The Good, the Bad, and the Compact

In the market for an electronic wedge? In the heyday of the electronic (daisy wheel) typewriter, buying the best meant buying a high-spec full-size (standard) office machine.

Today however, full size or standard office electronic typewriter are too large, and personal/portable wedges too low-spec and (often) flimsy, for most collectors to consider. The obvious candidates as most collectable are the compact machines.

Note that there is some overlap between the portable and compact categories; in other words, smaller compacts might be deemed to be portable, and conversely larger portables might be deemed to be compact. In general though, classification is based on the width of the platen:

  • Standard (top-level): Typically, a  420 mm (16.5 inch) or a 432 mm (17 inch) platen (paper width) with a 330 mm (12.9 inch) or 335 mm (13.18 inch) writing width, respectively.
  • Compact (mid-level): Typically, a 343 mm (13.5 inch) or a 381 mm (15 inch) platen (paper width) with a 280 mm (11 inch) or 297 mm (11.69) inch writing width, respectively
  • Portable (low level): Typically, A 305 (12 inch) or 343 mm (13.5 inch) platen (paper width) with a 229 mm (9 inch) or 280 mm (11 inch) writing width, respectively.

Invariably, compact electronic typewriters will have a higher characters-per-second (cps) speed than their portable counterparts.

Here then are my compact top-picks based on their better than average typing speed (the speed of an average electronic typewriter being, say, between 12 and 14 characters per second (cps):

Top of the pile, speed-wise, are the compact wedges of the Triumph Adler SE 300 series:

  1. TA SE 305 (1986) – 18 cps
  2. TA 310, TA SE 315 (1984) – 18 cps
  3. TA SE 320 (1985) – 18 cps
  4. TA SE 325 (1986) – 18 cps
  5. Olivetti ET 111 (1983) – 17 cps
  6. Rank Xerox 6001/6002 (TA CompacTA 400/400 DS (1987) – 16 cps
  7. Silver Reed EX 200, EX 300 (1984) -16 cps
  8. AEG Olympia ES 70i/71i/72i (1987, 1989, 1988)  -16 cps
  9. IBM 6781 (1988) -16 cps
  10. Sharp XQ 315 () (1988) -16 cps
  11. Panasonic KX-E 400/D  (1988) -16 cps
  12. Nakajima (also Remstar) AE 360/395 (1988, 1986) – 15 cps
  13. Brother CE 550, CE 650 (1986), CE 700 (1989) – 15 cps
  14. Canon AP 100/150 (1985) – 15 cps
  15. Olivetti ET 110 (1983) – 15 cps

Triumph Adler SE 320 (above)

Silver Reed EX 300 (above)

IBM 6781 (above)

Sharp XQ-315 (above)

Rank Xerox 6002 (above)

Olivetti ET-111 (above)

AEG Olympia ES 70i (above)

Panasonic KX-E 400 (above)

Nakajima (also Remstar) AE-360 (above)

Canon AP-150 (above)

Brother CE-500  (Above)

Brother CE- 650  (Above)

Brother CE-550  (Above)

Brother CE-700  (Above)

8 thoughts on “The Good, the Bad, and the Compact”

  1. Agreed. People also give them away, for example my Xerox 6002 and IBM 6715. Panasonic portables also take the same Brother ribbons. 😉

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  2. I feel a daisy wheel belongs in every collection. Why? Daisy Wheels essentially knocked the Selectric out of its total domination of the modern typewriter world. Even IBM surrendered to the Daisy Wheel. The big problem with collecting them, is getting ribbons and print wheels. Many are no longer available. That is why I am sticking with Brother, of which I have several. When I have to write a letter, I turn to one of my Brothers. They produce beautiful copy, have many features to make the perfect letter, And, you don’t have to retype the letter if you make a mistake (provided you keep a electronic file copy). And the best part, they don’t cost an arm and a leg. My last one cost me under $6.00 at a local thrift shop, and it was almost new.

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  3. Thanks Joe. An Olympia “Report” Electronic circa 1984 is German made. Not sure if yours is something newer or not. AEG Olympia eventually outsourced production to Nakajima, keeping the same designs, more or less, and using the same model names as before, for example Carrera, Monica, Mastertype, Startype, etc. Chances are if it doesn’t explicitly say “Wilhelmshaven/Made in Germany” it’s Japanese. I’ll be interested to see your blog article/video. Thanks for dropping by 😉

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  4. I was just this week gifted an Olympia Reporter Electronic. Was in bad shape, wouldn’t type at all. Now it’s almost perfect except for the occasional glitch. I think it’s a Nakajima. Blog article and/or video pending.

    I consider this site the go-to place for all things electronic typewriter related.

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