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Guest post: Continental Silenta

by | Jun 18, 2018 | Continental | 9 comments

Thanks to Klaus Mielke for this glimpse of a typewriter that is interesting both technically and politically.

9 Comments

  1. Ted

    hmmn, complicated indeed.

    Reply
  2. Ping A

    I have a red Erika 5 from 1940 (Serial # 910297/5) with QWERTY keyboard and Spanish accents (including a 'Bs' key for the Venezuelan Bolivar currency). So it seems Seidel & Naumann in Dresden was still producing typers for export even while the factory had turned into weapons manufacturing?

    Reply
  3. Bill M

    German engineering at its finest.

    Reply
  4. isaacsteger

    I own several German pre-war typewriters because their quality and typing action are superb. I don't consider this a political act of any kind, much less one supporting the rise of the Nazi party during this period. The majority of typewriters we collect were made in either the pre-war or post-war eras. It don't feel it's necessary or productive or moral to imbue them with political significance and judge them either tainted or not by the goings on in those countries and societies at the time of their manufacture. I believe it's better to enjoy them as mechanical and historical artifacts and not presume ourselves to make judgements about their manufacture

    Reply
  5. Mark

    I had always assumed the Silenta was related to the Remington Noiseless but that picture of the action makes me think it must be an independent design? I would love to get my hands on one now…

    Reply
  6. John Cooper

    I'd never heard of the Silenta, but on seeing the photos my first reaction was also to wonder who copied whom–Remington or Continental? But they could have been designed independently, despite the similarity of the carriage cover (if that's what you call it).

    Lots of German companies have their hands dirty–Bayer comes first to mind. Until the emissions scandal, I was an enthusiastic consumer of Volkswagen products and I don't believe that a company in 2018 is necessary liable for the sins of the company in 1938. How I would feel about the products of such a company from the era in question is interesting to contemplate. My feelings around the typewriter that you discarded mirror your own exactly.

    Reply
  7. Richard P

    Klaus replies: "For a nation at war any industry is to contribute to the war effort one way or another, or to be shut down, if it can't be converted. In the beginning of WW2 (pre-war as far as the US are concerned) the seas were still open. Trading typewriters for much needed oil or rubber might have been a good proposal."

    Reply
  8. Richard P

    Klaus replies:

    There is plenty of "Silenta" information on the internet, that is why I kept technicalities short. Ernst Martin has it that the Remington provided the idea, but the solution was rather different "under the hood".

    Reply
  9. Kristians

    Well, I must rise my voice for advocacy of those gorgeous machines. I don't think we should judge "the hardware" over the sins of their manufacturers, or more precisely, over the sins of the contractor of the manufacturers. Many Germans does not had a much choice over Nazi era even they disagree with ruling party. Where one can go? Emigrate? And I don't see "the hardware" should be blamed , even if their user was a Nazi. I also own several Erikas (M, S, 5, 6,…), Continental Wanderer 50, Groma Model T, Klein Urania, Mercedes Superba, several Triumph's ( Durabel, Perfekt, Norm), DM5, Kappel (Olympia) and an Adler Favorit. All from the same era 1930's-1940's. Well, there are several Torpedo's as well, but they are from 20's, a pre-Nazi era. I do like them very much, especially Torpedo 12. But…. Erikas should be considered as most advanced and reliable from the bunch. Then comes the Triumph, the rest follows. I haven't got an Contininental Silenta, but definitely will. Hopefully during my trip to Germany later this year. That is on the "A Must" list. Also I was really disappointed about Mercedes, which bears such a bold name, but really doesn't make up to it. Even the most "advanced" model Superba is nowhere near any of Erikas ot Triumph models. Groma is tough , Urania, well probably not as tough as Groma, but superior to Wanderer. Not a fan of Pre-war Olympia's, and sadly to say – Adler too, even it stands out a lot as thurst action typewriter. All of these machines saw the Nazies, probably was used by them , even for an unforgivable deeds, but do we have to punish them? Do the Americans are throwing away their weapons, firearms, even those may (and more often do nowadays)harm a human being in a much worst way as typewriters did during WWII? Nah…

    Reply

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