Smith-Corona’s 5L Revival

Advertised in the USA in November 1984, and listed in my 1984/85 edition of the German office equipment catalogue Info-Markt 1, the Enterprise Electronic PE 900 was Smith-Corona’s first truly portable electronic typewriter:

Released alongside EC-series compact electronic typewriters sourced from Nakajima, the PE 900 and a handful of American-made models such as the Smith-Corona Sterling Electronic and the Corona Electronic (below) were the 5L forerunners of later Singaporean-made models of the 5A, 5B, 5F, etc. series:

These e.t.s marked a transition away from the “portables” of the heavyweight Ultrasonic/Memory Correct “Red Ring” series.

Later models of the 5L series, such as the Deville 110 below, were given cylindrical keycaps and a new decal, one which heralded the emergence of a revamped and unhyphenated “Smith Corona”.

The older PE 900 retains the same double-shot spherical keycaps as its electric and electronic predecessors.

A look under the hood reveals an all-metal print carrier assembly (soon to be replaced by cheaper plastic assemblies).

Similarly, double-barreled platen knobs with variable line spacing were soon to be replaced by something a lot simpler (and cheaper) on later models.

“H Series” print wheels and ribbon cassettes were a new departure and destined to be used in Smith Corona’s long-running and extensive 5A, 5B, 5F, etc. series.

1 Smith Corona pulled out of the office electronic typewriter market in 1985 and there were no further listings in subsequent Info-Markt catalogues.