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09-4-2020 23:59:09  #1

Nakajima Manual Typewriters

Greetings All

The Olympia B-12, the Olympia Carina 2 and the TA Organization Royal Express are all the same basic Nakajima manual typewriter under the bodywork. Does anyone know if Nakajima actually marketed this manual typewriter under their own brand name? The new Royal Classic Typewriter and the American Crafts We-R-Memory Keepers typewriters appear to be Chinese clones of this same Nakajima chassis, but with plastic type slugs. If anyone has any information on this, I would be very interested. Thanks and all the best,



10-4-2020 04:13:42  #2

Re: Nakajima Manual Typewriters

In the Northern hemisphere at least, Nakajima were like the brown sauce factory that made products for various supermarkets to sell under their own names with slightly different recipes, but never sold any under their own name.  As well as selling under the Olympia and Adler names, they were also sold in Europe as Hermes.  Smith Corona even sold some of the early Nakajima electronic typewriters as their own.  However, I understand that in Australia at least, Nakajima sold the large manual portable as 'Nakajima All', or just as 'All', as well as under different local brand names.  The Chinese Nakajima clones were a result of Nakajima selling off the tooling after they had finished with it, and then degrading the machine to the point of being little more than a toy.  The earlier Chinese clones did actually have steel typeface.  I think the same thing is about to happen with the Nakajima electronic typewriters and they will pop up again as Chinese products.  If I am correct - you read it here first !


10-4-2020 10:55:30  #3

Re: Nakajima Manual Typewriters

I believe that Nakajima's history is a parallel to Brother's. Both rose during the '60s and were a significant part of the Japanese wave that forever changed the typewriter manufacturing landscape. Both companies also offered private label production; when the long-established manufacturers couldn't compete with the Japanese prices they adopted the "if you can't beat them, join them" approach. 

As Tom noted, Nakajima did sell some models under its own brand name. Whether it was because of a contractual obligation to the other manufacturers it produced models for, or some other distribution reason, it seems that very few of these Nakajima branded models ended up in our neck of the woods.

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