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01-11-2019 06:34:58  #1

Sound level comparison of 8 "newer" mechanical typewriters

Today I compared the sound levels of eight portable typewriters (the distance of the sound level meter to the typwriter was about 15 cm):

Underwood 310 (identical to Olivetti Dora), about 1977
Sound level when typing: 76 to 80 dB(A)

Olympia Regina de Luxe (similar to Erika 105), about 1985
Sound level when typing: 77 to 81 dB(A)

Privileg 350 (identical to Olivetti Lettera 92), about 1980(?)
Sound level when typing: 77 to 81 dB(A)

Hermes portable (identical to Royal Topia), about 1980(?)
Sound level when typing: 77 to 83 dB(A)

TA contessa 2 deluxe (identical to Maritsa 30), about 1985(?)
Sound level when typing: 78 to 82 dB(A)

Privileg 180TR (identical to Royal Safari III), about 1990(?)
Sound level when typing: 78 to 83 dB(A)

Adler Junior 12 long carriage (similar to Olympia Carina 2), about 1985
Sound level when typing: 78 to 85 dB(A)

Sperry-Remington 1020 (identical to Silver-Reed Silverette II), about 1975(?)
Sound level when typing: 79 to 86 dB(A)

So in this comparison Underwood 310 is the most silent one. In my opinion, the Underwood also has the most pleasant typing experience.

If you are interested, here is the video of the comparison:


01-11-2019 11:11:55  #2

Re: Sound level comparison of 8 "newer" mechanical typewriters

Hi Andrew

Very interesting video. This gives a base line for these machines when typing on a hard surface. I would like to see this experiment repeated with a vibration absorbing pad under each machine as it's tested. Judging by the keyboard layout, I'd say you're probably in Western Europe. Go to your local sports and fitness store and buy a cheap yoga mat. Cut a 35cm square from the mat and place it under each typewriter in turn as you repeat the test. It will be interesting to see just how much the sound level is reduced when using a mat. All the best,



02-11-2019 02:50:50  #3

Re: Sound level comparison of 8 "newer" mechanical typewriters

Hello Sky, thank you for your feedback. That's an interesting suggestion!

     Thread Starter

02-11-2019 12:18:45  #4

Re: Sound level comparison of 8 "newer" mechanical typewriters

You can't really compare sound levels without measuring and factoring in the hardness of each machine's platen. If you were to compare two identical typewriters, one with a rock-hard platen and the other with a platen that has fresh rubber, you would immediately hear the difference the platen makes to a machine's sound.

I'd also argue that the overall condition of each typewriter has to be a part of the discussion. There are a number of components that contribute to the amount of noise a typewriter makes, and if some are worn or missing the test really isn't indicative of that particular make and model.

Sound levels are tough comparisons to make, one that would have been easier and more conclusive when all of the machines were brand new in from-the-factory condition. In your comparison, it can only be claimed that your particular Underwood 310 is less noisy than your other typewriters. Another collector could compare the same group of machines and find it's a different model that is the quietest of the bunch.

Stay Safe! 

03-11-2019 02:12:04  #5

Re: Sound level comparison of 8 "newer" mechanical typewriters

Hallo Uwe, thanks for the feedback. Yes, I wanted to know which of my typewriters (in the actual condition) is really the most silent - that was why I recorded this video.

Many years ago, we used so-called platen savers (in German "Walzenschoner"). Exactly matching plastic films that were placed underneath the paper during typing. Unfortunately you can not buy them anymore.

     Thread Starter

03-11-2019 11:18:41  #6

Re: Sound level comparison of 8 "newer" mechanical typewriters

I recall others here mentioning those backing sheets made of a plastic-like film, and experimenting with similar materials that are available today. As you can imagine, the platen hardness subject is one that is often revisited here. I've had good success using rubber rejuvenator spray, and of course I always use a paper backing sheet - or two - both of which help to reduce the sound level of a machine.

Stay Safe! 

04-11-2019 00:01:10  #7

Re: Sound level comparison of 8 "newer" mechanical typewriters

Hi Again Andrew

To go along with Uwe's comment about platen hardness making a difference to sound level, I can attest to this first hand. I have a 1938 Remington Bantam that had a rock hard platen. While typing, the type slugs made a hard sharp clack as they struck the paper on the platen. Just for the sake of interest, I sent the Bantam platen along with another (1936 Imperial Good Companion) platen to JJ Short to be re-covered. When I installed and tried the re-covered platen on the Bantam, I was impressed. Not only did the machine now feed the paper evenly and squarely, the sound level of the machine dropped considerably. Now the type slugs make a dull thud as they strike the platen. Hope this gives you a little more to work with. All the best,



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