1983 Robotron 155 #7104786
Status: My Collection
Hunter: Richard Wood (Coronaboy)
Created: 02-17-2017 at 03:26PM
Last Edit: 03-30-2017 at 09:42AM
Erika, Robotron 155 portable manual typewriter. Braille modified..
Made in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (East Germany) on or around 28 Nov 1983 (date stamp on inside right carriage cap)
Won in auction on eBay $6 or four pound fifty pence. The original sales receipt shows the machine would have cost the equivalent of about $230 in todays money, or one hundred and eighty eight pounds, or there abouts.
Has a braile strip on the bail-bar custom made for the owner. There is also a metal piece over the ribbon cover which a single dot.
One would imagine this arrangement allowed a blind person to feel where the paper & carriage was in relation to where the typewriter was printing, feeling the numbers on the bailbar and then feeling the single dot between the ribbon cover.
The brass rings under the bail-bar are permanent round the bail-bar and have no means of removal as the ends of the bail-bar are welded shut. You can replace the brass flat piece itself. These braille pieces are exceptionally well made and I imagine very expensive at the time.
I have removed the braille centre piece as it obscured the typing area too much, of course this will be kept. I just screwed the tiny screws back into the ribbon cover via their teeny weeny wing nuts underneath. Whatever company made these parts for the blind really made them well, perhaps it was made in the Robotron factory?
Came with various interesting bits of ephemera for example a brown manilla envelope with a piece of paper entitled "articles for the blind" containing various water-marked pieces of vintage typewriter paper with various braille dots punched into them.
The typewriter keyboard has no dots to assist the user finding the letters. A modern keyboard has marks on the f and j so I am unsure why the typewriter keyboard wasn't marked.
The original sales receipt shows it was purchased by a lady in Sheffield in 1984.
Types very nicely, not really comparable to any other machine I have.
The keys have a unique lever system that keeps the keys horizontal (much like the Smith-Coronas), but it makes no mention of this in the book. Studying around the keyboard area shows a double arrangement of elbows that make this possible.
Very well engineered for for such a new machine, I kept being pleasantly surprised by its build quality for such a new machine. Research shows that post the Olympia SM9 , quality started to slip in Western Germany but remained high in East Germany with the production of these and similar high quality machines.
The piece which makes the variable line spacing work (hidden inside the platen) is thick steel unlike the plastic pieces used by Smith Corona on their Ghia which was a machine produced earlier.
Very nice to type on, no touch control has tab set and clear.
4 colour ribbon selector means you can use middle of ribbon to really get your monies worth.
Bail bar rollers are the hard plastic variety
Hunter: Richard Wood (Coronaboy)
Richard Wood's Typewriter Galleries [ My Collection ] [ My Sightings ]
Status: Typewriter Hunter
Typewriter collector, previous sewing machine collector.
Originally from the Garden of England, Kent. I have lived in Sheffield for over fifteen years.
As a young child, I always enjoyed taking things apart and seeing how they functioned.
I have been collecting a range of vintage typewriters for over two years.
Previously, I was interested in restoring sewing machines, then I acquired my mothers Olivetti Dora and looked under the hood and typed, I was hooked on typewriters and how they worked.
I learn something every day from passionate bloggers and typewriter enthusiasts.
Fan of Joe Van Cleave's typewriter video series.
RESEARCH NOTE: When researching the Robotron 155 on a computer with lots of screen real estate, you may find that launching the Robotron Serial Number page and the Robotron 155 By Model/Year/Serial page in new browser windows can give you interesting perspectives on changes throughout the model series.