Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Triumph Tippa Brown Portable Manual Typewriter (1950s)
I believe this Triumph Tippa was manufactured sometime in the late '50s, pretty soon after Triumph acquired the license to build the original Gossen Tippa. This model is virtually identical to the Gossen Tippa, which has been exhaustively documented on Will Davis' site. I rather like the maroon color of his, but this shade of brown is not too bad either.
While we acquired this typewriter in Switzerland, it is evident that it originally came from Germany. Typewriters from the German market usually have an uppercase U with umlauts after qwertzuiop, while those for the Swiss market have a lowercase u with umlauts (ü) /e with accent aigue (é). While the effect is still "qwertzuiopü", the added é makes it more French language friendly.
As can be seen from the side profile, this is a fairly flat machine, although the bottom and case give it an additional footprint. I do wish it was more closely fitted to the machine, however. The gull-wing ribbon covers are more subtle than those found on the Hermes Baby, and I attribute this to the chrome trim which conceals the hinge. I imagine this elegant design was highly prized in the 50s, and I would say it still retains much of its aesthetic appeal.
This particular specimen came to us rather well preserved, with the manual and key. The document flap inside the top cover of the case is color-coordinated with the keytops and indeed the rest of the machine.
In terms of font, the Triumph Tippa has a very readable 10-characters-per-inch Pica. The typing action is very good - the keys do not need much urging, and the carriage moves quickly to keep up. I suspect our platen is particularly hard because the type slugs thwack rather loudly, but this is improved by using a second sheet as backing. I'm not sure if we'll ever get around to restoring any of our platens, as the process is quite costly here. This Tippa would be a good candidate, though.
While it may not get as much use as our various Hermes machines, this typewriter scores high with me for its good looks. I feel the case is quite sturdy and the handle can comfortably carry the weight of the machine, while the sliding metal handle of a Hermes Baby does not inspire much confidence at all. If I had to bring only one machine to a typewriter show-and-tell, this sleek and stylish Tippa just might be it.
(Post edited on 28.7.10 to replace the pictures with less over-exposed ones!)