Thursday, October 11, 2012

Green Machines: A Royal Signet and Portable of 1932

It occurred to me that I have never shown our Depression era Royal Signet.  This machine stands in stark contrast to its more expensive sibling, the Royal Portable.

We like the Signet quite a bit.  It is light enough for MEK to carry and has a style of its own.  I love the gold keys and the clean symmetry of the stripped down keyboard.

I outbid a key chopper on ebay to get this machine.  It had been used by at least two generations in a family and came clean and well kept.  I love it when a typewriter has spent its entire life in living areas.  No basement funk!

You may have read elsewhere that the Signet is very basic.  Take a look at the margin setting system and you will find out what "basic" means.  Example:  the back of the paper table and space bar are not painted.

Not much to see here.  However, it seems elegant compared to the long spring that runs the carriage on a stripped Olympia from the same era.

These 1932 Royals have one thing in common besides the family name:  sans serif typefaces.  Keylime sports the optional Vogue typeface.  The Signet is equipped with a specially designed italic typeface in caps only.  The latter is quite good for typing on aluminum foil sandwiched between sheets of paper.  Who needs a shift mechanism, anyway?

Thanks to Ted at, I finally have an original ad that shows both machines.  The Signet is the result of some dramatic cost cutting with an original price of $23.50 as compared to $45.00 for the Portable.  I've never seen any information on the topic of the price of Vogue as an option.  Did it cost more?  Who knows.  They still appear to be scarce.  Adjusted for inflation, $45 in 1932 would have the value of $750 today.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting our green Royals.  They have been enjoying a long turn outside their cases.  Before you leave, be sure to pull up a seat and have a slice of Keylime's pie!

Yes, the pie MEK picked up from Sweet Perfection Bakery was far better than that sorry pun.  Rumor has it that the proprietor's son is sweet on the gingercat.
Yet another word about the dread COPYRIGHT:  The images and words on this blog (minus the ad borrowed from Ted) are the sole intellectual property of Dwayne F.  Use must be attributed and no commercial use is allowed without express written permission.  Yeah, these photos aren't that special.  They should be easy enough for you to take after you bake a keylime pie from scratch.  I won't bother with repeating the vague threats involving mutant, flying Oliver 99 typewriters doling out revenge on copyright infringers.  No, that would be immature.  However, I feel it necessary to remind the reader that the official mascot of the Typosphere is the mighty Rhino.  We haz us a bigun, and I ain't sure whether the copyright theft induced rage can be put back in the bottle of mean that is our typing companion.

Fresh from the backyard studio!  More to come on this wild beast in the month of October...


  1. I have been wanting a Signet recently. I have seen several on eBay all for fairly reasonable prices, but I am holding out for a deal. Love the green machine. I am green with envy.

  2. Hang on......

    Take us back to those type stubs again? That's non-serifed. I have never seen that typeface before.

    What a peculiar machine. It must have been optioned for a specific purpose, that wasn't needed very often, and as such they opted for the cheapest machine.

    How interesting.

  3. .... And it is always great to see your Vogue. Such a beautiful machine!

    The machine that typosphere dreams are made of....

  4. Beautiful typewriters. I have a matching Signet, but mine did not come as clean. I like the basics of the Signet and really like the typeface. Since I do not have a Mill the Signet gets used in my radio room.

    The green one is really nice. I have bid on several and never won. The Vogue typeface is one of my favorites.

  5. They look good together.
    I've always liked the Depression era Signet. Why do I somehow remember reading a post about it here? Maybe I'm just clairvoyant. (:

  6. very nice, and a strange typeface. In all my blizzard of machines I've only had ONE from the 30's - the Woodstock. I love those colors and case styles.

  7. Mmmmm .... pie ....

    I learned a new word from that ad: velvetone! I'll never call it "crinkle finish" again.

  8. Very nice set of Royals! I'm glad I found that ad if it inspired you to bring these fine machines together for a post :D

  9. You have kick started my obsession with vintage typewriters. My next stop is Ebay to try and get my hands on one as beautiful as your Keylime Royal. I love reading your posts, so keep 'em coming!


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