Vintage portable & manual typewriters from the 50s, 60s & 70s had the best then-new features

Vintage portable and manual typewriters

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When portable and manual typewriters started to get fancy with office typewriter features in the 50s, it was truly a game-changer for students and small business owners.

The incorporation of more advanced features into portable machines marked a new era of convenience and accessibility, and these compact and user-friendly manual typewriters became more versatile and efficient than ever before.

Suddenly, it was easier for people to carry around their own personal typing assistant, bridging the gap between the cumbersome office machines of the past, and the streamlined, feature-rich portable typewriters that were now within reach of everyday users.

While this kind of tech may seem small to people who grew up with multiple computers in every home, it was a huge deal back in the day. In fact, this remarkable leap forward in technology not only revolutionized the way we approached written communication, but also paved the way for the evolution of modern computing devices we rely on today.

Have a scroll through this collection of promo materials that hailed the hottest features of portable typewriters from the mid-20th century. (Want to see more? Check out the history of typewriters, and some popular vintage electric typewriters!)

From Royal: A new kind of portable typewriter (1958)

The Futura is the first and only portable with ALL the practical features of a standard office typewriter!

Royal portable typewriter from 1958

New from Royal for Christmas: The Futura portable typewriter

Here it is — the first and only portable with all the hard-working advantages of the best standard office typewriter made! It’s Royal’s newest — and it’s here in time for Christmas giving.

Try the new FUTURA and see how smoothly and effortlessly you can type on Royal’s full standard keyboard with finger-flow keys and comfortable keyboard slope.

And see how easily you can tailor the keyboard to your own touch by simply moving Royal’s Touch Control lever. Ribbon need changing? You do it in seconds with Twin-Pak, without touching the ribbon or smudging your fingers.

You set margins automatically with a flick of your finger on the Magic Margin lever. You set the foolproof, easy-to-use Royal Line Meter to show you how many lines are left at the bottom of your page.

And when you want to tabulate columns of figures, you simply press the Magic Column Set key. Add to all this: one-piece, unitized construction . . . so rugged it can take all the pounding you can give it.

The new Royal FUTURA makes a very special Christmas gift for students and others who type at home (or in the office). Choose from four gay colors. Ask your Royal dealer for a demonstration — soon.

Royal portable typewriters ad November 1958 1

A new Royal Portable can raise her marks up to 38%

It happens every day! Many so-called “slow students” learn to type and then show up on the honor roll.

Incredible? Not at all. Typing makes homework fun, actually encourages study, helps organize lessons, helps finish assignments faster.

Start them right with Royal! Twin-Pak, the quick-change, no-smudge ribbon… Magic Margin… extra light touch … that famous Royal ruggedness!

These are just a few of the exclusives that make the 1958 Royal Portable the greatest portable that ever went to school — the all-time favorite of students.

Pay just pennies a day! You can buy a Royal Portable in any one of the 6 wonderful colors for only a few pennies a day, with up to two full years to pay. There’s nothing to keep you from giving your student a new Royal Portable — and a Royal send-off toward better grades — right now.

Convenience plus! Only the new Royal Portable gives you Twin-Pak ribbon. Changes instantly — no messy fingers.

Royal: World’s most wanted portable typewriter

A new Royal Portable can raise her marks up to 38%

Vintage portable manual typewriters from 1956

Vintage portable manual typewriters from 1956

Smith-Corona vintage manual typewriters from 1956

Smith-Corona vintage manual typewriters from 1956 (2)

Smith-Corona vintage manual typewriters from 1956

Smith-Corona vintage manual typewriters from 1956 (1)

Remington Quiet-riter manual typewriter in colors from 1956

Remington Quiet-riter manual typewriter in colors from 1956

Vintage portable manual typewriters

LIFE Sep 21, 1953 Typewriter

Vintage Royal portable typewriters

LIFE Jun 6, 1955 typewriters royal

The wisdom of giving a Royal portable for graduation. (1964)

You’ve probably heard that a portable typewriter can help students make the most of their learning abilities, can help them earn better grades.

Studies conducted in public schools by several American universities have demonstrated this. It underscores why a portable could be a parent’s wisest graduation-gift investment. But why a Royal portable?

For one, a Royal offers greater conveniences, is easiest to use. For instance. on the Safari above, you roll up paper evenly with just one zip of the knob. No adjusting and re-adjusting.

You set margins instantaneously by push button with Magic Margin. You change ribbons in nine seconds by replacing two cartridges. One way or another, all Royal portables are so gifted. Each has a full-size keyboard, liveliest keys of any portable, the craftsmanship of Royal’s rugged office typewriter.

smith-corona-portable-typewriters-1964 (1)

Quick brown fox: Smith-Corona portable typewriters (1964)

The speed of electric typing in a portable… and only Smith-Corona makes one.

Students have been up against the quick brown fox since typing began. It’s part of a sentence with all the letters of the alphabet … one of the first things students tap out on a typewriter. Now it’s met its master — the Smith-Corona’ electric portable. No other portable has the power to make fur fly like the Smith-Corona electric.

No other portable has such power and strength. The all-steel frame completely surrounds the heart of each machine for added protection. Electrostatic finish defies bruises. And who but Smith-Corona builds portables (electric and manual) so solid we can back them with a full five-year guarantee? (Most others forget your name after 90 days.)

Buying a portable? Be foxy. Now is the time to check into Smith-Corona!

smith corona portable typewriters 1964 2

The family electric typewriter: the retro Royal (1969)

Royal’s new portable all-electric is so easy to use it’s perfect for boys, girls, mothers and fathers who write PTA minutes, term papers, recipe files, office reports, letters to the Mayor, college applications and anything else you’d ever want to put in writing.

A typewriter around the house usually meant there was a student in the family. And that’s as true today as it ever was. Because parents know that a typewriter can help their child in school. But the 1969 family knows that typewriters aren’t just for kids. And that’s why Royal has come up with the Family Electric Typewriter.

Why a Royal? You can write much faster with a Royal all-electric. Three or four times faster than in long-hand.

Several features make it faster than your old manual typewriter. The all-electric carriage return. A space bar that repeats. Automatic advancement of the paper to the next line. With a Royal all-electric, you get exactly the same impact for every stroke. So the results are even and professional looking.

You can’t do a poor job. Typing on a Royal is so easy it doesn’t tire you out. When students use a Royal all-electric, assignments make a better impression on the teacher. They’re neater, easier to read, and show a sense of pride in the work. A student can concentrate on his work — not on the mechanics of typing.

The family electric typewriter Royal from 1969 (2)

College. Every parent’s concern

You want your son or daughter to go to a good school. And you’re probably already put-ting away money for their education. A Royal all-electric can help your children get better marks. And, after all, good marks help get them into college. But after your child gets into college, Royal continues helping. Even though it’s fully electric, it’s a portable. It can go away to school with no trouble because it weighs just a little more than 17 pounds. It comes in a molded carrying case.

Royal is a family affair

Why shouldn’t a mother or father type electrically, too? With a Royal all-electric, you don’t have to be a professional stenographer to get professional results. Think how much easier it is to read a recipe if it’s typed. And work brought home from the office will look a lot better on Monday morning if it’s typed electrically.

The perfect high school graduation gift

Compare this great all-electric to any other gift you can think of. This Royal not only helps your son or daughter in almost every college course, but will be useful for the years to come.

What to do with your old typewriter

After you buy a new Royal, why not donate your old one to your favorite charity? The important thing is that your family has a new Royal portable all-electric.

It sounds expensive. It isn’t

The Royal all-electric is the lowest priced fully electric typewriter on the market. Costs just a few dollars more than many manuals. It’s a small price to pay for your child’s future. And for trouble-free service to your entire family.

See your nearest Royal dealer. Royal Typewriter Company Division of Litton Industries

ALSO SEE: 25 things most people under 25 have never seen in real life (and probably can’t name)

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One Response

  1. For a teenager, getting a typewriter for Christmas or one’s birthday used to be an important rite of passage. It meant that you were growing up and were preparing to enter the adult world. I got a Brother electric typewriter for Christmas my sophomore year in high school, and I had it all through college and for many years after. In addition to using it for my own work, I was able to earn money in college by typing my friends’ papers. I think I had it as late as the mid-1990s when I finally got a computer and inkjet printer.

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