Royal Typewriter Company
|Founder||Edward B. Hess|
|Headquarters||Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.|
|Products||See Typewriters section|
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.
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 nationwide 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, the surviving founder 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 US 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.
|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, Introduced "Magic Margin" system|
|Royal Quiet Deluxe Portable||1941|
|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 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 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 Safari III||1989||Made in Korea. Manual portable.|
In popular culture
- Fenton, Reuven (November 6, 2007). "Last word on typewriter not written yet". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- Cortada, James W. (1993). Before the Computer. Princeton University Press. p. 20. ISBN 0691050457.
- "Buyer's Guide To The Printers Of 1986". COMPUTE!: 24. June 1986. Retrieved 30 Mar 2015.