Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Minor Differences

Mike (http://clickthing.blogspot.com/) has a Royal HH too. His differs in two respects. His has an elite typeface (mine is pica) and his also has a paper gauge.

This handy little device lets you know when you have reached the bottom margin of your paper. Bottom margins have been the bane of typists since the dawn of typewriter time. While Mike's HH from 1956 has the gauge, my HH from 1954 does not have this feature.

1-2-3 Set

These are the little things that really interest me. It was some time between 1954 and 1956 that Royal first introduced the end-of-paper gauge to their desktop typewriters. This kind of bleed-over in features can be seen with the FP that Scott painted purple:

The odd bit: a palm tabulator with an FP. Scott's is a little broken, but it still works I'm sure. Maybe it was a custom thing or maybe Royal had a few extra pieces lying around.

The more time you spend around typewriters the more you see these fun little things.


  1. Oh hello... That's a familiar looking beast!

    I just collected a Royal HH too, incidentally. So when I have a moment to inspect it, I'll gave a closer look and see if there is also a paper gauge as well. It definitely has a palm tab, which is not broken.

    And yes, the Purple FP's (I'm calling it 'The Purple Smartie' for my own reasons) palm tab does work.

    Incidentally, the serial denotes it as an FP-S Which I have been informed implies that is a special make of some kind (the S apparently).

    I'll let you know about the HH when I have a bit more time to play with it.

  2. Royals, Selectrics and Smith Coronas have paper gauges on the next to the platen. A Lettera 32 makes a loud sound as the bottom of the paper flips out leaving about a half inch at the bottom. Hermes has a couple of cutouts near the platen to allow you to see the end of the page with about a half inch to spare. Olympias have gauged paper supports.

    It is a fascinating topic on how these different companies tried to solve the typist's problem.

  3. Paper gauges are good. But as someone who made a living typing for many years, one trick I always used was marking a page with my bottom margin drawn out to the edge, then putting the page I'd type on in front of that, offset a few spaces to show the back, marked page. That way I not only have the bottom margin staring me in the face while typing -- those gauges aren't always easy to see or pay attention to -- but I protected the platen with a cushion (and if I was typing a carbon, the platen was doubly protected).

  4. What Brian said: when I care about bottom margins (rarely!) I draw them on my backing sheet with a broad black marker. It's pretty easy to spot when it turns up.

    There's another way this problem is solved: the Hermes 3000 has small cutout areas under the front of the carriage where the careful typist would supposedly be able to look through and see the end of the page... assuming one remembers to look. I'm bad at checking the page measuring systems: I prefer the Olympia Portable approach, with a little edge on the paper support arm. When the top of the page reaches the arm, you know you're typing on the bottom.

  5. The best system I've found so far came in the form of the IBM Selectric III's paper stand. It has a printed scale that lets you know exactly how much paper you have left before the end of the page, and, to me, it is a lot easier to see.

  6. I have several similar to your first photo. Half the time I never use them. For me they are too hard to see. I learned in typing class to mark the backer sheet.

    I liked the one on my Selectric-II when I had one. Now the easiest to use I find are the Hermes 3000 and Adler J4.