Whew! I’ve finally finished updating and correcting the TW-DB numbers for Royal, and what a mess that was. Pretty much all of the dates were wrong – at least a year off, and sometimes more in some cases. I suspect that most of it probably came from a typo that Mr. Schumann might have made in his spreadsheet, as I found some instances where years were simply skipped. Could be he originally had fairly close numbers and the date column got misaligned. In any case, it’s fixed. (:
The sources that Mr Schumann used to compile the Royal list are mostly unavailable to me, so I could not check to see if the original source was off or if the data was simply transcribed incorrectly. If anyone has copies of these sources, I’d like to check them just to verify:
“Fabriknummernverzeichnis” (Factory number Listing), booklet which could be purchased optionally with book reference No. 4, edition 1941, publ. by Johannes Meyer Verlag, Pappenheim 1941
Ernst Martin, Die Schreibmaschine und ihre Entwicklungsgeschichte(The Typewriter and the history of it’s developement), publ. by Johannes Meyer Verlag and Basten International, 1920 to 1949 and reprints
Office Typewriter Age List No. 26, publ. by Smith-Corona, by courtesy of Mr. Ron Fuller, Los Angeles, USA
Typewriter Age Guide, publ. by Office Machines and Equipment Federation, London, copies contributed by Mr. Bruce Beard, Australia
If you have copies, please let me know how I can get ahold of at least the age list tables – I’d appreciate it.
The sources I do have access to all agree almost exactly as to the serial numbers and dates, and that was a pleasant surprise. I expected more variance, but once I compared them all side-by-side, I found them matching up with each other with almost perfect precision. That gave me a great deal of confidence that I was on the right track, and over the past year I’ve been using these numbers to date quite a few machines I’ve encountered and that have been asked about in the typosphere. Invariably, these lists produced dates that made sense considering what we know about body styles and features we should expect for certain years on certain machines – again, a good clue that TW-DB was just off track and that these contemporary sources were much better and more accurate.
In the end, I was able to make use of *ALL* the contemporary sources I had access to, without more than a couple variances. Here they are:
Beeching, which is also one of the sources that Mr. Schumann used, is generally vague and probably not entirely accurate, but is the only source we currently have for later-model Royal Portables like the Safari and Royalite. In those cases where we have no other source to confirm or deny Beeching’s numbers, I’ve let them stand. It would be nice to have more recent and reliable data for these later-model Royal Portables, and that’s on my wish list.
The best and most clear data for older Royal Portables exists only in these two pages gleaned from Bill Wahl’s collection of NOMDA (National Office Machine Dealer Association) line books from the early 1960’s. All of the other sources either completely ignore portables, or only run the first column of numbers for the higher-end portables and ignore the lower end portables in the second column. This had previously led to a lot of people dating 1920’s machines as being made in the 30’s, and then being a couple of years off in addition due to TW-DB’s year-shift problem. This is where I started – basically wiping out the entire Portables section and replacing it with these NOMDA numbers. Sadly, they end at 1959, and we could use data for 1960 to the 1970’s.
The NOMDA lists above, all provided by Bill Wahl of Mesa Typewriter Exchange, list Royal Standards and Electics in different pages and columns, but the number series between the two are practically identical. For the purposes of the Typewriter Database, I decided to group all standards and electrics together with a note to the effect that very early electrics were numbered to 16M then they switch to the same serial number series as standards. (16 thousand – “M” stands for “Mille” not “Million”, and “Mille” is latin or french or whatever for “Thousand”. This is something I know only because I spent a lot of time in the printing industry. anyway, anywhere you see “M” in these lists, you can substitute 3 zeros, “000”.)
The 4 pages above, supplied by Richard Polt, are from a larger package of data from the Remington factory, and is apparently from the records kept by Remington on their rivals. It too, is highly accurate and detailed, and mentions specifically that the Electrics followed the same serial number series as Standards. It agrees in nearly every detail with the NOMDA Lists, but expands on that data by offering many more details about specific models. This was invaluable in correcting the weird notes in the Standards section of TW-DB which were apparently gleaned from Beeching. Beeching tells you to treat certain “Y” prefix machines as if they came from earlier runs. The Remington notes explain why and state much more clearly how the rebuilt “Y” prefix machines should be treated date-wise.
The line lists shown above, provided by the Davis brothers and hosted here at MOLG, served mainly as confirmation of the lists already mentioned. It was very nice to have them line up so nicely with the other data.
Other validating data was examined from here at MOLG. This list also states specifically that Royal Electrics and Standards were in the same serial number series.
All of the above data from NOMDA, REMINGTON and the alternate lists directly contradicted the entire date range that TW-DB had listed for Standards, so I ended up ripping that ENTIRE section out as well and rebuilding it. The sources above also had a much more complete date range, once you compiled them together, so it worked out pretty nicely.
Therefore, if you dated your Royal *anything* with TW-DB before today, you most likely have an inaccurate date, possibly only by a year, but very likely more. I suggest re-dating all of your Royals according to the new list.
Questions, comments, suggestions, new data? Comment below: