Juki New Year

First established as a cooperative of machinery manufacturers in Tokyo in 1938, the TOKYO JUKI INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION began trading under that name in 1943.

The first household and industrial sewing machines were produced in 1947 and 1953 respectively. In 1988 the Corporation was renamed simply as JUKI CORPORATION.

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Today, the company is known primarily for its production of industrial sewing machines; and secondly for the production of automated industrial systems, electronic assemblies, PCBs, etc.

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A third segment of the business, and most relevant to this post, the JUKI HIROSHIMA CORPORATION (home of the JUKI Office Machine Corporation) was established in July 1963.

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According to its own website, Juki began manufacturing electronic typewriters under an OEM agreement with Olivetti, manufacturing the Praxis 30 and the Praxis 35 in 1981.

Juki also cut its teeth on the manufacture of an electronic IBM Selectric “clone” the Sierra 3300 around the same time:

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Stemming from its OEM relationship with Olivetti, Juki manufactured two low-cost portable daisy wheel electronic typewriters, the JUKI 2100 and the JUKI 2200, released in late 1984. Resembling the Praxis 30/35 manufactured by Juki for Olivetti in 1981, these more cheaply constructed “lookalike” portable typewriters take an Olivetti Praxis 30/35 compatible ribbon and a Triumph Adler compatible daisy wheel. They have a slow top speed of 10 cps.

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The JUKI 2200 “smart typewriter” with Centronics port

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A see-through plastic lid, that doesn’t snap into place but rests gently yet securely on top (unless you try to carry the typewriter by its handle) is a nice touch that other electronic typewriter manufacturers have also copied. Silver Reed EX42/44 electronic typewriters also have one, as does the Olivetti Praxis 20.

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Sad to say, the JUKI 2200 is another daisy wheel donor machine that did not turn out well …

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Hark the (broken) Herald Pica wheel.

I should have checked the printwheel was properly engaged before I powered on the typewriter, because a horrible electronic crunching ensued. End result: a daisywheel with more than a few broken stems and petals.

Fortunately, I own a large number of Juki-compatible T-A/Xerox daisy wheels …

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Well that seemed to work, except that the wheel occasionally jams and there’s more electronic crunching. The thought occurred to me that T-A daisywheels weren’t as compatible as they should be.

According to one eBay supplier, these JUKI machines take Nakajima printwheels:

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(But ribbon listings can be very unreliable: The same JUKI models are also listed as compatible under “IBM Wheelwriter” which is wrong, because the Wheelwriter has a completely different (enclosed) cartridge printwheel. JUKI should be listed under the “IBM Actionwriter”.)

In fact, the JUKI 2200 will take a Nakajima printwheel and won’t complain at all. It just won’t print the right characters (I can’t remember what I typed but it wasn’t this):

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Nakajima print wheel (Left) T-A printwheel (Right)
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The performance of the Juki 2100 leaves a lot to be desired. The time lag between key press and impact on paper is woefully long, which is something you can expect from most portable daisywheel machines. It’s a shame because the keyboard is reasonably tactile.

Also, whereas the hum of my IBM 6715 is barely discernable, this “typewriter” has the loudest hum I’ve ever experienced on an electric or electronic typewriter. It’s so loud, when you switch the typewriter off, the hum resonates in your ear drums for a good while afterwards.

I can’t believe it was that loud when new, possibly the capacitor’s on its last legs.

There’s also some squeakiness of the ribbon carrier as it moves back and forth like a jittery mouse. It’s actually quite endearing, but the hum spoils everything. I spent $20 on this noisy, quacking, ugly ducking of a machine because I wanted to write about it. I certainly wouldn’t want to write on it.

Still, a nice collector piece if I ever do find one in better condition …

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JUKI 2100 (above, also sold as the Privileg 2100 and the Olivetti “Daisy Black)

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You won’t find many of these typewriters online. A search on JUKI will yield, instead, several thousand sewing machines …

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… and about a dozen computer magazine advertisements for early-to-mid 1980s daisywheel printers …

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The Juki Sierra 3300 provides some evidence to suggest that IBM “dropped the ball” (figuratively and literally):

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Made in Japan by the JUKI Hiroshima Corporation …

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From I.B.M.’S TYPEWRITERS MISS A STROKE By Franklin Whitehouse, New York Times, Published: March 28, 1982:

“I’m predicting there will be 24 brands available by the end of 1982,” said Clifford M. Lindsey, an analyst at Dataquest, a market research firm in Cupertino, California. “And without an exciting technological development, I.B.M. could experience an erosion down to about 40 percent of the electronic market.

[…] Mr. Lindsey of Dataquest noted that Tokyo Juki Industries had recently introduced a $495 electronic typewriter that uses an I.B.M. ball and has 1,000 fewer parts than a  $775 I.B.M. model that I.B.M. had withdrawn from the market earlier.

‘There will be a huge price war and quite a scramble for market share before we settle down to a few suppliers,’ Mr. Lindsey said. He said that ‘the Japanese will be extra aggressive.’ ”

JUKI also used original IBM ribbons in some, but not all, of their daisywheel printers. A re-branded JUKI 6100 daisywheel printer, for example, was bundled with the American Kaypro home/personal computer …..

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To make life even more interesting (if not confusing), the JUKI Sierra 3200 looks nothing like its Sierra 3300 namesake, but is instead a daisywheel typewriter identical to the JUKI 2200 …

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Here’s another JUKI 2200 in a slightly different (Stott-Underwood SIERRA MATIC 2200) Australian guise:

12 thoughts on “Juki New Year

  1. The sad truth is it’s probably not worth much. There isn’t much demand for these electronic wedges. People even give them away. Having said that, if it’s in good condition with extras and you find the right buyer, who knows? Wouldn’t be three-figure sum, that’s for sure. 😉

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  2. I don’t know what happened I tried posting a comment from my phone doesn’t look like it posted. I have a Sierra 3300 that I recently found in my shed. Seems to be in good condition, haven’t gotten to test if it works yet but any idea what it might be valued at today?

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  3. Interesting post about the Juki daisywheel typewriters. I have the Sierra 3200, which I used to use to print all our company paychecks. It’s been in storage since 2000. Do you know anyone who would want the machine? It’s in the original packing box, with extra daisywheels and ribbons.

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  4. Ha, I LOL’d 3 times. I wonder what the JUKI was trying to communicate to you with that message. Hark the broken Herald pica wheel… Ha!

    Great entry, really enjoyed the info. ~TH~

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