Saturday, March 26, 2011
Here's a typing sample from Ned Brooks' Arabic Olivetti Lettera 32:
An early Erika folding (#3032):
A few stages in the evolution of the Erika, 1910s - 1950s:
My '50s Erikas (left to right: Erika 10 #1909032, Aztec 700 Super #1976404, and Arabic #2000670). The Arabic machine lacks several features of the others and has old-fashioned round metal keys, even though it's newer. I believe the others are both the "Super" version; they include include touch adjustment and tabulator, among other things. On the left of the keyboard is a lever for disentangling typebars, and a "+" key for setting tabs.
There are plenty of small differences among these machines. Consider the line spacing markings:
There are more differences under the hood. On the left (#1909032), a decal from VEB Schreib- und Nähmaschinenwerke Dresden (Volkseigener Betrieb, or "People's Enterprise" Dresden Typewriter and Sewing Machine Works -- the socialist successor to Seidel & Naumann). On the right (#2000670), no decal and a different system for securing the hood.
The Arabic Erika and its capitalist rival, an Olympia SM5:
The Olympia's logo:
Let's take a closer look at the Arabic Erika:
Who can tell me what these decals say?
The shift key is a work of calligraphic art:
For those of you who want to get into the nitty-gritty of proportional typewriting, here is a close-up of a non-proportional mechanism (#1976404) and then the Arabic, proportional mechanism (#2000670). Click on the pictures for big versions.
And finally, here is Ned's Arabic Lettera.
Wikipedia article on the Arabic alphabet
Marty Rice on the Aztec 700