Unraveling the Royal Quiet De Luxe – Part 3: The Post-War Royal Portables (A, B and C Models)

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.

royal_model_a-3In 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.

royal_model_a-4The “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.

royal_model_a-5At 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.

royal_model_a-6The 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.

royal_model_a-7A hint of blue in 1955 announces a big change though – Late in 1955, Royal spruces up the line with new, smooth, shiny and colorful paint jobs, just in time for Christmas:

1955+pink+portable1The 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”:

royal-model-c-2The 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”.

Updated: June 29, 2015 — 9:57 am


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  1. Good point about the postwar “typewriter-starved public.” In my community service as typewriter repairman, I find that I keep seeing 1948 Royals, 1949 Underwoods, etc. They were selling like hotcakes.

  2. What a Royal family! I’m sure one of these is coming my way…. :)

  3. A very interesting read – I look forward to Part 4.

  4. Hi Mr Munk,

    Thank you for this wonderful article.

    I have a Royal Keystone typewriter made in Canada.

    I could find no mention of it in your article. It appears to be a QD without some of he features I.e the carriage speed. Do you know anything about the rarity of thie keystone? model, dates of manufacture, locations, at all? There is hardly any mention on the Internet at all about it.


    Richard in England

    1. serial prefix “B” maybe? Keystone is the name used in the 50’s for the B model (second tier, behind QDL). In previous (and later) years, the B model was called “Aristocrat”, “Speed King” and “Keystone” depending on whatever marketing seemed to work. They are uncommon (as are “Speed Kings”) because the model name was only used for a few years, but it’s the same machine as any other B Model Royal.

  5. Any idea what number they stopped at in 1943? I just picked up an A-1157614 in decent shape.

    1. Nope, wartime records are vague. It wasn’t that long ago we thought the only portables produced in 1943 were the grey arrow Navy Mills. Since then we’ve seen a couple civvie portables from then. It’s still thought that there aren’t many. (:

    2. Hi, Chris:

      Just came across this posting. I have a 1943 QDL in black. Serial #1158378.
      I assume it was produced very shortly before Royal switched over to wartime


  6. This one’s black. I’m guessing it was one of the last civilian ones, just curious where it fell. Thanks!

  7. It appears that in 1954 Royal had a Royal Jubilee contest for Royal sales people because there is currently a Royal Gold portable on eBay with a gold plaque stating that. The dates make sense with that year also. I ciurrently have a 1953 Royal Gold portable and the one on eBay that is a 1954 model is slightly different with a knob on the side. Mine is identical to the Ian Fleming model. Cary.mark@me.com

    1. Interesting. the one with the speed control knob on the side would be an “RA” prefix model. appropriate for 1954.

  8. Great information. I have a QDL serial number A-1943585 made in Canada. I can’t find it on the data base and am interested to find out more about it.


  9. Definitely great information. I have an oddity, a QDL serial #A2133107 marked as made in Canada, but it has German umlaut key instead of the @/cent key. Original green/grey case with red inside. In family for many years. Unable to find any info on this. Any thoughts?


    1. STOP SHOUTING! IT’S 1947!

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