1930 Royal Portable

(Took this lovely shot on Kodak Eltar100 with my Nikon F3)

     The dawn of the portable typewriter market was dominated by the quaint, yet popular Corona 3 in 1912.  This machine was the first portable typewriter, designed out of a recognized necessity for typing on the go.  The Corona 3 was a three bank machine with a standard keyboard, and a double shift.  What made it unique, was the fact that the carriage folded down over the keyboard, minimizing its profile and making it easier to transport.  By the time Royal Typewriter entered the portable market in 1926, most people already owned one, as various companies such as Remington and Underwood had long been in production of lightweight machines.  The selling feature of the Royal portable, however, was its functions and color customization.       Weighing in at close to 20 pounds, this machine stretched the boundaries of what we might consider “portable,” yet it was not quite so heavy as to cause bodily harm.  The hundreds of unique colors Royal offered, the full desktop-like functionality, and the option of an Art Deco sans-sheriff font called “Vogue,” allowed Royal to corner the typewriter market as a whole, becoming the unchallenged “Greatest Typewriter Company in the World.”  From Hess and Meyers’ humble beginnings, this certainly was quite the achievement.
1930-royal-portable-typewriter-mode-p-in-redIn 1930, Royal redesigned its Portable machine and added on some gull-wing ribbon covers.  This machine became affectionally known as the “Model P,” as the serial code began with that letter (the letter really only tells you the kind of machine: “P” for portable).  This machine became wildly popular as well, and if it can be found in a Vogue typeface, could be worth thousands.  F. Scott Fritzgerald was rumored to have one, as a dinner invitation sent by him and his wife sported this font.
     Rebranded in later years as the “Junior,” production came to a stop in 1938, for favor of the Deluxe, and touch control models.
The machine I have is from 1930, and is the 5,430th machine made in this style out of about 700,000.  It came to me in a rather poor condition, after having sat in an attic for who knows how many decades.  The action was frozen, the index didn’t work, the rollers were flat, feet broken, vibrator stuck, and a misaligned text.  The first thing I did with it was remove the body.  Removal was a difficult task, and gunsmith screwdrivers (or any hollow ground screwdrivers) work best for these kinds of tasks.  I repaired any broken parts I could find, cleaned thoroughly (not forgetting thtype-slugs), and readjusted every key and letter, including capitals and the spacing.  The mainspring was not pulling hard enough, but thankfully it just needed to be tightened.  For the feed rollers, I stopped by Advanced Auto parts and looked through their selection of rubber hosing, and chose ones with the correct inner and outer diameter.  This machine grips paper like a bench vise, even with the hardened platen.  After I had the rollers finished and the index fixed, (the upper part of the carriage had been disassembled) I began working on cleaning and polishing.  The old layers of tobacco and dust came off revealing a very nice two tone red and black paint-job.  The paint was worn off in many places, but the rear panel and decals remained perfectly preserved.  

royal model p typewriter repair
First Time I worked on it

Observe the Dirt

Corroded Typebars

Airing out tobacco smell

Flattened Bail Rollers

Fixing the Bail Rollers

royal typewriter repair
Machine: Sans-casing
removing the body on a royal typewriter 

royal typewriter body
Ready for polishing and cleaning

royal typewriter rear decal 
Decal on the backplate
typewriter feed roller repair 
Vacuum and Fuel Hose

Bare metal roller, marked for new rubber

The scale had to come out

 The scale back in after the rollers were installed.
The spring clips on either side keep it in position.

typewriter repair
New Rubber

Repaired Feed Rollers

     Today, the machine works as if it had just come off the assembly line.  Once in a while I might encounter a new issue from extended use and worn parts, but nothing that has given me a poor typing experience.  I am very pleased with the way this machine types.  Though I wish it was in Vogue, the standard typeface in Pica (10cpi) looks very nice.  Video and type sample hopefully coming soon.

Edit: I made rubber feet for it as well.

1930 Royal Model P


Typewriter Photography


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