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23-6-2021 01:22:47  #1


Unusual Keyboard Layout

Greetings All

Browsing through eBay las night and came across an interesting Groma Kolibri typewriter with a very unusual keyboard layout. Take a look at eBay item # 164925641699 and see if anyone can identify this layout. All the best,

Sky


We humans go through many computers in our lives, but in their lives, typewriters go through many of us.
In that way, they’re like violins, like ancestral swords. So I use mine with honor and treat them with respect.
I try to leave them in better condition than I met them. I am not their first user, nor will I be their last.
Frederic S. Durbin. (Typewriter mania and the modern writer)
 

23-6-2021 07:37:44  #2


Re: Unusual Keyboard Layout

Here is one of the photos off of eBay :
.https://i.imgur.com/urlUggZ.jpg

 

23-6-2021 08:18:27  #3


Re: Unusual Keyboard Layout

Fascinating. It looks to be straight English as there are no diacritics available.
Phil Forrest

 

23-6-2021 10:49:20  #4


Re: Unusual Keyboard Layout

It appears to be in alphabetical order, in columns from the center out, with A-K on the right hand and L-Z on the left.

 

23-6-2021 20:29:18  #5


Re: Unusual Keyboard Layout

Greetings Again

The keyboard is definitely in alphabetical order and does actually make sense if you print off a picture and imagine typing on the keys. How prone to type bar jamming this configuration would be, I have no idea. However, I have been in touch with Theodore Munk of The Typewriter Database and he figures this was either a special order from the factory, or has been modified by a competent typewriter repair shop.

The only key that might be seen as special is the degree over exclamation point where the figure one key would normally reside. I'll check back with Greg to see if he has any provenance for this machine. All the best,

Sky


We humans go through many computers in our lives, but in their lives, typewriters go through many of us.
In that way, they’re like violins, like ancestral swords. So I use mine with honor and treat them with respect.
I try to leave them in better condition than I met them. I am not their first user, nor will I be their last.
Frederic S. Durbin. (Typewriter mania and the modern writer)
     Thread Starter
 

24-6-2021 04:07:07  #6


Re: Unusual Keyboard Layout

skywatcher wrote:

The only key that might be seen as special is the degree over exclamation point where the figure one key would normally reside. I'll check back with Greg to see if he has any provenance for this machine. Sky

I have seen a few Kolibri's with the degree/exclamation point key. JVC's Kolibri has it, and a few others on the TWDB too.


 

 

24-6-2021 08:19:53  #7


Re: Unusual Keyboard Layout

Laurenz van Gaalen wrote:

I have seen a few Kolibri's with the degree/exclamation point key.

I agree, there's nothing uncommon about that; I have at least two Gromas with that particular slug.

As for the layout, its important to remember that we're talking about a 60+ year-old machine that potentially had many owners, and could have - for fun, experiment, or special need - been altered. It would be interesting to see a detail photo of the slugs themselves because too often its assumed by contemporary buyers that a typewriter is exactly as it was when it left the factory, and that all of its parts are still original. 

I would never assume that Groma produced this layout. Yes, it's possible that it was a special factory order, but it's just as likely that someone else could have made those changes. Take for example the number of typewriters that are being altered today (often with garish paint jobs). In the case of modifications that are actually professional in quality, will someone in fifty years assume those typewriters to be examples of "super rare" factory models?  

Oddities such as this keyboard layout are lots of fun to explore, but my experience with typewriter collecting and collectors is that many investigate the history of a machine without factoring in that each machine has its own unique history.

 

24-6-2021 15:34:44  #8


Re: Unusual Keyboard Layout

Hi Once Again

That's interesting, I was not aware that Groma Kolibri had the degree over exclamation point as a fairly common key. I messaged Greg last night asking if he could get a good close-up or two of the soldered joints between the type bars and the slugs. With the unit having injection molded keys, a good typewriter repair shop back in the 1960's or 1970's with the right equipment (soldering jig and alcohol torch) would not have much trouble rearranging the slugs and keys. It would just take some skill and a lot of patience. All the best,

Sky


We humans go through many computers in our lives, but in their lives, typewriters go through many of us.
In that way, they’re like violins, like ancestral swords. So I use mine with honor and treat them with respect.
I try to leave them in better condition than I met them. I am not their first user, nor will I be their last.
Frederic S. Durbin. (Typewriter mania and the modern writer)
     Thread Starter
 

24-6-2021 18:48:27  #9


Re: Unusual Keyboard Layout

I try to envision myself sitting down to this machine, placing my hands in typing-position and then, mentally, I just freeze up.

I am not a true touch-typist, as not all my digits on both hands are used...but I type fast and well enough not to have to look down at my keys.

And I can just keep an eye out on the ink going down on paper or over to a document along the side the machine which I am copying/transcribing.

Typing on this machine would just have me "freeze" in place.  I would not know how to start.

Plus I think it would be a hard machine to re-sell...if/when the need arises.

 

24-6-2021 20:36:24  #10


Re: Unusual Keyboard Layout

Hi Pete

If one has only ever known the Sholes keymap for any form of keyboarding, I can see the idea of this one being totally confusing. When my first wife was trying to teach me to type, I would get so frustrated with what seemed to me to be a completely illogical key layout that I just gave up. Once we learned about the Dvorak keymap and that the keymap was already programmed into the Windows 98 keyboard languages, I bought a low cost computer keyboard and reconfigured the keys to the Dvorak keymap. My typing speed went from 15 wpm to 45 wpm in 2 weeks.

I continued using the Dvorak keymap on my computer for close to 11 years, it just made sense to me. Once I got bitten by the typewriter bug and had learned why the Sholes keymap was the way it was and that it was built into every mechanical typewriter, I was able to accept it and work with it. When my old computer finally crashed, I left my new unit with the Sholes keymap as I was getting confused going between computer and typewriters.

I did hear back from Greg, he says the soldered joints were one of the first things he checked. Greg says they all look pristine as if direct from factory. Therefore, this unit could have been a special order direct from the factory. However, there is no paperwork with the unit to back this up, if there was, it would have been on the original sales receipt from 60+ years ago. With that, all we can do is to guess and speculate. All the best,

Sky


We humans go through many computers in our lives, but in their lives, typewriters go through many of us.
In that way, they’re like violins, like ancestral swords. So I use mine with honor and treat them with respect.
I try to leave them in better condition than I met them. I am not their first user, nor will I be their last.
Frederic S. Durbin. (Typewriter mania and the modern writer)
     Thread Starter
 

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