The Electronic AEG

Come the dawn of the electronic age, Olympia made some attempt, initially, to retain the look, if not the feel, of the typewriters that came before.

Some continuity of design is evident in the “Whisperdisc” ES and ESW series of the early 1980s …

Another electronic typewriter that retained the “Olympia look” is the Compact S, introduced in November 1984 as an addition to Olympia’s “Office Line” of electronic typewriters …

Made in Germany, the scalloped Compact S (above) is the only machine in the Office Line not to offer Proportional Spacing in addition to 10, 12 and 15 pitch.

The Compact S has the same “venus-beige” key-tops and the same maximum writing width and maximum paper width as its older Mastertype and Startype siblings. A smaller footprint, however, justifies its “compactness”.

If space is an issue, you could opt, instead, for an identically-styled but smaller and slower (12 cps as opposed to 14 cps) Compact i portable (circa 1987) …

The uninitiated could be forgiven for thinking that the Japanese-made Electronic Compact is a copy inspired by the German-made Compact S

Olympia Electronic Compact (above)

In fact, the converse is true. The Nakajima-made Electronic Compact (advertised as early as the 23rd of August 1982 below) pre-dates the Compact S by at least two years and three months …

In the end, AEG Olympia (Olivetti and an Olivetti-owned TA Triumph Adler and others) capitulated by putting their name to unadulterated Nakajima typewriters with no semblance of an “in-house” look.

The Compact S and the Compact i may have been a short-lived attempt by the German manufacturer to wrest back control of its compact and portable typewriter production from the Japanese.

To my mind, this makes them all the more collectible.


3 thoughts on “The Electronic AEG

  1. Although I focus my collection on manuals, I do occasionally entertain the idea of buying an electric. I am curious about the Olympias, and an electric Olympia would tell a broader history in my Olympia collection. That said, I would have no idea how to repair electric parts. I am glad you keep these typewriters alive.


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