Thursday, July 12, 2018

My New Old School Word Processor

Royal typewriter, circa the 1930s.

Yesterday I received the 1930s era Royal typewriter that I purchased off of eBay several days ago. I eagerly unwrapped it, put a sheet of paper in the platen, and ripped off a few "the quick red fox..." lines to give it a test drive.

It took me less time than it took to type the two sentences above to recall that sometimes the Good Old Days are not as good as we remember them to be. Some of the keys require more fingertip pressure on them than other keys, so sometimes you will type some words and a few of the letters will look lighter or be completely missing when you are finished typing. We don't have such problems with modern word processors on our computers.

The machine has been restored and doesn't appear to have any mechanical issues. It also looks really really cool!

The front view of the typewriter, which displays nicely infront of a collection of 1930s detective novels.

I simply like the retro look of the Royal typewriter as shown in the close up view of the keyboard below.

Close up view of the keyboard. The key characters are enclosed in glass with nickel plated keys.

The Royal 1930 typewriter will probably be used only as a decorative display piece in my wargame room, but you never know. I might feel the urge, once in awhile, to break out some paper and click and clack off a few paragraphs.

I suppose that I could go back further than Old School and get a colonial printing press, but that is an entirely different hobby than what I am doing with my writing these days.

Fritz suppervises young Igor as he prepares the pages
for tomorrow's edition of the Der Alte Fritz Journal.

Readers eagerly look forward to reading the latest post on the Der Alte Fritz Journal.


  1. Nice Saintly collection of books there.
    I never got the hang of the old manual typewriters. But they could be handy for typing on index cards and other small cardstock for things like unit cards (the trick being getting them lined up right on the typewriter).

  2. Although we had one of those at home when I was growing up, my favorite was a portable electric typewriter. One time when I carried in to school one of the brightest youngsters I ever taught called out "What's that you're carrying Mr L?" When I responded that it was a typewriter he looked bemused and responded, "You mean a word processor, don't you?" he was really bemused when I repeated that it was a typewriter. Seems he had never seen that particular, primitive piece of technology....

  3. That's a cool machine, something Hemingway-esque to follow?

  4. I used to have an electric typewriter, which had a word memory of about 250 words! I at least didn't have the trouble of manual keys!!!

    One of the good things with the technological revolution...word processors!!!

  5. Love it! Reminds me of the old Olivetti typewriter from the 1940s that my grandparents used well into the 1990s. Mt grandmother typed on it routinely, so the story goes, when she managed a doctor's office in the late 40s-mid 50s.

    Best Regards,


  6. That is a beautiful and functional object Jim.
    It was quite popular for a while to take them apart and make ‘Steampunk’ keyboards for P.C.’s... sacrilege!

    All the best. Aly

  7. Nice object and the fact that it still works is a bonus. At least you won't have to contend with predictive text on a typewriter!

  8. Excellent Jim, very retro.

    Willz Harley.

  9. I learnt to type on a dinosaur lime that in 1976!

  10. What a beauty, Jim! I learned to type on my father's old typewriter - even typed some school project reports on it! I have it deep in a cupboard somewhere. It has significant sentimental value embodying happy times with him, the era that it was used in..."slower" times, etc ...and he had even used it in WW2 to write up AAR's when he was a serving infantry officer in Papua New Guinea. A laptop is far more versatile, but doesn't have the same "presence" and "beauty of form". Cheers, Rohan.