Unraveling the Royal Quiet De Luxe – Part 5: Reprise – The End of the Royal “A” Model?

In part 4 of this series, I guessed the appearance of the Silver-Seikos and Adlers in Royal’s lineup in 1970 to be the death knell for the Portugese Sabres. This turns out to not be the end of the story after all. In the comments, Mr. Royal himself Nick Bodemer mentions that he’s seen advertisements for the Sabre and Custom IV in ads dating up until about 1984 (roughly when most of the major manufacturers gave up on portable manuals), so the venerable Model “A” continued up to the advent of laptop computers. Additionally, if we can imagine the Sabre being produced from 1968 to 1984, we suddenly find ourselves with a contender for the longest-running unchanged model in the Royal lineup. :D

But, that deserves more research. I suppose we really don’t know the end of the line of the “A” Model Royal, but finding out will be fun. Another thought exercise you might try is to wonder what happened to the “A” Model manufacturing tooling after 1984. Clearly Royal had no use for it – they never made another manual portable of that design again. Was the tooling scrapped? .. or was it sold off to another concern somewhere in Portugal or Spain? Could there be a locally-produced and marketed machine made somewhere in those countries in the 1980’s with deep mechanical roots in the Royal “A” Model? Who knows until we look. And that’s another part of the fun – pondering what might have happened and then finding out “oh yes, that *did* happen” or “No, *that* didn’t happen, but *this* did”,  –all a part of the puzzle we’re putting together.

The Royal Portables in 5 parts:

Unraveling the Royal Quiet De Luxe – Part 1: Ancestry (Model P, O and B)

Unraveling the Royal Quiet De Luxe – Part 2: Birth of the QDL (and siblings)

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

Unraveling the Royal Quiet De Luxe – Part 4: The Colorful End of the QDL, and What it Became

Unraveling the Royal Quiet De Luxe – Part 5: Reprise – The End of the Royal “A” Model?

Updated: January 28, 2018 — 3:07 pm


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  1. It’s nice to imagine the Royal portable, exhausted but proud, handing the torch to the Apple Macintosh in 1984.

    1. Certainly proud. As far as I’ve seen just handling the one Sabre I have, the Portugese factory put out a real good machine. The history of manufacture throughout and beyond the mid 80’s is still blurry. seems like most manufacturers put their eggs in the SSR basket when Brother finally gave up on portable manual production around 1987. What happened when the SSR collapsed in 1990 and those factories presumably lost state sponsorship? more fun questions to examine! (:

  2. I see from online advertising that “Royal”– and I’m assuming this is a descendant of the venerable Royal company–is still manufacturing brand new, metal, portable typewriters in vibrant colors. I’m wondering if they’re using the tooling or engineering of the classic machines. It seems these machines are the best-reviewed of the portable manuals still manufactured. Apparently there’s still a market for a few brand new machines. I had thought that this sort of machine was long gone.

    1. Royal only exists as a brand now. The new typewriters are produced in China on old Nakajima tooling. So, the new machines are made on a Japanese design from the late 60’s, but are made of very poor quality materials. A brand new one will go out of adjustment almost as soon as you take it out of the box. :P

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