Since many people today are busy with their computers, tablets, phones, and so on, they’ve pretty much forgotten about one tool that was used for many years – the mechanical typewriter. They’ve fallen into great disuse since computers became more popular, but I still have a great appreciation for them. What’s nice about mechanical typewriters in particular is that they don’t need electricity to run – you could use them even in a powered-down, post Peak Oil society. Yet you can still type much faster and more neatly than by hand.

I don’t have any particular fascination with mechanical typewriters, though I still think they’re nice in their own way. I’m really glad to have the ones I do.

Royal KHM

I got this typewriter from my grandma’s house around April 2011. It is very heavy but is still a nice, vintage typewriter. In May 2012, I found this typewriter’s identification tag and learned it was a Royal KHM. I had fun using it, though once I got to the end of the ribbon, I tried using the reverse switch, but since then, the ribbon has kept slipping whenever I try to type anything.

Royal Portable

I’m not sure what exact model typewriter this is, but it also came from my grandma’s house and has its own case.

Lyubava Typewriter (Пишущая Машинка Любава)

This is perhaps my favorite typewriter of all. Since about May 2012, I’ve wanted a Russian typewriter so I could still type in Russian if an apocalypse rendered computers unusable. Sadly, there weren’t many Russian typewriters for sale, and the ones that are available are quite expensive.

In late September 2012, I almost got a Consul 221 typewriter with Cyrillic keys on eBay from a seller in Florida. The seller only charged $49, and the shipping was around $25, so I would have to pay just under $75 – compared to a number of the other typewriters that were priced at a few hundred dollars. But, sadly, in the last ten seconds, I was outbid (likely by an eBay sniper). I was quite upset since I really wanted my own Russian typewriter.

But thankfully, things eventually changed. Nearly two months later, I had another chance at getting a Russian typewriter. I didn’t dare deal with eBay anymore since I didn’t want to deal with the uncertainty of whether or not I’d be outbid. So, I sought to directly buy a typewriter. Thankfully, I found a Lyubava on Etsy for only $75 plus $75 shipping from Ukraine. It was still fairly expensive, but I figured that was as cheap as I could get if I wanted a Russian typewriter right then and there, so I bought it.

The typewriter was supposed to ship within three days, but it didn’t. I contacted the seller, but thankfully, he sent it the next day. I anxiously watched the tracking information online until it finally arrived at my house on December 8th – exactly two weeks after the seller shipped it! I at last had a Russian typewriter.

I typed on it but found it had the same ribbon slipping issue as my Royal KHM. But thankfully, on either December 20th or 21st, my friend helped me get it working by shifting which reel was the take-up reel. I haven’t tested it thoroughly, but it seems to work better than when I first got it. In any case, I’m very glad to have a Russian typewriter.

Royal Portable Standard Model O Russian Typewriter

This typewriter I really love. It’s a Royal Portable Standard Model O Russian typewriter from the 1930s – and appears to be similar to the other Royal portable typewriter I have. It’s in very good cosmetic condition – I was really impressed when I got it in the mail, as it looked even better than it did on eBay. The only problem I have with this typewriter is that the key layout slightly deviates from the “standard” Russian keyboard layout.

Here’s a little background history regarding this typewriter. Although I was happy to have the Lyubava one (or really, any Russian typewriter), I just didn’t like how the case was so plastic and flimsy. I just didn’t feel comfortable taking it on and off whenever I wanted to use the typewriter. I wanted something a little more durable. I searched on eBay and found a Royal Portable Standard Model O Russian typewriter. It was quite expensive at $259.99, but on the plus side, there was free shipping – and it shipped from West Virginia in the United States, so it would arrive at my residence fairly quickly, and I wouldn’t have to worry about it going through customs like I did with the Lyubava. It was also made of metal, so I figured it was more durable than the Lyubava. So, I bought the typewriter on the afternoon of December 27, 2012. I was glad that this item had a “Buy It Now” option, as I didn’t want to risk losing the chance to get another Russian typewriter like I did with the Consul 221.

I did get a little worried after buying the typewriter. Although the seller shipped the typewriter on December 28th, I checked the tracking on the USPS site but kept getting an error message – even a day or two after it had been shipped. But my fears were put to rest on the afternoon of January 2, 2013 when the mail truck arrived in my driveway with a package. I opened it and was really happy to see my new Russian typewriter. It was in even better cosmetic condition than it looked on eBay! What a nice way to start 2013.


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Updated Monday, March 9, 2020