It’s disappointing to note that, at a top speed of 12 characters-per-second, Silver Reed EX series (EX-42. 43N, EX-44) compact electronic typewriters are slower than most of their (early 1980s) contemporaries.
But speed isn’t everything (unless you’re a touch-typist with a competitive streak) and as I said when I bought a Silver Reed EX-42 electronic typewriter in October last year, these EX-series typewriters have an attractive simplicity, a very good build-quality (hence they’re quite heavy), a gorgeous keyboard, and a classic wedge shape—as featured on the cover of the Operating Manual (a copy of which I finally tracked down).
The only downside to owning one of these early Silver Reed wedges is the scarcity of their ribbon cassettes and print wheels. I managed to pick up a few ribbons cheaply on a recent trip to the U.K., which is where I also got the operating manual.
The brevity of the operating manual reinforces how simple this series of typewriters are, with the EX-42 being the simplest of the three.
The operating manual tells me that the EX-44 and the EX-43N have a paper table/fold-down plastic lid, and an eraser table, that the EX-42 doesn’t have.
The EX-42 is also missing a KBI and KBII keyboard selector switch, 15 pitch selection and a 15 pitch line on the margin/pitch scale.
But who needs 15 pitch when the EX-42 is so big on character?
(Incidentally, these print wheels were sourced from IBM) The 15 pitch Gothic Mini print wheel I also bought recently during my U.K. trip (the one with the Selectric-style spring clip) works perfectly well when the EX-42 is set to 12 pitch:
According to the operating manual: “For the machines to USA/Canada function keys are indicated with the names of the functions instead of the arrow marks.” Not sure why someone thought that was necessary.
Electronic Typewriter Instruction Guides
The following guide is freely shared. A small donation, however, will make it easier for me to continue to add to this archive. Thank you!