Typewriter review: 2019 Royal Classic

by | Mar 25, 2019 | Royal, typewriter review | 36 comments

Here is the typing test sheet that came with the typewriter:

Here are my reviews of the Royal Scrittore II and Royal Epoch.


  1. Peter

    The SLUGS are plastic?! Wow. (Though they look like metal in your closeup photo) Has anyone ever seen that before in any other typewriter? I sure haven't.

  2. Richard P

    They're very bright and shiny — brighter than normal metal slugs. People reported that the We R Memory Keepers machine uses plastic slugs, and that seems to be the case here too. Of course, it's strong plastic, but still …

  3. Richard P

    — and no, I haven't ever seen this before, either.

  4. Burnemup

    Hopefully, the Chinese manufacturer will read your review and make the necessary improvements in future production.

  5. Unknown

    I cringed when I saw how awful the alignment was when reading not even the capitals! And plastic slugs???!! That's crazy! I do like how the used the true logo but for the price you could get a much better quality machine but at least theres still enough interest in manual typewriters to make them

  6. Rob Bowker

    Oi! Lay off the Everest – a fine machine and one to my taste. Seriously, well done for taking the plunge. Like you say, it could have been worse. A plastic/nylon segment makes good sense from a materials point of view. Possibly even the type head but only time will tell. I would imagine they are made from the same stuff that photo sensitive plastic letterpress plates are made from – a lot more cost effective (in the short term at least) to "print" your slugs than cast them in hot metal.

  7. Ted

    well, other than toy typers – Buddy-L comes to mind.

  8. Ted

    If the slugs are plastic, it seems like they were likely epoxied on rather than soldered. No wonder the per-bar alignment is bad – the assembler only gets one chance to get it right, and can't re-heat to redo.

  9. Richard P

    Good point, Ted! I forgot about the toys.

  10. Richard P

    You must be right. Of course, the alignment on Shanghai Weilv machines using metal slugs is also wretched, in my experience …

  11. Ted

    In your opinion, this mechanically is the descendant of an Italian design? IE: IMC >> Royal Epoch >> We-R-Memory Keepers >> Royal Classic

  12. TonysVision

    Well done, Richard. Regardless of the quality, it is exciting to see the effort being made and to know the typewriter community is of a size and diversity to support it.

  13. Ted

    oh hey… Serial number looks like a datecode! :D
    I interpret that as serial #435 made in January 2019.

  14. Richard P

    I can say from personal experience that it's the same as the Epoch. But I misinterpreted Will's mechanical genealogy (I have just corrected this in my Epoch review). With reference to this design, he says it's "derived from the old Olympia Carina series, which originally were Nakajimas from Japan." This fits with Shanghai Weilv's claim that "In 2010, we bought the typewriter project from OLYMIA [sic]."

  15. Richard P

    Seems plausible! The minimum order specified by Shanghai Weilv is 1000 machines, by the way.

  16. Ted

    also, added "Royal Classic" to Royal age list, as well as the Holland-made Royal Caravan that Robert Messenger wrote about today. Big update day for Royal, especially since the Holland Royals appear to be in the same series as Adler Tippa S, and the "Classic" maybe has a datecoded serial number. I'm asking Patrick Obley what the serial number on his is. If it's like 0219xxxxx or 1218xxxxx, then that would seem certain.

  17. Ted

    Ok, changed the source design reference for Shanghai Weliv manufactured machines. (:

  18. Richard P

    To be clear, this does not apply to ALL the machines they make; these larger portables seem to be Carinas originally, but the little Scrittore II is a very different, carriage-shifted machine that may stem from IMC.

  19. Bill M

    Good to see the Chinese quality is improving even if only slightly. I do like the overall look of the machine.

  20. Richard P

    Well, well. I just spotted a "Vermont Country Store Carina" on eBay. Says "Vermont Country Store" on the typewriter, says Carina on the instructions, looks just like a white Epoch.

  21. Ted

    ok, looks like it's the Shanghai Welivs with the Royal Badging that follow this datecoding. The Royal Scrittore II's also use it (example #0912001298 owned by Patrick Obley) – the We-R-Memory Keepers have no serial at all.

  22. Ted

    Bloop! check your Royal Epoch's serial number too – that was made in 2015, right? I show it as Serial #0815001599

    Gonna be adding more sections to the Royal page now. :D

  23. Richard P

    I bet you're right! Thanks.

  24. Ted

    Oh wait, no. those would have been made by Nakajima, if it's the 80's.

  25. Ted

    ugh, soo confused :P

  26. Ted

    ok, Scrittore II and Olympia/Rover Traveller C is a Silver-Seiko 700 under the skin, according to this:
    The IMC mechanism is found in the Rover 5000.

    That suggests to me that Shanghai Weliv has the tooling for the Nakajima (2013-present) *and* the Silver Seiko 700 (??-2012), or at least *has* the Nakajima tooling and *used to have* the Seiko tooling. I wonder where the Roytype by Royal ME25 comes in. I note it does not have a datecode:

    The Rovers were made by Ideal (Jinan) Machinery in China. Is the Roytype also one of these IMC/Rovers?

  27. A Sad Typewriter Fan

    This machine, like the others from this company calling itself Royal, is a shoddy money grab by someone with just enough awareness to know how they can capitalize on the Royal logo and the novelty of a metal shell. I mean, for heaven's sake, you have the same atrocious performance as before – and now the visibility of your typing is reduced to an Oliver level.

    It's pathetic, and I think we're trying so hard to identify goodness where it doesn't exist and to assign motives to a company that has repeatedly demonstrated it doesn't have. Are we as desperate as, say, rabid Star Wars fans who will eagerly consume anything with the right name on it, because when it comes down to it, all they care about is that new stuff comes out? Is the mindless perpetuation of a universe, regardless of quality, really a good thing?

    "It can actually be used for writing." That's where we're at now? One comment reads: "It is exciting to see the effort being made" – what effort? They took the same innards as before, slapped on a metal shell and a classic logo, and said here you go, suckers, eat it up. Why is that praiseworthy? How much effort do we really think that superficial update took?

    I'd prefer that the typewriter died a dignified, honorable death instead of shambling along in the form of these zombies that are as badly assembled as Frankenstein himself. If we care about preservation, then the focus should be on vintage machines that will outlast us all instead of these hastily-manufactured jokes that will all end up in landfills.

  28. Richard P

    That's well put. It is true that the improvements have been purely external — and poorly designed at that (the dumb visibility error). I have perhaps been overly optimistic — charmed by the good looks of the machine, its external durability, and the fact that (unlike the Epoch I tried) it didn't have a dozen flaws!

  29. Mike A.

    This is pretty exciting when you think about it. Good to see that someone is making a machine of higher quality. It demonstrates effort in the right direction. To use the high standards of the last century would make one of these cost as much as an Apple computer. Plastic can be a good durable substance. Typeballs and type wheels have proven that and if the bars and slugs are replaceable, then that's a win.

    I think this is a step in the right direction. I would get one of these for a carry around. If it breaks or gets stolen it wouldn't be a total loss and my precious antiques would be safe.

  30. Mark

    That bluish purple is pretty awesome. Maybe these machines will sell well enough to justify making them even better. I think they should offer them with typefaces never seen on a typewriter before.

  31. Robin Heilschild ????

    Your machine looks awesome!! xD

    Unfortunately, it just looks awesome. Since it came from China, it has a cheesy, scarce performance, much worse than my made-in-Mexico Olivetti Studio 46 from the early nineties. :(

  32. Jennifer C

    I just was struck by the badly misaligned type. I would never accept to pay for something that looked so poorly on paper. A used machine from Kijiji could provide a better type and for a far lower price. In my opinion the only good thing about it is like you said, there is enough interest today to warrant a manufacturer trying to make a typewriter. But, seriously, they failed.

  33. Darren Embry

    A lot of daisy-wheel typewriters and printers use printwheels having plastic slugs. Granted, the striking mechanisms are designed to only strike the platen hard enough, which factors out any human variation (typing too hard or too softly).

    I would not have used them on a manual typewriter, or at the *very* least I would have had rigorous testing done. Would be curious to know what kind of testing was done if any at all.


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