Going public (Part 2)

by | Feb 17, 2013 | exhibit | 12 comments

The second installment in my public display has gone live. (Here’s the first installment if you missed it.) The idea behind this selection is to illustrate various compact single-element mechanisms and the development of early portables, as well as some classic standards.

Blickensderfer no. 5 (USA, 1902): The “Blick” is a compact and ingenious machine that uses interchangeable typewheels and an ink roller. This one has a Polish keyboard, with the most commonly-used letters located on the bottom row. One shift key is for capital letters, the other for numerals and punctuation. In 1902 the company introduced a sophisticated electric typewriter that was not a market success.
Blickensderfer no. 8 (USA, 1908): A somewhat more elaborate version of the basic Blick design. This particular machine has an aluminum body for lightness. It uses a DHIATENSOR keyboard (Blickensderfer’s favored English-language arrangement).
Postal (USA, 1904): This competitor to the Blickensderfer uses an ink ribbon and an interchangeable typewheel.
Commercial Visible no. 6 (USA, 1901): On this elegant, “wasp-waisted” typewriter, a hammer hits the paper from behind against the ribbon and typewheel.
Helios-Klimax (Germany, ca. 1919): This small typewheel machine uses a very unusual two-row keyboard with triple shift. This example has a Spanish keyboard.
Chicago (USA, 1915): Introduced in the 1890s, the Chicago uses an interchangeable metal type cylinder that rotates and shifts on a horizontal axis; a hammer strikes the paper from behind. The unusual keyboard places the Q on the bottom row.
Erika no. 1 (Germany, ca. 1910): This little typewriter achieves compactness by folding its carriage down onto the keyboard for storage (a system introduced in the US by the Standard Folding typewriter, which later became the Corona). A succession of Erika portables was made in Dresden until the 1990s.
Kanclé? no. 3 (Germany, ca. 1910): Due to the complex system of typebars on this large machine, a whole column of keys goes down when any key in that column is depressed. The typewriter is usually called Kanzler, but this example with a Czech keyboard uses a Czech version of the name.
Fox no. 23 (USA, ca. 1906): Foxes were made in Grand Rapids, Michigan; they are known for their Art Nouveau styling and high quality.
Fox portable no. 2 (USA, ca. 1918): The carriage of this “Baby Fox” folds down behind the typewriter when not in use. A lawsuit from Corona over this design contributed to the demise of the Fox company.
Oliver no. 5 (USA, ca. 1912): The unique Oliver design was introduced in the mid-1890s and made until 1928 in the US; in the UK it was produced into the 1940s. Typebars shaped like inverted U’s swing down from left and right onto the platen. Some Olivers sold in Latin America, like this one, were nickel plated.


  1. Ton S.

    Both display cabinets look amazing. It's nice to see your Chicago and chrome Oliver showcased like that.

    Have you been receiving feedback on the exhibit?

  2. Robert Messenger

    Very impressive displays, with machines that will no doubt astound most viewers.

  3. Dwayne F.

    Gorgeous! I'd love to see this in person.

  4. Richard P

    Yes, various faculty and students have mentioned it. I hear that people often stop at the display cases. So it's a success!

  5. Scott K

    Ohhhhh…. Nickle plated Oliver!

    High on my list of wanted machines….

    Excellent selection there!

  6. Richard P

    They're pretty common in Mexico. Maybe you can make an arrangement with our fellow typospherian Miguel Angel Chávez Silva …

  7. Ton S.

    Good to hear, congrats!
    Oops, the Oliver is "niquelado" not chrome.

  8. schrijfmachine

    Here another admirer of the nickel Oliver. What a very nice exhibition it is again! If the Commercial Visible is the one I saw on Ebay some months ago, coming from Spain, than I have to congratulate and envy you; really a bargain!

  9. Richard P

    That is the one. It was only about half the price of another CV that sold around that time, but I think the expensive one may have been the exception to the rule.

  10. Ted

    Very nicely done display, again! I only wish that I could visit them in person, but the photo tour and notes are nearly as good as being there. (:

  11. David 9.ai

    awesome Richard ! It really looks great. Congrats!


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