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The Royal Classic 79104P typewriter

by | Mar 19, 2019 | Royal | 14 comments

I just got wind of a new manual typewriter, the Royal 79104P, also known as the Royal Classic.

Royal says:

Continuing with our long history of manufacturing quality typewriters, Royal introduces our new “Classic” manual typewriter in traditional Black!

The Royal Classic features a sturdy metal housing & provides the essential functions to compose a novel, write lyrics or send an old fashioned letter.

A computer will never be as beautiful as a vibrant typewriter, so take a step back in time with the Royal Classic!

Another retailer writes:

This is a portable manual typewriter for on-the-go authors! The Royal Classic Manual Typewriter features metal construction, a wide 11 in. carriage, 88 characters, and a black and red nylon ribbon. It’s ideal for those who prefer a retro look or easy typing without electronics.

The official retail price is $299.99, but I see prices as low as $147.83.

So, what should we make of this new offering?

The designation “79104P” doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, but it’s a pleasure to see the old Royal logo proudly adorning a typewriter, more than a century after the first Royals were introduced (in 1906).

The streamlined body is attractive, and will look familiar to those who know the We R Memory Keepers Typecast Typewriter, which was sold for about a year by Michaels crafts stores. The shell was designed by Curt R. Jensen.

Although Royal speaks of “sturdy metal housing,” I doubt that the entire shell is metal; my guess is that there is a lot of plastic on and in this typewriter.

The manufacturer of this machine, as of all manual typewriters I’m aware of in the last few years, is clearly Shanghai Weilv, a small Chinese factory that offers several models that can be branded with various names. The mechanical design has no relationship to classic Royal portables.

As for quality: I haven’t tried a 79104P, but I’ve tried similar products from this factory, such as the Royal Epoch, which is probably mechanically the same. The quality control is very deficient, when compared to machines from the golden age of typewriter manufacturing (roughly 1930-1960).

But who knows? Maybe they’ve improved their quality. I would love to hear from someone who has tried this latest iteration. And efforts like this keep hope alive that someone will decide to produce a truly high-quality manual typewriter for the 21st century—a machine that will cost more than this one, but will last for decades and be a pleasure to use.

14 Comments

  1. Rob Bowker

    It certainly doesn't look very different to the Typecast Typewriter which is a shame. I hear they aren't very good for typewriting compared to an older machine. Still, if there's a market for them, maybe it will act to bring people into the fold. Or put them off forever…?

    Reply
  2. AmsterdamAssassin

    Maybe you should ask Royal for a review sample typewriter…

    Reply
  3. David Brechbiel

    This morning I spotted this entry! It was great to see the Royal logo on a new item. Richard, I will go halfzies on it at $150. You can review it and donate it to Wordplay.

    Reply
  4. Paul Harker

    Despite my low expectations regarding this typewriter, Shanghai Weilv appears to be the only company remaining who is tooled to make manual typewriters. I wonder what level of effort it would take in the Typosphere to communicate and coordinate with Shanghai Weilv to create the oft-wished for modern manual typewriter.

    Reply
  5. Richard P

    I suspect that a major change in quality would take a major upheaval in that factory—their methods, their materials, even the mechanical designs.

    Reply
  6. Ted

    Brave fellow. Eagerly await your report so I can add a 2019 entry for Royal's serial page.

    Reply
  7. Unknown

    The Chinese can make very nice equipment but at that price I would be surprised if it were fun to use.

    Reply
  8. Bill M

    Way over priced unless the quality has improved over those other Chinese typewriters. I typed on a few and all were terrible. I even bought one new to try. It too was a complete waste of money. It ended up at GoodWill. I will give them credit for trying to keep new typewriter manufacturing alive. Hopefully they will improve.

    Reply
  9. Roberta X

    With other old tech made in China, the way to get acceptable quality is by serious, multi-level quality control, screening to a standard at the factory and then screening again on delivery in the U. S. or Europe before acceptance and final payment.

    –But while that works fairly well with, say vacuum tubes, where the core design parameters of a given tube are well-established and there's no cheating the physics, it's a different thing with a typewriter. The huge number of ways that the mechanical processes of tyepwriting can be accomplished (some of them not very good) mean that good QC applied to a poor design won't help much. Let us hope for a good design!

    Reply
  10. Unknown

    I'm spying KOFA mix-and-match parts too. Never really looked at the We-R-Memories incarnation, but that carriage is striking me as an Adler/Tippa clone.

    Reply
  11. P.M. Obley

    Mine arrived today. It is a die cast Memory Keeper. The end. I posted a review over at the Antique Typewriter Collectors FB group as well as The Typewriter Revolution FB page. Read it and weep. I did like the metal body, though. It is heavy and sturdy and handsome, especially with the Royal badge front-and-center.

    Reply
  12. Unknown

    Don't waste your money on the royal 11 classic typewriter. I purchased one in mint green from qvc. Made in China. As soon as I opened it and inspected it, I quickly returned it. They say the body is metal but a magnet won't stick. The internal parts are made of plastic and tin. No typewriter repair shop would work on it. Better off buying one from the 1950's on eBay

    Reply
  13. Eclectic Kelly

    I have a typecast typewriter that is easier and nicer print than a 1950s Remington quiet writer that I have. I quietriter is more sturdy, but I'd say I like the type better on the typecast.

    Reply
  14. Richard P

    It's nice to see these modern typewriters get at least a little appreciation.

    Reply

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