|PORTABLE TYPEWRITER RELABELING...how and why|
|by WILL DAVIS|
|to return to the Portable Typewriter Reference Page Index.|
|Many new collectors are confused by what appears to be a bewildering array of brand names and model ranges found in the world of portable typewriters. The actual number of true mechanical designs is actually not all that bewildering; many of the name and brand variants found in the field are actually duplicative in a mechanical sense. In other words, same machine with different name. Let's take a quick look at some of the ways this happens.|
|At left, we see a machine which bears only the label AMC. You can see this in the blown up shot of the emblem. There is no model -- it just says "AMC" and "Made in France."|
|On the right is an illustration from the instruction manual for a machine called the Japy Script. These are the same machines, and the Japy Script is the "root model" -- in other words, this is the brand name of the original manufacturer of the machine, which was Japy Freres, of Paris, France. This machine is their "Script" model. Now, we know what the original machine is.
Further research reveals that AMC stood for Associated Merchandising Corporation, which was a major company in the USA that not only distributed various goods to department store chains under contract, but also imported goods and provided various services to the stores (such as storage, and management.) AMC imported these machines under a deal with Japy, who as part of the deal specially applied the AMC label you see above.
|Above, we see two typewriters which are very nearly identical. On the left, a machine which bears only the label AMC, and on the right, one which is labeled AVONA. Both machines were actually manufactured by Alpina Buromaschinenwerke in West Germany, and the AMC is the same company as discussed earlier. This is simply a different style of emblem sometimes used concurrently. On the right, a special sub-class. This machine bears a special name for sale through Jordan-Marsh department stores -- who obtained the machines from AMC.
What is obvious is that when you look at a typewriter, you have to simultaneously think two things: First, what is the machine actually (who made it?) and second, what does the brand and model mean (who sold it?) We now know they're not always the same. For new collectors, it's hard to tell -- but once you've been at it a while, you'll know brand names of manufacturers and brand names of importers, exporters or distributors fairly easily.
|Having said that, we now look at the Royal Safari IV. Most everyone knows that Royal was one of the biggest manufacturers in history -- but, by the time this machine was made, not only did Royal not have any operating factories in the US, it wasn't even based here. This machine was built after Litton Industries had bought, and years later sold, Royal (along with Triumph and Adler) to Volkswagen. The machine was made in Bulgaria, and in original form would have been called the Maritsa 30 -- and would have been BLUE. This may seem to make things more confusing, but that kind of thing is the whole reason the website you're reading now was built. It's here to ferret out these details.|
|Our final example isn't really relabeling -- it's moving. Sometimes, manufacturers of typewriters would sell the entire business to someone else, somewhere else, and ship all of the tooling to build the machines to the new owner. Thus, the machine's production ends in one spot and picks up in another. The machine we see here is one step more confusing. It carries the label BUNDY, specially applied for Bundy Typewriter Co. of Philadelphia. The machine was made in Bulgaria, and originally would have been the Maritsa 11. However, the Maritsa 11 is a machine built to the design of Keller & Knappich, of West Germany; these were made and sold for years under the name Princess. Eventually, Keller & Knappich sold everything to Bulgaria, who moved the machinery there and simply set it up and started production all over again under the Maritsa name, with only a couple slight modifications.|