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.