With the end of World War Two, Royal starts up “A” and “C” Model production right where they left off in 1941. The 1946 “Quiet De Luxe” and war-hero “Arrow” models are snapped up by a typewriter-starved public, and you can have any color you want, as long as it’s black. The middle-market “Aristocrat”, un-needed in the high-demand seller’s market of the late 40’s and early 50’s, doesn’t make a comeback until 1956.
In 1947, not much changes. The “A” and “C” Models are flying off the shelves, but Royal decides it’s time for another masque update. They commission Henry Dreyfuss to design a new shell. The result is what I think of as the most attractive of the Royal Portables: the 1948 “Tuxedo Model” with glass tombstone keytops. Dreyfuss’ design is also executed in gold plated models with either light grey crinkle or black enamel offset colors. I’ve read in several places that this was done to celebrate Royal’s Golden Jubilee, but that happened in 1954, so I don’t know how you could explain them appearing as early as 1948 by that logic. Instead, I believe these were just special presentation models, and they are often engraved with the owner’s name on the back plate.
On a personal note, the ’48 QDL was the $4.95 typewriter I found at a thrift store in the 90’s that started me on my collecting path, and I can’t think of any machine that could set the hook deeper, iykwim.
The “Tuxedo Model” only lasted a little over a year, classy as it was. Early in 1949 the two-tone paint is changed to a monotone, lighter grey and a chrome strip is added to the front to break up the monotony. On a plus note, the gold-plated presentation model continues.
At the end of 1950. the shell is changed again with a wider opening in the ribbon cover and “winged” chrome accents around the levers. The front chrome strip is removed and the tombstone keytops are now plain plastic, except on certain special-order and foreign keyboards, where the glass keys are retained. The Model prefix is changed to “AG”. Gold presentation models are also changed to the new body style, and seem to continue at least until 1953. If they lasted to ’54, that might be where the “Golden Jubilee” legend comes from, or Royal may have just utilized what they already had on hand to create a Jubilee Model.
The design stabilizes through 1952, with subdued earthtone colors and green or grey plastic keys. In 1953, the chrome “winged” accents are removed and the levers re-arranged. A ribbon cover release button is added. The serial prefix is changed again, to “RA”. This is about the ugliest the QDL ever gets.
The serial prefix changes again, but this time it’s “Ax”, where “x” represents the color scheme. But before we head into the new colorful era of the QDL, let’s do a quick recap of the decade’s “C” Model “Arrows”:
The budget “C” Model seems to have been far less popular than the “A” Model in post-war America, and by 1950 the Royal “Arrow” is discontinued again, leaving only the Quiet De Luxe to rule the Royal Portable bullpen until the fateful year of 1956. Stay tuned tomorrow for part 4: “The Colorful End of the QDL, and What it Became”.