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23-4-2020 16:50:41  #1


Interesting keyboard layout

Hi all,

I have an Erika S with a German QWERTZ keyboard.
But the text on the shift keys etcetera is Romanian.
The keyboard also has a Dutch IJ-key and a Florin currency key.
On the right side at the bottom row, is a dedicated Ó-key.

Any ideas about this keyboard? The only one I can think of, is that it is customized for someone who needed to type in two languages...

Lau

https://www.laurenzvangaalen.nl/public/erika-s-keyboard.jpg

 

 

24-4-2020 10:09:18  #2


Re: Interesting keyboard layout

Very neat. Can you post a full type sample? And a close up photo of a few slugs (in particular the Dutch characters)? Are there any markings on its case, dealer badges, etc., which might provide more background? Did you buy it in the Netherlands?

Given the age of that model, one likely produced during the war, there are many possible explanations for its keyboard. The two Dutch characters might have been added to the machine after the war by a subsequent owner, and during a time when typewriters were in short supply and many military-owned models were repurposed by civilians. 


Stay Safe! 
 

24-4-2020 11:53:44  #3


Re: Interesting keyboard layout

Hi Uwe,

I am cleaning the machine right now, as soon as I am finished I will post a full type sample + some additional images.

The machine was built in 1942. I got the machine from an old man in The Netherlands. The machine was long in his posession, he only recalls someone else had given the machine to him long ago.

The machine has no case or documentation. I haven't found any dealer badges on the machine itself.

Lau

     Thread Starter
 

25-4-2020 03:54:13  #4


Re: Interesting keyboard layout

Cleaning the machine will take more time. Because I removed the platen, I am not able to provide a type sample anytime soon.

Below two close ups of the type slugs. The only thing that stands out to me is the back of some of the kyes has solder marks. They are the only one with marks, all the other keys have a neat back.

https://www.laurenzvangaalen.nl/public/erika-s-type-slugs-1.jpg


https://www.laurenzvangaalen.nl/public/erika-s-type-slugs-2.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

25-4-2020 04:06:22  #5


Re: Interesting keyboard layout

The 'solder marks' might be a clue to the machine having been converted from another keyboard.  Those marks indicate that the type has been changed or resoldered by a typewriter mechanic.  The flat type solders would have been done by the original manufacturers of the machine.

 

25-4-2020 12:30:50  #6


Re: Interesting keyboard layout

It confirms my guess that the typewriter had been modified, and based on the even patina of the keys and legends, the work was done not long after it had been manufactured. 

Romania was an ally of Germany during the war, and since there would have been a lot of communication between the two countries it's not too surprising to find a German-made typewriter, with a German keyboard that features Romanian labels.

The question is, how did it end up in the Netherlands? That's something that will likely never be determined, but also not a surprise given the circumstances during that period.

It's a great find, with a less-common history. https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/cool.png
 I'm looking forward to seeing the type sample when you have it all back together.


Stay Safe! 
 

25-4-2020 15:21:34  #7


Re: Interesting keyboard layout

I also thought about the fact that the Romanians were part of the Axis-forces. I did a little search on google and the TWDB for German and Romanian QWERTZ keyboards. My Erika does not have a 'standard' German QWERTZ keyboard. It is missing two characters, the ä and ß, and the ö and ü are placed in the top-row. The keyboard is also not Romanian.

So this Erika seems to have a custom built keyboard. Shortly after leaving the factory it was re-typed. This was done by a person who had access to the original labels for under the glass keys (they all have the same design and are made from the same material). It looks the machine was retyped for Dutch with the IJ-key and Florin-key. See the image below for the re-typed keys.

https://www.laurenzvangaalen.nl/public/erika-s-keyboard-retyped.jpg


Note: the / on the 6-key and Florin-key are the same.
Weird: the ó-key for only a lowercase ó.

I've contacted the previous owner again, he recalls he got the typewriter around 1975-76, most likely in Scheveningen (near The Hague).

I think this is all we will ever know about this machine. I am done cleaning it, see the picture below. It is a very interesting machine, when I have it in working condition I will post my thoughts about it.

Thanks for the help,
Lau

https://www.laurenzvangaalen.nl/public/erika-s-cleaned.jpg





 

     Thread Starter
 

25-4-2020 15:35:51  #8


Re: Interesting keyboard layout

Maybe it is also possible the machine was re-typed much later (after the second world war) and that the typewriter mechanic relabeled all the keys. Maybe they could be ordered from S&N

     Thread Starter
 

26-4-2020 12:54:15  #9


Re: Interesting keyboard layout

I still think that it was modified post-war. The S model was manufactured until 1948, so parts (key legends and slugs) could have been obtained. However, Erika fell under communist rule after the war and I wonder what the availability of the parts was like after 1949 when government control of the factory began. 

I also don't believe that the keyset on the machine was custom made. There isn't just one German keyboard layout, there are many variants, especially with multilingual type options (accent keys), I've seen other Erika models with the ö and ü keys in the top row. The company produced machines for many different languages and it's not rare to find Erika models with Cyrillic or Greek keyboards.

Regarding your comments about the paint that you made in another thread, it's very possible that the red/brown is actually oxidation and dirt (often cigarette smoke). I've cleaned many black cases from that period, and although it takes a very long time when you do it carefully, that layer of filth on top of the black paint can be removed.


Stay Safe! 
 

26-4-2020 13:48:47  #10


Re: Interesting keyboard layout

Hi Uwe,

I think you are right about the keyboard modification. Thanks for clearing that up.

I have little experience about te keyboard layouts, but I find it odd the ß and ä are missing. As far as I know they are important in the German language. I know the ß can be substituted with a double s, but I am not aware of a substitution for the ä. I have looked at (modern) QWERTZ keyboards other then German, and they all have a lot of characters this keyboard is missing, commonly these accents: ´ and ˘ and ˇ. That made me believe this keyboard is custom built.

Interesting point about the brown color, so much to learn!

Lau

     Thread Starter
 

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