Plugged in with Brother (Office ETs)

What is an office electronic typewriter? In this context we mean a full-size professional-level typewriter targeted at the large office environment, what the Germans refer to as a Büroschreibmaschine.

While many compact (semi-professional) electronic typewriters could be (and were) used in a large office environment, they were targeted at the so called SOHO (small or home office) sector.

Typically, Office electronic typewriters will have:

  • A 432 mm (17 inch) paper width and a 335 mm (13.18 inch) writing width. (Brother EM-2050) or
  • A 420 mm (16.5 inch) platen (paper width) and a 335 mm (13.8 inch) writing width. (Brother EM-80, 85, 100, 200, 501, 701, 721, 811, 1000, 2000) or
  • A 381 mm (15 inch) paper width and a 297 mm (11.69 inch) writing width. (Brother CE-400, 600. 700, EM-1005, 1050 high-end compact machines that might be considered “Office” E.T.s)

EM-1/EM2 JP-15 1980-1983

Brother’s first electronic office typewriter, the EM-1, was released in 1980 at a time when a number of IBM Selectric clones were prevalent, manufactured by the likes of Facit, Silver Reed, and Sperry Remington, etc.

At first glance, the bulky EM-1 resembles such “single element” typewriters, even making use of the same IBM Selectric ribbon cassettes. The “single element” in this case, however, is a daisy wheel rather than a ball.

Marketed as “the Official typewriter of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics”, the EM-2 was a 1982 update on the EM-1, providing triple pitch rather than dual pitch printing, auto-centering, a 1000 character phrase memory, page format, right margin justification and decimal tabulation.

The EM-1 and EM-2 were bridging products (much like Brother’s first electronic portables, the M8300/Correctronic and the M9300/Executron (JP-16) – “one-off” prototypes which served to keep the Brother brand “front-of-mind” in the marketplace until better products came along.

The print wheel first used in the EM-1 was so well-designed, however, Brother never needed to change it, using it across all subsequent (portable, compact, and office) categories right up until the end of production in 2012.

EM-2: Made in Japan A21567561 (above)

EM 15x Series 1983-1985

Made in Japan (1984) and then Taiwan (1985) and advertised alongside lower-spec CE-40/50/60/70 “Compact” electronic typewriters, the EM-80, EM-85, EM-100 and EM-200 were a vast improvement on the EM-1 and EM-2 – faster at 16 cps, more attractive, with a classic “wedge” profile, but heavy and noisy (65 dBA) compared to the office models released a few years later.

EM-85 (above)
EM-100 with IF50 interface box (above)

Looking at the rear of these typewriters  a broad horizontal vent runs across the entire width, above a galley for various communication ports. The power cord is fixed rather than detachable:

EM-100 (above and below)

EM Series JP-15xx: 1985-1989

In advertising in Australia 1988, Brother made a distinction between its CE series (Compact) and EM series (Office) electronic typewriters:

“A new CE family of machines is for typing in small offices. It ranges from a basic electronic typewriter, the CE-600, to the CE-1050 with an 80-character two-line screen and a 70,00 Word Spell corrector. Three more powerful machines for larger office environments extend Brother’s EM range of electronic typewriters: The EM-750fx and EM-850fx can be upgraded to the EM-2050 (the keyboard is detachable like the EM-850fx), which has an 80-character 25-line display and advanced word processing functions. Prices range from $789 to $3145.”

These e.t.s are different to the JP-15x (EM-80, EM-85, EM-100, EM-200) e.t.s described above.

There are in fact two distinct body shapes which came after, and these correspond to the “CE and EM families of machine” referred to in Brother’s own advertising (above). For this reason, I created a CE-Series JP-15xx category (in my post on Brother Compact E.T.s) and an EM-Series JP-15xx category here.

Model numbers include (but may not be limited to) EM-501, 511, 521, 601, 611 701, 711, 721, 811, 1000, 2050.

In addition, in November 1986, Brother introduced its fx series (EM-701fx, 721fx, 750fx, 811fx, 850fx, 1000) of E.T.s, using a suffix which stood for flexibility and expandability, since display, memory and other features and functions could be added.

EM-601 (above)

Looking at the back of these machines, there is a single vent along the top/rear. A flat paper table sits along the top-rear of the machine. There is a non-detachable power cord to the right, with the manufacturer badge to the right of that. An inset panel for various communication ports, bottom left:

EM-601 (above)
EM-611 (above)
EM-711 (above)
EM-711 (above)

An interesting feature of the EM-850fx is a keyboard which is completely detachable, now that’s flexible!

EM-850fx (above)

Like the EM-850fx, the EM-2050 has a detachable keyboard and shares the same keyboard layout. However, the EM-850fx has an integral LCD screen, whereas the EM-2050 interfaces to an external display screen and has additional word processing function keys above the main keyboard:

EM-2050 (above)

CM/EM/BEM Series: 2002 -2012

These typewriters have a broad three-tiered body with a vent along the top-rear of the machine. The platen knobs are smooth, which is characteristic of the last Brother CM/EM series. The model prefix on the manufacturer badge is sometimes BEM. In Japan, the EX- prefix is used (EX-630). All seem to be made in the UK:

Looking at the back of the machine, there are just two lower vents. left and right, with the manufacturer badge to the right of the lower right vent:

Model numbers include but may not be limited to EM-530/CM-1000,
EM-630/BEM-630/CM-2000 (Also EX-530 in Japan).


2 thoughts on “Plugged in with Brother (Office ETs)

  1. Nice! I note that it looks like some of the machines could be had with built in Centronics parallel ports instead of (or maybe even in addition to in the EM-100’s case) the proprietary IF-series adapter box. Interesting! (:


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