ROYAL Ramblings

My 1921 Royal 10

Although I used to prefer black keys with white letters, these white keys are clean and even-colored, and I’ve come to prefer the way they contrast with the vast amount of Darth Vader blackness on this machine.

The chrome on this polished up to a mirror finish. It’s really beautiful. I purchased new feet from Bob Aubert. For some reason, I thought the new feet would at least match the diameter of the metal “cap” above them, but these are much narrower. Still, they do the job, and they’re better than the crusty, hardened feet that were on this when I got it (the feet were the only thing not in good shape on this machine). 
Now, if I could only find space for an Underwood 5…

19 thoughts on “ROYAL Ramblings

  1. That is the nicest Royal 10 I have seen…and I have seen a lot of them!
    The first I saw was at an estate sale. I was new to typewriters, figured I could not afford such an old and PRISTINE machine, and put it out of my mind. I scored an Underwood SX-100 from the basement for $10 soon afterwards. It needed massive restoration, but a few days at it and I had it good as new.
    At any rate, I turned in my number and paid the bill. My father in law was still lingering and I decided to join them. The auction was just about finished the room I had seen the Royal in, and then bidding started on it. I could not jab my father in law, who still had a number, in the ribs quickly enough, and this amazing machine went for $9 to some ninety-something year old woman. CURSES. I have sworn off them ever since. Until I find another nice one for $10, I will do without. Stubborn, yes, but I am not much of a Royal man as it stands.

    Quite an amazing machine, good sir. You did a marvelous job of restoring it! My blog posts have been down lately, as well. I am down to a few a week, when I was pumping out one a day when I started. One night, I did at least three, just because it was the weekend and 2 in the morning. Oh well. I have writing to do and typewriters to restore, damnit. 😀

    • Oh, man, I would kick myself forever if I let something like that slip away at $10. You should have jumped up and screamed out a bid.

      Yeah, I’ve put up more than one post a day on a couple occasions. Like I said, it’s not for lack of subject matter, but who has the time?

      • I am still kicking myself…and this was months and months ago. I didn’t have a number, and I had already used my father in laws card to buy the Underwood, as my wife had our card and was upstairs bidding when I was in the basement. I should have, I know, but I didn’t and I still hate myself for it.

        I have plenty of subject matter, but with typecasting it takes a while for a post. Mine tend to be image heavy, nevermind the actual typed pages, and all of those must be edited before posting and whatnot. I really want to get to some of the restorations I have on the list, but by the time I get home from work, especially in this heat (I pour concrete), I just want a beer, a cigarette, and a book…or the typosphere! Weekends are spent driving to flea markets and the like for new machines, and it is hard to find time to work on the ones I have. Hell, I might be driving 6 hours round trip this Saturday for a really awesome machine that happens to be, unfortunately, down the shore. Shouldn’t be as bad as driving to Brooklyn (3+ hours one way) the way after my wedding for that Victor. Hahaha. I hate the city, any city, and have never driven in NY before this. Well worth it, if you ask me. 😀

      • I’ve never been to an auction, so I don’t know how they work. I still would have jumped up and screamed out some bid, and then found a way to weasel my way around the card issue, and — oh, never mind. I’ll just drive you crazy if I keep reminding you about it.

        Did you say “Victor”? As in the talking machine? If so, I have a Victor Victrola VI, too! I find I don’t get time to play it as often as I’d like. I work at home, and I’ll listen to music (or OTR) while I work, and I can’t be constantly getting up to change needles and records. It’s more of a thing to do when I can just sit and relax. I hope you’re enjoying yours!

    • Just be patient, another great one will come along sooner or later.

      Former ETCetera editors Chuck and Rich found a nice Royal 10 at an auction. Its serial number was …. 1!

  2. Beautiful machine. I can see the gleaming from those photos.
    My personal favorite right now is my little red Brother Deluxe 220; it’s portable and came back with me from Germany last year. 🙂
    Looking forward to more posts. Belated welcome to the typosphere!

    Vikram (

  3. I am coming up on my one year anniversary for vintagetechobsessions in August. Blogger (Google) populated my feed at the beginning with some good tips from long time bloggers. The Interweb is littered with the remains of blogs that started and fizzled out within a year. I ran across many when searching for Blogger names for the rest of the family members. My self assigned goal is to not be one of those bits of digital debris.

    My posts tend to be longer, but not as long as Robert Messenger’s, and photo heavy. After reading tips, I settled on posting twice a week. If I am insanely busy and traveling a lot, one of those will be pretty short. If I have a post that I think will draw a lot of eyeballs, I force myself to wait a full week between posts. When I am on vacation, I create multiple posts and schedule them for later release.

    Just sharing: your mileage will vary. I am a technology junkie and frustrated designer (I can’t draw, so I shoot). I enjoy your blog and hope it stays around for a long time!

    I can empathize with the fascination for many mechanical things as well as the desire to blog on many topics. My type face obsession limits the range of available typewriter options. That is a good thing. I’ve been avoiding a standard, but dang, yours looks luscious. The great photography helps, but the machine is stunning as well. So clean and shiny… I love shiny things. Typewriters do take up a lot less space than classic cars. Just sayin’.

    The true collectors are indeed caretakers and curators. As part of my professional life I get to work with architectural conservators and sustainable building designers. I admire their respect for heritage the desire to create lasting things. Also, there are an awful lot of trolls on the Web. The Typosphere and related blogs tend to draw an articulate bunch that doesn’t mind sharing knowledge.

  4. You cannot bid without a number. My father in law still had his, but I wasn’t barely paying attention and could not leap to his side quick enough. Damn!
    I mean a Victor typewriter. A Victor 3, to be precise. It is a reasonably rare machine, and I found one for $30 in Brooklyn. The older gentleman selling it invited Leila and I to pick through his basement, as he had tons of stuff. He did clean-outs and remodels, and much of the antiques were to be simply thrown away. We walked away with a nice fan, a bar lamp we didn’t have in our collection, a few two-man saws, a wall mounted crank coffee grinder and, of course, the typewriter for about $80. Great day.
    I did, however, recently pick up a Modernolette portable phonograph player at auction for $15. It works great, and I have come to find that it is something of a rare machine. Great buy. Not near as exciting as the typewriters I found in their trash, but exciting all the same. They typewriters were not special, a Brother and a Sears, but the Brother works perfectly and I could not leave them and it really made the day a treat. If you have never been, I suggest getting out to an auction. can help you find some in your area. My favorite are the estate sales, but you can find auctions houses near you that hold weekly auctions. Always good times and really neat finds. Definitely cheaper than eBay or antique stores, and a whole bunch of fun.

  5. Beautiful Royal you have there! Definitely a keeper. And yeah, the bells on these machines are a wonder. My 1928 Royal Portable’s bell resonates beautifully. Makes it sound like a much younger machine.
    I hear you with regard to lack of time, too. Too many other interests, and then there are the more important obligations and pleasures like work (that’s the obligation) and family time (that’s the pleasure). Still, posting a couple of times a week does keep you in the Typosphere. And you’ve posted some real gems, pal.
    Take things easy, but don’t be a stranger.
    And Dwayne’s right. The web is littered with the carcasses of defunct blogs.

  6. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement. I’ll definitely make sure to post something every week, or several times a week, depending on what time allows.

    I think I’ll look into the estate sale thing. I think that would be fun. Thanks for the tip.

  7. One should blog when the spirit moves them — not necessarily every day, every week or even every month. Whatever works for the individual!

    Blogging doesn’t need to be a duty or a chore, or a daily grind. (Obviously! I’m a much-less prolific poster than most in the Typosphere.) It is a pleasure to read people’s posts whenever they happen to write, and I hope they enjoy my occasional outbursts from The Woods.

    I am much more likely to keep blogging if I don’t feel an obligation to do so. Otherwise I would burn out on it.

    My typewriter collection seems to have held steady at 22 for several months now. If I were to part with any of them, it would probably be one or two of my SCM electrics.

    Big standard models are definitely more of a challenge to find suitable places for. I’ve got four and don’t think I can acquire any more. Your Royal 10 is in stunning condition. My 1932-33 model is in “good” condition, but not like yours — which is GREAT!

    It’s funny to think that “back in the day”, most people owning typewriters had just ONE. Right?

    • Regarding people ‘back in the day” having only one typewriter: I suppose when we put that in perspective, that’s a lot like most of us owning, say, only one vacuum cleaner. But can you imagine a group of people a century from now collecting vacuum cleaners? Okay, perhaps that was a bad example, but you get my point. I’m sure people “back in the day” would think most of us crazy for wanting more than one typewriter.

      I’ve actually given some thought to what might become a collectible in another century or so. What do I own today that I take for granted, which I may not be taking very good care of (because I view it as disposable and/or lacking value), and which others may collect in the future? Heck, there are people out there who already collect early Apple computers, machines which I may personally find worthless. I have no intention of keeping this computer when it finally gives up the ghost. And yet, someone actually either cared for, or carefully stored my Royal 10 (perhaps without intention of doing so), such that it reached me in good condition. It makes me wonder if I’m being a good steward of the things with which I’ve been blessed. Food for thought.

  8. That Royal looks pristine — very nice!

    My wife is tolerant, but I can’t let typewriters spill out into every room of our house. And she recently drew the line when a TV show about collectors was considering filming in our house — she didn’t want the invasion of privacy, and I have to admit she’s right.

    Don’t assume that a big typewriter collection will end up in a museum. What usually happens is that no museum wants the machines, and the heirs have to sell them off. Sometimes a collector starts a museum, but usually it gets hardly any visitors and again has to be sold off sooner or later. At the moment, the most successful typewriter museum in the world seems to be the Peter Mitterhofer Museum in Partschins, South Tyrol, Italy. It developed from the collection of Kurt Ryba and is housed in the hometown of Mitterhofer, a notable typewriter inventor (not the first, though). The museum seems to do well thanks to tourism and support from the town government.

    • I, too, would have slammed the door on Hollywood.

      I actually did think about a sell-off as another possible fate for your collection, but that would be unfortunate to split up what took so much effort to amass in under one tent. Besides, I wasn’t thinking of a “typewriter museum” so much as I was thinking of a museum which exhibited, say, the technological progress of things, or machinery, or some such thing. Frankly, I would love to visit a museum with such artifacts of the 20th century. Heck, I’d even enjoy seeing a vacuum collection.

      I think my biggest concern of a sell-off is that some auction will occur where someone with no concern for the objects purchases the things to sell on, say, ebay, and then others with a passing interest purchases them, only to let them fall into disrepair, eventually tossing the things out altogether.
      Then again, many objects on display in museums are terrible specimens. One would think a museum would have a pristine example of whatever it’s featuring, but often I think they’re satisfied to have a dilapidated example to further highlight the “antiquity” of the object in question.

      Oh, well, perhaps our children will care enough to carry the torch. Who knows…

  9. Happy One Month Anniversary! To be honest, I didn’t really realise you posted something daily – but I always enjoyed your posts!
    That Royal is absolutely spotless. You must have excellent typewriter karma to find something like that!

    • Thanks! Yeah, posting daily began to tax me, so I’m backing off a bit.

      I think the trick to getting a nice machine is to be patient and just wait it out until something surfaces, and then hope there’s no bidding war. In reality, I was able to be patient about getting a Royal 10 because I wasn’t actively pursuing one, but when I saw this one I nabbed it.

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