Some little-known typewriters (D-F)

by | Aug 24, 2018 | obscure | 13 comments

The Dactylette Model I (was there ever a II?) is a rare Italian index typewriter.

On the other extreme of complexity in the world of Italian typewriters is the Dattilomusicografo music typewriter. It looks like something out of a Miyazaki movie.

This Daw & Taite is in Uwe Breker’s collection.

The only Defi I’ve ever seen was in the late Don Sutherland’s collection.

This Defiance from the former Onondaga collection really floats my boat.

This is a Diamond no. 4 from the Milwaukee Public Museum. It looks like someone tried to fit a conventional frontstroke into the body of a Sholes Visible.

How did this Dodson work?

The DWF is another imitation of the Adler, with a boxy shell.

Here’s a beautiful Electa made in Turin. Not so rare in Italy, but unheard-of in the US.

Not really a typewriter but a stencil-making machine, the Elliott is notable for the DHIATENSOR sequence on its index—just as on a Blickensderfer.

The Engadine, another Italian typewriter, isn’t as obscure as most things I’m showing you today, but I have to say I have never run across one in the wild.

This is a Fairchild-Lithotype. Sort of a super-Varityper?

The Felio, also known as the Nora, superficially resembles a flatbed Royal.

This is a Fialka cipher machine.

A Flying Fish, made in China:

This reproduction of an 1869 invention by Fontaine was constructed in 1985 and offered on eBay in 2013.

The Fortschritt (Progress) is a massive bookkeeping typewriter made by Seidel & Naumann:

Here’s another modern reproduction of a 19th-century invention, this one by Foucauld.

I just love the name of the Framo-Record.

And finally, here’s an 1857 invention by Francis, exhibited at the Smithsonian next to one of those run-of-the-mill little type writers known as a Sholes & Glidden.

I hope this series is whetting the appetite of typewriter collectors and reminding us of just how many amazing machines are “out there.” This hobby can truly be a lifetime pursuit.


  1. Rob MacKillop

    The Dattilomusicografo music typewriter looks formidable. I'd love to give it a try. Bring it with you, Richard, when you visit Edinburgh :-)

  2. Walter

    Fun pix and descriptions, thanks! That flying Fish looks like some kind of knock off, hmmm… Let Herme see….

  3. Richard P

    I'll just pop it in my backpack.

  4. Richard P

    The color is Hermesish, but the keys looks Underwoody, and the overall appearance reminds me of a Facit.

  5. Ted

    AAAGH! That guy in the last picture haunts me!

  6. Mark

    He looks like Guy Pierce's character in "Lawless"

  7. Ping A

    Mind boggling!

  8. Gerard

    I was told by a retired typewriter mechanic in Shanghai that the Flying Fish desktop is a hybrid of Remington and Underwood.

  9. Richard P

    I would love to take a look inside.

  10. Bill M

    Typewriters keep on getting more interesting.

  11. John Cooper

    Each of these machines deserves its own blog post…I did find a great write-up of the Fialka at http://www.cryptomuseum.com/crypto/fialka/. (Cryptography nerds are as obsessive as we typewriter nerds.) There's a lot of Cold War history in that machine!

    The sequence of letters on the Dactylette is fascinating–perfectly alphabetical right to left from A to V, then left to right from W to Z at he left end, with J and K (not found in native Italian?) sprinkled in among those last four letters apparently at random.


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