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

Ahh, the Royal Quiet De Luxe, AKA the “QDL” or the “Model A”. It’s the most popular typewriter among the TWDB’s Typewriter Hunter members by the number of galleries entered (100+ so far). The TWDB’s Royal Serial Number page is also the most popular page on the site by a long shot, among those users who float in via search engines, if you don’t count the home page. “Royal Quiet De Luxe” is the second most popular search term that drives traffic to the site, except the term “Typewriter database” itself. So, one could say the Royal Quiet De Luxe is the most popular typewriter in the world at the moment.

But what do we really know about it? I’ve spent parts of the past week analyzing the gallery entries for Royal Portables and comparing them to our serial number lists, and I was surprised to find out that well over half of the Royal portables were misfiled or misdated, despite the fact that we had a good age list for all but the last 17 years of portable production. Today, I pretty much spent all day here at my desk fixing every one of them, over 200 galleries in all. In the process, I learned quite a bit about the production history of the Royal portables – enough to put together with a few MTE inventory records and a fresh look at the 1962 Herstallungdaten and come up with a more unified age list that clarifies the evolution of the Portable, from the first Model P in 1926 all the way to the very final incarnation of the true Royal Portable, the Sabre of 1969.

So, before we get to the QDL (tomorrow, prolly), we will start with the first of the ancestors of the QDL: the Royal Model P.

royal-model-pAs we see above, the Model P is popular with collectors, so we have a nice selection, that when arranged properly, gives a nice overview of the variations of the “P”.  No big surprises, though – the first of those comes in the transition between the “P” and “O” models.

Below are the “O” models. One of the things I see now as I put this blog post together is that someone has entered the same serial numbered machine with two vastly different photos for 1932. I think we can disregard the second one.

royal-model-oAt first, the “O” model really doesn’t look all that different than an older “P” model. I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference without looking at the serial number prefix. But in 1935, the shell is redesigned and streamlined. Things pretty much stay the same  until 1938, when the Model “O” runs concurrently with the new Models “A” and “B”. The “A” model, is of course the prototype of the QDL: the “De Luxe”. We’ll get to that in a moment. Next let’s take a look at the “A” Model’s sister, the “B” Model. Here’s another surprise: the 1938 “proto-Aristocrat” looks very much like a Model “O”. It’s only in 1939 that the Model “B” gets a facelift and a real name…royal-model-b-1By 1939, the Aristocrat is pretty much identical to the newly-launched QDL, other than nameplate and a bit less soundproofing. The Model “B” then represents the “Standard Portable” replacement of the Model “O” in the Royal line, while the Model “A” represents a new luxury offering, starting in late 1935 with the “De Luxe”:royal_model_a-1The “De Luxe” Model “A” remains in the Royal lineup until 1938, when it is joined in the Royal lineup by the “Quiet” Model “A”, for one brief year. So, in 1938, Royal was offering the Model “O”, the Model “B” (which was basically the Model “O”), and two versions of the Model “A”.royal_model_a-0Then, in 1939, the two “A” Models are combined into the “Quiet De Luxe” and the “B” Model becomes a slightly stripped version of the new re-designed “A” Model. But, we’ll get to that tomorrow in Part 2…

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 — 3:04 pm


Add a Comment
  1. Excellent research, made possible by your excellent database! This is just the sort of “big data” we need for typewriter history.

    1. Inorite? I couldn’t resist taking a stab at it when the QDL hit 100 galleries. The galleries and lists have great and enlightening synergies! :D

  2. That Royal O mixup would be my fault! (in fact, neither of the serial numbers are correct. I happened to get 3 O/OT Royals in the same month and confused them) I have the correct numbers in my spreadsheet and I will fix the galleries.

    OT334622 (this is a black early style one)
    O T344877 (this is the woodgrain one)
    O-590998 (this is the later style one)

  3. How come I cannot find my serial number on my model nowhere on the net? A – 798094

    1. because you aren’t looking hard enough.

  4. I have recently acquired a portable Royal typewriter. The serial number is P164320. I didn’t find that specific number on your database (or others I’ve looked at) but it seems that it’s probably from 1929. Would you agree or do you have some other info to share? Thanks.

    1. You did in fact find it. 1929 is correct.

  5. Great research! Thank you! Apologies to dig up an old post, but relates directly to this:

    I recently acquired a portable royal that was billed as a “Model P,” but I don’t think that is accurate.

    The serial number is CM-86900. I can only find minimal information on the “CM-” prefix and have been led to believe that it is a custom made model.

    There is one other I’ve come across in the TWDB that looks nearly identical to my machine, and also has the CM prefix.

    -It has the black crinkle finish, which I believe was popularized in the Royal DeLuxe series that came out in 1936.
    -The label on the back is 4 lines. All true Model P’s I’ve seen have a 3 line label. It seems like Royal switched to the 4 line version in the mid 30’s

    My best guess based on key layout, foot shape, and other features is that it is like is an early (1934-35) Royal Model A/Proto De-Luxe. Still does not explain the “CM-” though. Any thoughts??? Thanks!

    1. More likely it is a 1928 Model P that was refurbished and repainted by a dealer in the 30’s. Gonna put it in the Database? (:

      1. Yup! Just wanted to make sure I had the right info and details before posting it. Thanks!

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