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05-4-2013 07:22:18  #1


German WWII machines

I noticed a typewriter on EBay recently which bore a special key for typing the initials SS in one stroke.  These machines can go for thousands, but must be relatively easy to fake - well, compared to some other antiques anyway. 

I wish I had not deleted the item, since some here could doubtless judge its authenticity.  In general, are there typewriters worth faking; is a newcommer such as myself likely to be fooled by a fake?


Sincerely,
beak.
 
 

05-4-2013 13:22:16  #2


Re: German WWII machines

I suppose it might be worth someone's while to respray an old black typewriter in something more colourful, then add new decals and pretend it's an original paint-job in good condition. That would be a relatively easy way to add value to a beat-up machine.

Actually adjusting the hardware as you describe, might be harder. It would be easy(ish) to lift the glass on the key and replace the paper, but creating a new type-head would present problems. I assume you'd have to cast one from scratch.

Last edited by Stevetype33 (05-4-2013 13:23:38)

 

05-4-2013 13:43:47  #3


Re: German WWII machines

There are a number of fakes out there, in fact I just saw one recently on eBay, and just thought about how some sap was about to pay a lot of money for a $50 typewriter. I see the exact same thing being done in wristwatches, and as a general rule of thumb, you never - ever - buy anything off an eBay vendor based in the Ukraine or Russia (sometimes Poland too) if you don't want to end up with a worthless fake. 

What these low-lifes are doing is buying the correct make and model of typewriter, and then refitting the slug and key with one that has the runes you were asking about. There's no repainting of the machine involved in the process as most of the machines were civilain models (there were field models as well, but that's another story). 

Generally these fakes are easy to spot as the key won't look 100 percent identical to those on either side of it (often the runes on the key aren't even done very well). The slug will also stand out from those on either side of it as well too.

I didn't realise these typewriters are now selling for thousands. The last I checked the average price was still under $1,000, which I personally think is a ridiculous amount of money to pay for such a machine. The reason that sellers are getting such outlandish amounts is because it's typically not typewriter collectors who are buying them. 

Unless you can trust the vendor 100 percent - for example, unless they can prove the machine's provenance - I would stay well clear of those auctions.


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

05-4-2013 15:46:18  #4


Re: German WWII machines

Just to be clear, I was talking about two different types of fakery: paintwork refreshes (eg turning a regular Corona into a colour model) on one hand, and type-head/slug replacements on the other. I doubt the Waffen-SS or Gestapo would have ordered typewriters in brilliant red or cool blue.

A WWII connection seems to add a premium to any machine. I recently saw a very beat-up, rusty Olympia in a decrepit military-issue case go for around £150 on eBay. One striking feature was a U-Boat propaganda flyer stuck to the outside of the case. The seller doubted it was authentic, but even so there was some fierce bidding.

 

05-4-2013 17:33:04  #5


Re: German WWII machines

Y'know, one of the reasons why Germanhy lost the war was its inability to prioritise. 

Britain and America had ceased production of everything when the War started. Cars. Radios. Fountain pens. Clothing. Typewriters. EVERYTHING was put towards the war-effort. 

In Germany, this didn't happen. They still produced clothes and cars and household goods. Including typewriters. Germany also did not initiate rationing for its civilian population. 

Hitler wanted to show the German people that Germany was SO great. It could fight total war without total committment. It was SO advanced that it could AFFORD not to have complete devotion to the war-effort. 

They also didn't inititate rationing because that would show the German people how WEAK Germany was...What, it can't feed its own people properly?? Pfft. Sure it can! We don't need no stinkin' rations! 

Germany only started restricting manufacture later in the war, by which time they were already on the back foot. 

One of the things they cut back on was typewriter manufacture. And the Allies were bombing anything that could aid the German war-effort. Including typewriter factories. By 1944, I think, you needed to get a special permit to go out and buy a typewriter, since all the machines were being snapped up by the German military. 



 


"Not Yet Published" - My History Blog
"I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit" - Sir Pelham Grenville "P.G." Wodehouse
"The biggest obstacle to professional writing is the necessity for changing a typewriter ribbon" - Robert Benchley
 

05-4-2013 18:11:50  #6


Re: German WWII machines

Interesting. I'd heard that a permit system might also have been instigated to help stop the spread of anti-Government propoganda, but your supply scenario sounds more likely.

Another thing the German's didn't do was introduce female conscription for factory work (I'm not even sure it was possible for them to volunteer for it). Millions of educated, highly-motivated workers left idle.

 

05-4-2013 19:20:02  #7


Re: German WWII machines

Jews were not allowed to own typewriters for that precise reason. So that they couldn't produce anti-Nazi literature. 

That, more than anything, shows you the power of the written word. But also how powerful something like a typewriter could be, as a weapon of war. 

"I have a Remington rifle. It can shoot twelve rounds a minute!"

"I have a Remington Rand. It can type 80 words a minute!" 


Germany suffered SERIOUS shortages of everything. Ever heard of the term "jerry-rigged"? Meaning to make something serviceable by using parts from something else? That's a term that came out of WWII. It meant something that the Germans ("Jerries") had tried to make an ad-hoc repair to ("rigged") to keep it going. 

By contrast, the 'States (and to a lesser extent, the UK) were fighting a war of supply and demand. Their strategy was to overwhelm the Germans by mass production. 

You sink one ship. We build five more. You shoot down three planes, we stick another ten up in the sky. You fire ten rounds but have nothing left in the ammo-box. We fire fifty rounds and the next crate of ammo is arriving tonight on the Red Ball Express. 

The lack of German resources was a direct result of their inability to see that the WAR CAME FIRST. It came first over Nazi ideology, it came first over the Jews, it came first over Propaganda films and political rallies. The Germans concentrated so much on other things that the war suffered as a result. 

I didn't know about that issue with the Germans and female factory-workers. But then it wouldn't surprise me that such a thing happened/didn't happen. 

Moving back to typewriters, there certainly WERE legitimate German typewriters manufactured with Nazi symbols & keys and typeslugs. Here are a few examples: 

http://old.rietveldacademie.nl/designblog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/sstypewritercontinetakeyscu.jpg


http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/military_photos/field-equipment-accessories-3-reich/451780d1358379426-ss-typewriter-5.jpg


http://www.usmbooks.com/images/SStypewriter/REMsskey2.jpg


How common these machines were, I'm not sure. But they certainly did exist. The Nazis obviously decided that there was enough of a necessity/market for them, to have produced them to begin with. 


"Not Yet Published" - My History Blog
"I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit" - Sir Pelham Grenville "P.G." Wodehouse
"The biggest obstacle to professional writing is the necessity for changing a typewriter ribbon" - Robert Benchley
 

05-4-2013 19:22:08  #8


Re: German WWII machines

It really pains me to remind everyone that the forum's rules prohibit political (and religious) discussion, especially after having read a number of completely incorrect statements that I'd like to rebuff. If you'd like to continue this subject vein, please feel free to continue via the forum's PM system.

Thanks!

(oh, and I believe the expression is "jury-rig" and stems from the 1700s) 


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

05-4-2013 20:38:56  #9


Re: German WWII machines

Drifting a little here, but for what it's worth the expression is, I believe, 'Jerry-built'.  Jury-rigged is an ancient nautical term meaning cobbled together in an emergency.

Apologies to the mods for staring a thread that seems to have annoyed.

Last edited by beak (05-4-2013 20:39:23)


Sincerely,
beak.
 
     Thread Starter
 

05-4-2013 20:54:29  #10


Re: German WWII machines

I was trying to discuss history, not politics. Perhaps I should just leave.


"Not Yet Published" - My History Blog
"I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit" - Sir Pelham Grenville "P.G." Wodehouse
"The biggest obstacle to professional writing is the necessity for changing a typewriter ribbon" - Robert Benchley
 

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