Royal Typewriter Company

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The Royal Typewriter Company
Type Private company
Industry Typewriters
Founded 1904[1]
Founders Edward B. Hess[2]
Headquarters Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
Products See Typewriters section
Typewriter used for many years by Pulitzer Prize-winner Herb Caen in preparing his daily column. He called it his "Loyal Royal".

The Royal Typewriter Company was a manufacturer of typewriters headquartered in New York City with its factory in Hartford, Connecticut.

History[edit]

The Royal Typewriter Company was founded in January 1904 in a machine shop in Brooklyn, New York by Edward B. Hess and Lewis C. Myers.

In 1905, with their limited cash running out, Hess and Myers turned to Thomas Fortune Ryan, the wealthy financier. They demonstrated their machine which had numerous innovations including: friction-free, ball-bearing, one-track rail to support the weight of the carriage, a new paper feed, a lighter and faster typebar action, and complete visibility of the words as they are typed. Ryan was impressed and put up $220,000 in exchange for financial control.

In March 1906 the first Royal typewriter, the Royal Standard, was sold. The Royal Standard was different from its competition in that it had a "flatbed" design.

With demand increasing, Royal purchased 5¼ acres in Hartford, Connecticut as the new site for its manufacturing facility. Original plans called for floor capacity of 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2) and cost $350,000 to build. In 1908, Royal began manufacturing there.

In 1911, Royal introduced the Royal 5 typewriter, which also utilized the "flatbed" design.

Royal's first model utilizing the "upright" design was the Royal 10, which came out in 1914. Original models had two beveled glass panes on each side.

In 1926 Royal introduced the "Roytype" brand name for its line of typewriter ribbons and carbon paper.

Royal entered the portable typewriter market in 1926 - years behind its competitors such as Underwood, LC Smith Corona, and Remington.

In order to promote the new portable, Royal president, G. E. Smith, secured the exclusive sponsorship of the September 23, 1926 Dempsey-Tunney championship fight for $35,000. This boxing match was the first nation-wide radio hook-up.

"The Daily News" of New York estimated that 20 million fans from coast to coast listened to the broadcast.

Royal's introduction of its portable line of typewriters was an immediate success and launched the company to become the world's #1 selling typewriter brand.

On October 9, 1926, the "Hartford Daily Courant" reported that Royal had just produced its one millionth typewriter.

To promote the ruggedness of its typewriters, George Edward Smith, president of Royal bought a Ford-Stout tri-motor airplane in August 1927. This plane, commonly called the Royal Airtruck, dropped over 200 typewriters in crates with parachutes to dealers over the eastern seaboard of the USA on its maiden flight. Royal eventually delivered over 11,000 this way with only 10 being damaged.

In January 1941, Edward B. Hess, one of Royal's founders and vice presidents, died in Orlando, Florida. Hess was a prolific inventor and held over 140 patents relating to the typewriter.

World War II brought tremendous change to Royal. In order to aid the war effort, Royal converted its manufacturing to war work exclusively. Royal would manufacture machine guns, rifles, bullets, propellers, and spare parts for airplane engines. It wouldn't be until September 1945 that Royal would start typewriter production full-time again and not until December 1948 that Royal would catch up on its pre-war backlog.

In 1947, Royal would produce, in limited quantity, a gold-plated version of its popular Quiet Deluxe model. Ian Fleming, the British novelist who wrote the James Bond novels, would use one. Many other writers, including Ernest Hemingway, used a Royal typewriter.

Other typewriter manufacturers would utilize Royal's innovations in their typewriters. In 1947, Royal would win patent suits against Remington and LC Smith & Corona.

In February 1950, Royal introduced its first electric typewriter.

Lewis C. Myers, one of the founders of the Royal Typewriter Company, died in Freeport, New York at the age of 84.

Worldwide demand caused Royal to open a new factory in Leiden, The Netherlands to produce typewriters in 1953.

In April 1954, the Royal typewriter Company announced its plan to merge with McBee, a leading manufacturer of accounting and statistical machines and supplies. By July, Royal stockholders approve the plan and Royal McBee was formed.

From 1954 to 1964 sales soared from $84.7 million to over $113 million. Royal McBee was consistently listed as a Fortune 500 company.

In December 1957, Royal announced it had just produced its 10 millionth typewriter. Congratulations were received from US Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks and the Governor of Connecticut, Abe Ribicoff.

In December 1964, Litton Industries' stockholders approved the acquisition of Royal McBee. The deal became final in March 1965. Litton would change the name of Royal McBee back to Royal Typewriter and reorganize the company into five divisions: Royal Typewriter, Roytype Consumer Products, Roytype Supplies, McBee Systems, and RMB.

October 1966 saw Litton announce plan to acquire the English typewriter producer, Imperial, through its Royal Typewriter division.

In January 1969, Litton Industries further cemented its hold on the typewriter market by purchasing the German typewriter manufacturer, Triumph Adler. Almost immediately, The USA government filed an anti-trust suit against Litton accusing it creating a monopoly. The FTC ruled in March 1973 that Litton had to divest itself of Triumph Adler. Litton would appeal and, in a rare reversal, the FTC issued a ruling in April 1975 stating that Litton could keep Triumph Adler.

In March 1979, Volkswagen, seeking to diversify, announced its intention to acquire a 55% stake in Triumph Adler. Included in the deal was Royal Typewriter.

Sales continued to climb and by 1982 sales in North America of Royal and Triumph Adler totaled over $600 million.

In April 1986, Olivetti, the Italian typewriter/computer manufacturer, announced plans to purchase Triumph Adler and Royal from Volkswagen.

For nearly two decades Royal was a part of the Olivetti family.

In September 2004, Royal became a private American company again.

Now known as Royal Consumer Information Products Inc., Royal’s product line has evolved to include cash registers, shredders, PDAs/electronic organizers, postal scales, weather stations, and a wide range of original and compatible/remanufactured imaging supplies supporting today’s most popular printers, faxes, and copiers.

Typewriters[edit]

Model Year Introduced Notes
Royal 1 (Standard) 1906 First model, flatbed design
Royal 5 1911 Flatbed, 11" carriage
Royal 6 1911 Flatbed, 15" carriage
Royal 8 1911 Flatbed, 19" carriage
Royal 10 1914 Upright design, Beveled glass sides
Royal Portable 1926 First portable model
Royal Portable (2nd Model) 1931 Second Portable Model
Royal Signet 1932-3 Depression-Era, low-cost portable
Royal KHM 1934 Round raised cover over ribbons
Royal Junior 1935 Depression-Era, low-cost portable
Royal Standard Portable 1935 First Royal with Touch Control
Royal Deluxe 1935 Touch control, finger comfort keys
Royal KMM 1939 Hinged top, touch control
Royal Quiet Deluxe Portable 1941 Introduced "magic margin" system
Royal Companion (1st model) 1941 A Royal Varsity, with a two-color ribbon.
Royal Varsity 1941 Replaced the Royal Junior and Signet—a low-cost portable typewriter.
Royal Quiet Deluxe (2nd model) 1948 Designed by Henry Dreyfuss
Royal Arrow 1948 (?) For military use during World War II
Royal KMG 1949 Extra long carriage
Royal Companion (2nd Model) 1950 Designed by Henry Dreyfuss
Royal 1950 Royal's first electric typewriter
Royal Diana 1953 Made in Mannheim, Germany. Made until 1959.
Royal HH 1954 Hinged Top, Touch Control, Portable
Royal Royalite 1955 Made in Leiden. Small portable.
Royal Senior Companion 1955 Low-cost, full-size portable typewriter.
Royal Companion (3rd model) 1955 Lower-cost version of the Senior Companion.
Royal Quiet Deluxe (3rd model) 1955 Came in a choice of six colors
Royal Futura 1958 First Royal portable with keyboard-level tab clear/set.
Royal Eldorado 1962 Royalite painted black and gold.
Royal Dart 1962 A special Royalite made for Montgomery Ward, with a raised ribbon cover.
Royal Lark 1962 A special Royalite, with a raised ribbon cover.
Royal Empress 1962 Large, futuristic office typewriter
Royalite '64 1963 Royal Royalite, with a two-color ribbon. Offered in either light yellow, or gray.
Royal 5000SDW 1964
Royal Safari 1964 Full-featured portable typewriter.
Royalite '65 1964 Royalite, with new design, based on the Royal Futura.
Royal Skylark 1965 A small, plastic-bodied Royalite.
Royalite (Model 2) 1966 Small plastic typewriter, with snap-on lid.
Royal '890' 1966 Came in either white, beige, or gray
Royal Telstar 1966 Basically a Royal Safari, with fewer features, and sold at a lower price.
Royal 550 1967
Royal Custom II 1968 A full-sized portable typewriter, available in either red or charcoal. One of the last Royal portables to be produced in the United States.
Royal Mercury 1968 Small metal-bodied portable, made by Silver-Reed, in Japan. Early models are painted ivory.
Royal Century 1968 Like the Royal Mercury, except painted two-tone blue, with a raised ribbon cover.
Royal Signet 1968 Like the Royal Mercury; lacks touch control and two-color ribbon. Came in gray
Royal Jet 1968 Blue version of the Signet.
Royal Apollo 1969 Electric portable typewriter.
Royal Tab-O-Matic 1972 Royal Mercury with preset tabulator. Painted dark brown.
Royal Sabre 1972 One of the first Royal portables to be manufactured in Portugal
Royal Astronaut 1972 Plastic portable typewriter, with a modernistic design. Made in Japan.
Royal Fleetwood 1972 Woodgrained plastic portable, based on Royal Sprite. Made by Silver-Reed. Also called Caravan. Had transistor radio in its case.
Royal Sprite 1972 Plastic typewriter, with a transistor radio mounted in its case.
Royal Sahara 1975 A rebadged Adler Tippa S, made of bright-blue plastic.
Royal Safari (Model 2) 1979 Made in Portugal
Royal Cavalier Pre-1990
Royal Safari III 1989 Made in Korea. Manual portable.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fenton, Reuven (November 6, 2007). "Last word on typewriter not written yet". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  2. ^ Cortada, James W. (1993). Before the Computer. Princeton University Press. p. 20. ISBN 0691050457. 

External links[edit]