Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Antares Annabella Manual Portable Typewriter (1960s)

March is here! My very favorite month of the year - snow melting, spring arriving, days lengthening, and a birthday! (*hintmoredetailsoncontactmepageendhint*) So, what better time to feature a bright, cheery typewriter? After ogling Richard's parade of pretty Sad Face Vosses (a misnomer if ever there was one), I would like to add this Annabella to the cotillion of fetching two-tone typewriters.

The Annabella is not a particularly rare machine; it appears to be a version of an existing Antares typewriter produced in this color scheme for the German market (I've only ever seen it on German eBay and with a German keyboard so far). David and Georg both have Annabellas, and I could only stare at their pictures for so long before going off on a quest of my own. I was hesitant to order from Germany, what with the troubles of international shipping, and when this appeared on a local Swiss website... well, it was destiny. I wonder whether that bidding war was destiny too...

An ad for the Italian version of the typewriter. Also, Georg has kindly put up a photo set on Flickr comparing the Annabella to another Antares portable of the same era - while they are slightly different externally, the mechanism is exactly the same. A comparison of the Antares Parva with the Annabella reveals many design similarities as well.

(The lever on the side changes the direction of the ribbon.) I used to have a typewriter quite similar to this, an Underwood 19. It was... eh, just ok. It typed well enough, but the key tops were made of a hard plastic that rattled in an unnerving manner and felt rather flimsy. It was unremarkable in every way, a beige plastic, carriage shifted, little mouse of a typewriter - with the one redeeming feature being its incredibly slim profile.

This is one of a few typewriters, like the Rooy, that I bought just so I could have one and look at it. In that respect, it works perfectly well! It spends all day in its cozy case, and occasionally comes out for a photo shoot. I acquired this knowing that it would have many of the features that I found less than convenient in the Underwood 19, including rattly key tops and carriage shift, but the all-metal body and stunning color scheme more than made up for it, so I forged ahead anyway.

Look at those cute rabbit-eared paper fingers! Reminds me of nothing so much as Pikachu...
I haven't gotten around to making a type sample, but I shall add this into my typewriter rotation so you should be seeing a typecast from it soon. In any case, it's a continental elite typeface, 11 characters per inch. And finally, the case, which is very similar to that of the Lettera 22, and is just as handbag-like:

6 comments:

  1. I have one of these and also love it for its looks.

    Misnomer, eh? Surely typewriters have faces, and this one is a Happy Face Typewriter if there ever was one! Just look at that big lipsticked grin on the ribbon cover.

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  2. Beautiful machine, Adwoa! It seems that virtuall all Annabellas sold in the German market had this dark red/ivory scheme I find so attractive.
    Btw, watch your booth: the ribbons should arrive at any moment...

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  3. Congratulations on this find! Documentation on Antares machines could help to shed some more light on the hitherto not so well documented company and production history. I will have a look in persona at our upcoming type-in!

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  4. I wish Switzerland was closer (at least by the Pyrenees...), for I would love to participate in your type-in! As for the Antares machines, Georg, I will soon provide data about two similar machines (the "normal" Annabella and a variation that seems to have been marketed only in Italy, Austria and Germany).

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  5. @Richard - Ok, fine, I sort of see it. Especially with those ears perked up! Hilarious comment about the lipstick; now I'm always going to think of that when I use the Annabella (fitting!).

    @Ruy -Indeed, I'm not sure whether Antares sold this exact color scheme in the native Italian market. I look forward to seeing/ reading about the rare Annabella variant! We shall miss you at the type-in, details of which are to be determined...

    @Georg - That's one way to get serial number information! Come and hunt for it in person :-)

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  6. I have a Parva on the way with an English/Spanish keyboard layout.

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