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22-7-2018 22:09:03  #1

Manual typewriter with lightest touch/shortest key throw?

Last year I bought a newly reconditioned Hermes Rocket and was a bit shocked to find just how deep the key throw was (for such a small typewriter), and how much force was required to get a character onto the page, even with a fresh ribbon. Granted, my fingers are used to computer keyboards, and I know manuals are worlds away from anything you can really touch type on, but surely there are vintage manuals that don't require vigorous mashing of the keys.

So this leads me to wonder which manual typewriter has the strongest reputation for requiring the least amount of force (and therefore probably also has the shortest key throw).


23-7-2018 14:13:38  #2

Re: Manual typewriter with lightest touch/shortest key throw?

Some manual typewriters (e.g. Olympia's SG1) have touch regulators that allow you to tune the amount of force required. However, you might actually better be served with an electric typewriter. They usually have much lighter touch than manual typewriters (note electric does not mean electronic, that's something entirely different with typewriters).


23-7-2018 16:19:45  #3

Re: Manual typewriter with lightest touch/shortest key throw?

My first question would be to determine who had 'reconditioned' the typewriter, and what exactly was the scope of work performed. There are a great number of typewriter sellers out there who make ridiculous claims when it comes to the condition of the machine they're selling, and who also consider a cursory cleaning to be something that qualifies as reconditioning. Given that a Hermes ultra-portable has a fairly light touch, and in no way should require "force" or "vigorous mashing" to use, it sounds like this particular example is in need of service, because the OP's description of its type action is not reflective of how the typewriter would have originally performed.

Stay Safe! 

23-7-2018 18:14:04  #4

Re: Manual typewriter with lightest touch/shortest key throw?

Uwe, I'm sure you have noticed also that it is very common for posters these days to heavily dramatize their experiences, declaring that they must "hammer the keys", "pound on" them, or "mash" them when working on their "beasts" and "tanks". Whether this is due to their unrealistic expectations or their need for drama, it does make it hard to diagnose the complaints. Your analysis of questionable condition of the typewriter is right up there with people's making unfamiliar comparisons with computer keyboards. Do you have any advice to calm me down about this?


24-7-2018 13:04:05  #5

Re: Manual typewriter with lightest touch/shortest key throw?

Is there any study out there that measured the force required to get (reasonably) dark characters on a page for a wide range of manual typewriters from over the decades? If so, I'm just curious which one(s) had the lowest force requirements, assuming each is in optimal working condition.

Anecdotal evidence is sketchy at best because of the subjectivity of the "typing experience". But given that actual numbers are probably not available, anecdotal data is all we have to go on. I'm wondering if there is a consensus to be found (i.e., a particular model or two), and if so, what it is.

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