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A highly unusual Noiseless

by | Oct 22, 2020 | Noiseless, Remington | 12 comments

Can you find something very unusual about this “1941 Line” Deluxe Noiseless Portable?
This typewriter belongs to a customer of Urban Legend Typewriters. 

#N1118385 was made in August, 1940.


The backspace and margin release are up above the rest of the keyboard, 
allowing for two more keys (four more characters) on the keyboard …

… but that’s not really unusual. 

It’s a common arrangement on European versions of the noiseless portables.

“Look closely at that keyboard” …

Here’s the answer:

As a matter of fact, I have never seen curly quotes on any typebar typewriter, even sophisticated electric machines with proportional typefaces such as the IBM Executive. The even more sophisticated Varityper DSJ offered curly quotes on some of its type shuttles. Nearly all typewriters, of course, use “straight quotes” rather than “curly ones.” Even your word processor uses straight quotes! The application changes them to curly depending on the context. (At least in Microsoft Word, after you type a quotation mark and the application “curls” it, the Undo command will straighten it out again.)

Once you get used to it, this system is easier than the traditional typewriter keyboard, where you have to shift to get straight quotes or an apostrophe. On this machine, you shift only to get the opening curly quotes “ and single quotes ‘ . When you close a quote ” or insert an apostrophe ’ no shifting is required.

The accents are also interesting. These are “dead keys,” which don’t advance the carriage. 
You can see the difference between the three typebars on the right end of the typebasket and the other typebars: the dead typebars are cut short so they don’t push down the universal bar when you type.
On most typewriters, you type the accent first and then the letter it modifies. Pre-war Remingtons do it more like handwriting: first you type a, for instance, and then ` on top of it. 
How do they manage this? With weird type slugs that reach over to the left.

I’m very charmed by this machine, and frankly, I wish I could keep it. 

I won’t be surprised if I never find another one like it.

12 Comments

  1. Scott K

    It's a great machine none the less. For a machine so adept and telling stories, wouldn't it be great if this machine could tell its own story so we could know who chose such an arrangement.

    Reply
  2. Gerard

    I have one too, but honestly I'm not a fan of noiseless typewriters. They have a kinda muffled sound when typed on and they are not snappy machines either. However, this one is kinda special with these french characters.

    Reply
  3. Jim Pennington

    what a brilliant typebar configuration… makes you wonder why it wasn't a more extensive one… in partic the overhang accents.

    Reply
  4. Richard P

    The muffled sound is the point! And they can go pretty fast, in my experience. But they require a very regular, staccato touch and sometimes produce blurry work. Some people love them, some don’t. They sold very well in the 1930s and ‘40s.

    Reply
  5. Richard P

    I like this accent system, too.

    Reply
  6. Bill M

    Neatly different Noiseless.

    Reply
  7. Gerard

    I learned a new word from your reply "staccato"! (writing that word in my little vocabulary book :-P) Thank you so much!

    Reply
  8. RobertG

    Neat! Indeed, one of my 1920ies RP2's has accents-typebars reaching-over to the left. My RNP even has both types of typeslug – the 'aigu' reaches over to the left and the 'grave' is straight. Very confusing when typing with it (i try not to use any accents :-)

    Reply
  9. DonN

    As soon as I read this I went down to check on my 1949 Noiseless, to see if it had the curly quotes. I didn't – only a lot of stupid fractions! Otherwise it looks exactly like this one, with the pair of keys standing up like mushrooms from the cover. Mine was made in Canada. Puzzling why some have those mushrooms and others don't.

    Reply

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