20 Nov 2014

Post-war Gromas (1945-1960)

Of all the typewriter brands, Groma has one of the more interesting reputations. This post is about as far away from a colorful story as you can get, but hopefully it entertains as well as informs. It will cover only the larger Groma portables, as Piotr Triumpiel (zetix) will be doing a similar detailed post on the Gromina/Kolibri.

All of the pictures in this post have been found on the internet and come from the collections of 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 sources I am using are the newest and most complete available. The accompanying Groma typewriter database page has been updated.

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, please let me know because every piece of information connecting age with finish/colors helps!

Pre-war design: 1945-1949

The original Groma portable design with the plastic front curved piece continued to be produced after the end of WWII until 1949. Around serial number 260000 in early 1949, Mechanik Groma VEB, Markersdorf/Chemnitzal was created and replaced G F Grosser as the producer of the Groma portable. Up to this point, the keys have always been metal-rimmed glass, but with occasional use of plastic for the backspace and margin release.

1949 - 259648

1949 - 264108

First post-war design: 1949-1951

The old style design continued to be produced until the end of 1949, when it was replaced with a sleeker, more robust front piece made of metal instead of plastic. This is the classic Groma look adored by many.

1949 - 267950

The keys initially remain glass, but soon two different styles of plastic keys were introduced, square and circular. The square ones came in green, red, and black. The circular keys came in black with red detailing on the function keys and appear to share similarities with keys used by other manufacturers in what became East Germany before WWII (Rheinmetall and Mercedes). It appears as if the square keys were used only on the Modell N, while the circular ones were used predominantly on the Modell T.

1950 - 277395

1951 - 282648
There are a couple of variations in the decals used on these 1949-1951 Gromas, seen below. I do not know for certain, as I don't have a large body of serial number examples, but if plastic keys replaced glass keys (rather than being used alongside each other) then it happened around serial number 275000.

1950 - 270428

Post-war design 2: 1952-1957

An all-new body style was introduced in 1952 with the same square keys, a crinkle paint finish, and new carriage knobs that is otherwise mostly unchanged from a mechanical perspective.


The keys were switched to a more modern top-heavy oval shape similar to the ones Erika used between 1953 and 1954.

In 1954, the ribbon color selector dots changed from circular to oblong and new carriage release levers were introduced.


That same year, the paint was changed to a glossy finish and a chrome stripe was added to the ribbon cover.

1954 - 316670

1955 - 328076


In mid-1956, the logo was changed to a nicer embossed design.

1956 - 344410

1957 - 349929

1957 - 350115

A variation of the logo exists with a decal replacing the embossed nameplate, possibly from very late in 1957 near the end of production, which ended in 1957.

Combina: 1957-1960

The Combina was designed as a replacement for the long-lived N/T series, loosely based on the original design but with many improvements and changes. In early promotional material, it is shown in an illustration that differs from any Combinas I've seen. The keys are more squared off, and the Combina logo is in the center of the ribbon cover.

1957 - 1001720
It was offered with or without keyset tabulator, and with interchangeable carriages in two widths. Initially, the keys are black and the paint is silver.


1959 - 1013594
Between 1958 and 1959 the keys are changed to green and the silver paint has taken on a bit of a green tint. One rebranding, Brillant Super for Neckermann, is known.

1958 - 1019054
In 1959, a number of changes were made. Most obviously, the cutout in the ribbon cover has a more streamlined, simple shape. A detailed comparison of the other changes made. The keys and paint remain the same color as before.

1959 - 1021098

In 1959, the tab set mechanism was changed to a more ordinary lever, and the model continued in this form until the end of production the next year.

1959 - 1022056

This is an odd version that I've found, with metallic blue paint. It doesn't seem like it could be original, but the quality of the paint job is so good that I figured it was worth including here.

The later versions of the Combina can also be found as a Brillant Super. Production of the Combina ended in 1960, concluding the production of a mid-sized portable by Groma. The Kolibri continued to be made until the end of 1962.

Serial numbers
from Die Entwicklung der ehemaligen DDR-Schreibmaschinen-Produktion (N, T, E)
and Liste der Herstellungsdaten Schreibmaschinen (Combina)

Models N, T, and E
200000 1938 N, T, and E consecutively numbered through all models.
1938-1940 models run from 200000 to 217999
1939 See 1938 6,25
up to 217999 1940 See 1938 6,25
218000 1941 6,25
225000 1942 25
233000 1943 25
243000 1944 25
252000 1945 25
254000 1946 25
255000 1947 25
256000 1948 25
259000 1949 25
268000 1950 25
279000 1951 25
291000 1952 25
303000 1953 Model E ended 1953 25
313000 1954 25
325000 1955 25
333000 1956 25
348000 1957 Models N and T ended 1957 25
1000000 1957 Combina models both with and without tabulator 24
1011000 1958 24
1020000 1959 24
1025000 1960 Combina ended 1960 24


Die Entwicklung der ehemaligen DDR-Schreibmaschinen-Produktion (Frensel, 1999)
Liste der Herstellungsdaten Schreibmaschinen (Burghagen, 1962)

This post was last edited 21 November 2014


  1. Another very nice rundown, and thanks for the update to the Database! (:

  2. Wow, impressive! Just my luck I concentrate on Swiss typewriters for now...

  3. Excellent and useful research, as always.

    A nit to pick: it's Brillant, not Brilliant.

    1. Fixed! I think this whole time I hadn't noticed that.