Above, you see the Rover Carina 2. This machine was previously only distributed under the Olympia name with the same model designation. However, you will see at this link that this machine is advertised as I write this as a "2013 New Model 11" English Typewriter."
The site page you see is part of an export opportunity page I've used for years to track Chinese-made machines produced by Shanghai Weilv Mechanism Company, which includes machines formerly manufactured by Shanghai Golden Bay Typewriter Company -- whose production appears to be either folded into the former company's name, or else the company evolved into the present one. Several models of typewriter are available. Machines like that you see here are indeed derived from the old Olympia Carina series, which originally were Nakajimas from Japan. There are two other basic designs. This design is apparently the old Olympia Traveller C design which I believe at last was made in Mexico and appears derived of Silver-Seiko heritage; this design is the old familiar Rover / IMC design familiar to those who have perused my website pages on Italy. Robert Messenger has done a great deal of additional work on this lineup, and so has Georg Sommeregger. (Their sites are always linked in our blog roll, so check them out frequently.) You can also find an alternate full list of Shanghai Weilv products at this web page.
THREE "heritage" designs still in production in 2013. Not one, but three confirmed for sale!
Some of the export opportunity listing sites give the majority market for manual typewriters as South America / Latin America and the Asia region -- in case one wonders where these are really going.
Further, and mostly in the 'bad news' department...
Marshall Sewing Machine Industrial, Inc. of Taiwan entered production of mechanical typewriters in 1996, and while they're still listed on this page, most of the newer export opportunity websites only show sewing machines .. and the company profiles on the newest sites have deleted reference to anything but sewing machines. It's questionable how many, if any of these were ever actually made. This also appears to be based on the Olympia Traveller C.
Ningbo Duodashi appears to have quit its DUODASHI brand of typewriters; Ideal (Jinan) and Ideal (HK) Products don't have the former GENERATION 3000 et al listed any more at large and the ROYAL version is no longer listed at Royal's site. (The Royal and Olivetti machines have begun to appear widely at overstock sites, and Olivetti's site no longer lists any typewriters at all.) Zhangjiagang appears to have disappeared.
Chee-May (Goh's) still appears to be sitting on all the back stock I've been mentioning for years. The now-semi-legendary "Model 100" still appears here as the KOFA 100. Here's my page on this very interesting machine.
I'll try to keep an eye on the continuing situation regarding what's actually being manufactured and make regular updates.
For a couple years I kept regular updates in progress on the old website concerning real time developments in the manufacturing of mechanical typewriters. Click here to see those pages, which cover the 2005-2007 time frame but which include some background that might be of interest relative to machines seen above.
10:10 AM by Will Davis
Thanks for this. If you get around to testing any of these new typewriters, let us know. I had the chance to test-type Richard's Scrittore. Handsome machine with a good snappy feel, but the precision (or lack of it) sucks. Line spacing and letter alignment were all over the place.ReplyDelete
I've heard that about later Royal and Olivetti pattern machines. Years back, as soon as that particular variety became available through various direct-mail distribution here, we acquired three Rover 5000 and then I think two Generation 3000 machines. All came with type alignment proof sheets, and while they aren't the best of portables, they all typed the same and typed in line. It sure sounds like the longer production went, the worse quality got.Delete
I own the Olivetti and the Royal, and both are very poor machines.Delete
I actually have an Olympia Carina 2, and have found it to be superior to the Traveller c or Scrittore. But a far cry from the greatest of machines ever made.ReplyDelete
Agreed on both counts -- and I'll only add that the Carinas really are pretty serviceable typewriters. I would not be too afraid to enter, say, NaNoWriMo with one.Delete
They really do refuse to die! Thanks for sharing this.ReplyDelete
If only these Chinese factories could get it together to produce something really top-notch, with high quality control and innovative design, they might actually expand the market for new manual portables, instead of clinging to its sad remnants. ...
Ain't that the truth! Of all of these things.. ALL of them... the very best is the Model 100, from my point of view. This machine's tooling should be found, installed in a plant, and put to use.Delete
My guess though is that the price point of the machines they're churning out is right for the intended market, where they're still useful tools and not luxuries. That means that they're actually making a viable product and are unlikely to be willing to retool a plant and build something lower profit. But stranger things have happened. We can dream, right?
Indeed, the Rover 9" is the same design as the Olympia Traveller C, but it was not made in Mexico. These too came from China when they were sold here. The Olympia factory in Mexico was struggling with an ugly strike and they ended production in the late 1990s. Instead they started importing typewriters here, and the Traveller C sold well into the 2000s (you could still buy one around 2005 in major retail stores like Office Depot / Office Max, for example).ReplyDelete
I own one of those Chinese-made Traveller C's, and I think it is an OK machine. Mine has the issue that it's really difficult to insert the paper in the platen - you must release the pressure rollers and wrestle the page past the vibrator - but it might be just a matter of adjusting the carriage (it might also have a small piece of paper stuck between the pressure rollers, which causes the page to get stuck). But other than that, and once you get the hang of how to feed the paper into it, it is a nice typer: the typeface is big and readable, the feel is quite decent, even though it has a marked tendency to "walk" all over the desk. Not my first choice, but not a bad typer either.
Thanks Miguel! Wow - how often do we see strikes at the end of the useful life of a typewriter plant throughout history! Royal, Underwood...Delete
I got a Traveller C from the late John Tomlinson as a gift. It had a problem that the top cover never stayed on; there had been some damage prior to my acquiring it. I love the ultra modernistic shape of the machine and wished it worked better than it did... although as you say it isn't anything like I would call "terrible."
This typewriter is also being sold as the Royal Epoch:ReplyDelete
The product description is interesting:
"The Royal EPOCH Manual Portable Typewriter, which replaces the Royal ME25, the Royal Scrittore and the Olivetti MS25 manual typewriters, is the perfect low cost solution for the home or office that is in need of an occasion typewriter for carbonless forms or envelopes. This is a brand new machine, not refurbished or used. This typewriter brings back memories for those who used a good old-fashioned typewriter, back in the day, and is great for creating labels, typing envelopes, and filling out carbonless or regular forms - tasks that can take too much time or effort with a computer and printer. This manual typewriter is fun to share with children who have never used, or even seen, a good old-fashioned typewriter, and makes a great nostalgic conversation piece, when it's not in use! The portable typewriter ships with a clamshell carrying case, which is great for moving from location to location, or just for general storage of your new machine."
Has someone already tried the Royal Epoch in real life? Would really like to see the similarities/differences between the Epoch and the Japan made Carina's.ReplyDelete