Monday, May 23, 2011

Royal Gravitas

I have been thinking about the Royal Model O that I posted about Sunday evening. I am an unapologetic Royal fan. I have alluded to this before, but it wasn't until the Model O came into the collection that I have really come to an understanding of what makes Royal so special.

Royal, as a company, never set the world on fire with any feature. If the ads that Royal ran in Life are any indication, Magic Margin (after which this blog is named) was their proudest accomplishment. That's a little sad because I have always felt that Royal's margin system was a little over-designed and far from the greatest addition to the world of typewriters. It's more magical if you could figure out how it works. Touch-Control might pop your mind as being something entirely special, but key tension adjustment can be found on many typewriters of the time. It's not the styling that marks them unique. Every industrial designer at Royal must have shopped at the same Brooks Brothers because there is nothing daring about any Royal design. Even when daring is attempted it's done as if someone had suggested that cocktails be served a three instead of four. Scandalous! No there is something else that makes the Royal special.

That "it" factor is gravitas. Royals are weighty. Serious. They are as frivolous as a chartered accountant. You can ever go wrong with a Royal and if you do it's your own fault for not being serious enough. As seen in the advertisement from a 1942 Life, Royal's and serious things like war are synonymous. Would you want some little Smith-Corona or a pipsqueak Underwood doing war business? I don't think so.


Next time you find a Royal in a thrift store, don't discount it because of some fictional (yes, I refuse to believe the problem exists) escapement problems. They are wonderful serious machines.

8 comments:

  1. My 1948 Royal QDL was my first typewriter purchase many, many moons ago. Although it remains my *only* Royal, it has consistently been first string in my typin' corral. It has never been on the dugout bench, if you know what I mean. (:

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  2. I love Royals.

    But escapement problems aren't fictional, one of mine has them... but I deal with it because I love it too much. :)

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  3. *My '46 Arrow, same as Ted said. Ever since I got it in 2009 it's been one of my favourite typewriters of all, always out on one of the desks! There is something a little different about them, and it has to do with the escapement I think--which is for the better if it doesn't have problems, I think.

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  4. I like to think of the escapement problem as a warning to the user. You are simply not typing in the way that's best for you and the machine. I have around 10 Royals and I have not encountered the escapement problem. Maybe I have the problem, but the way I type never causes the problem to manifest. Maybe the Royal gods have looked kindly on my collecting and sent only machines that are very good.

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  5. Your post makes me proud of the mint Royal Quiet De Luxe I just bid on and won on shopgoodwill!

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  6. That ad is pretty intimidating. Take that, you Adlers and Olympias! And damn the Torpedos!

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  7. Like. My QDL is still ah sidelined because of lack of time to fix, but I like this. Any way to make them enlargeable to read the text?

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  8. I'm looking for my first Royal. Anybody want to give me some suggestions?

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