PREZIOSO, NIZZOLI, BECCIO,
MYERS, BRIDGWATER, THOMPSON,
AND 8 OTHER
GREAT TYPEWRITER DESIGNERSOn this day in 1939, Johannes Krüger, of Erfert in Germany, was issued with a US patent for his distinctive design for the frame of the beautiful Olympia Plana typewriter, which post-war was to be made by Optima in East Germany.
Krüger’s patent was, 10 years later, referenced by Olivetti designer Giuseppe Beccio when he came up with the frame for the famous Lexikon 80 desktop typewriter.
Beccio also referenced the 1937 design by John A. Zellers and Herbert E. Bridgwater for the Remington 5 portable we all know and love.
As well, Beccio referenced Lewis Cary Myer’s 1943 design for the equally familiar Royal Quiet DeLuxe portable – although in Myers’s drawings, there is a nice curving side panel which I have not seen on actual models.
The Myers design was also referenced by Frederic S. Grover, of Rochester, when he designed a 1947 IBM electric, along with a price tag marking machine from Thomas G. Turner, of Dayton, and one of Max Garbell’s “computer” (calculating) machines, this one from 1948.
Grover’s design was, in turn, referenced by the great Giuseppe Prezioso when he designed the Hermes Ambassador in 1950. Prezioso is best known for the 1935 Hermes Featherweight/Baby, a design which in essence survived through to Olivetti making the Lettera 82 in Brazil in the 1970s. So I am delighted that Swiss typewriter collector and historian Georg Sommeregger has finally ended my years of frustration by coming up with a Prezioso photograph. Thank you, Georg!
Prezioso also referenced a 1948 design from John C. Veltman and William O. Michelsen of St Louis. But this was assigned to the Emerson Electric Manufacturing Company, and it is for a machine I don’t think I have ever seen. However, it looks remarkably like the 1950s Smith-Corona series, the basic frame for which was used for the 1957 electric.
Veltman and Michelsen referenced a 1939 design by Bernard J. Dowd and Henry J. Hart, of West Hartford, for what Dowd and Hart called a “mask” for this Royal KMM desktop typewriter.
As well, Veltman and Michelson referenced a 1942 design by Russell G. Thompson, of Elmira, New York, for Remington Rand. This is one Remington I cannot pin down: the tab bar behind the keyboard is the puzzle. Otherwise, it looks like this Remington Rand portable, with a touch of the bigger Noiseless thrown in:
When Marcello Nizzoli came to design the Diaspron 82 for Olivetti in 1959, he referenced Prezioso’s Hermes Ambassador, Beccio’s 1949 Lexikon 80 and the Olympia SG1 designed by Anton Demmel at Wilhelmshaven in 1953.
Demmel was a master designer for Olympia, and not just on frames. His work on 1950s Olympia designs is truly magnificent – ranging to the SF series, my own particular Olympia favourite. Look out for the September issue of ETCetera, in which Richard Polt looks at the Olympia SM from this era. Please contact Herman Price about an annual subscription - this magazine is absolutely fantastic value for money. Message me if you need details.
In the meantime, getting back to Demmel, who in turn referenced four designs, including the great 1935 Herbert Bridgwater frame for Remington’s much desired 3B.
Demmel also referenced the Underwood “trapdoor” desktop designed by William A. Dobson, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1937, and Russell Thompson’s 1940 design for the Remington Rand desktop.
And, to complete a sort of “mutual admiration society” circle, Demmel also referenced Prezioso’s Hermes Ambassador.
All of which we gives us yet another chance to look at some really gorgeous typewriters.