is a precision tool, though, making a strong and even imprint, which does justice to the lovely typeface. I believe it is called Diplomat, but I will blog with it and you can set me right, Nick.
    I'm also glad to hear that you place the Torpedo 18 up there, and am excited that an eBay purchase of one will be waiting to pick up at the post office when we return.

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    1. Honestly, they're the standard by which I judge other typewriters. I would place them between the top and second quartiles of all portable typewriters, and if one is better, in my view, than an Olympia SM, that means it's a very fine machine indeed.

      The Torpedo 18 is probably the first typewriter I went head over heels for, and the more I've used the more I love them. I just think it's foolish to focus only on one brand when there's a world of other wonderful typewriters out there.

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  3. I've had many Oly SM's, and only kept one, an SM7. Of the Royals I've had come into my hands, I've kept pretty much only the 1940's portables, of which I have 3. I love the way they look and the way they type, which is also true of the SM7. I agree that the SM's are better engineered, but I think I look for something more intangible in my keepers. (:

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    1. I think my two SM7s are possibly my favorite Olympias as well. I have more SM3s… but that's partly because of the typeface variety they have. I think the cushioned keytops on the SM3 actually feels worse to type with compared to the SM2 and SM7.

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  4. Yes indeed, what is it that grabs us about certain typewriters over others? As an artist and visual person, design is a big factor. I do though find the feel of the typing to be, in the end, a more important factor. I can also feel build quality as I type, and that is important to me. I don't like most plastic typewriters regardless of design, as they feel cheap to me.
    I am a mid/late 50's Royal QDL guy - mostly based on the build quality and typing feel, although the design is good. One of my favorite typers is the Royal HH, although I'm not wild about the look.
    For me, most Olympia's are over rated and I just don't get into them - no soul to me. Likewise, I feel that the Hermes are rather lackluster. So overall my favs are most of the Woodstock's, and their cousins the
    R C Allens are the best! Surprisingly, my Demountable 2 is a soulfully great typer - bright and snappy like the Woodstocks, and with tons of character!
    Thanks for the discussion and the cool photos - great blog!

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