By the time the Bantam came off the production line, the Remington Typewriter Company had already merged with the Rand-Kardex Company to form Remington-Rand (Rem-Rand). Rem-Rand grew to be an incredibly prolific portable typewriter manufacturer. The amount of models produced by the company during the Great Depression, an era of cutbacks, is staggering. I count at least over forty(!) different models.
One of those models was the Remette, which would be the platform on which the Bantam was developed. The difference, aside from the colored keys, was that the Bantam was stripped of a lot of the Remette's features. The Bantam had no bell, no tab sets, no margin sets, no backspace and just one set of feed rollers underneath the platen. It also did not come with a ribbon selector, line space selector. or carriage return lever. The Bantam typed in uppercase only and had no numeric keys.
Remington Rand Co.
Ilion, New York, US
The Bantam typewriter is one of the cutest little typers around. Its brightly colored keyboard against its charcoal shell delights just about everyone that sees it. The original instruction manual scores bonus points for being in the form of an awesome fold-out comic book.
Ultimately, the lack of features was fitting for an "educational toy," which is how it was marketed. The Bantam was intended to teach children to touch type. That was the reason behind the colored keys. The colors were guides so that the user knew which finger was to strike which key. For example, the left pinky would have only struck the turquoises Q, A & Z keys. Additionally, for the kids, the typeface was larger than that of a normal typewriter so it were easier to read.
Unlike the Bantam, most other available teaching typewriters, like the Simplex, were very cheaply made. Of course, there were also better examples, like Remington's No.5 Portable (a.k.a the Streamliner), with its similar colored keyboard, or the Animal Keyboard Corona. Both were very high end. In fact, Remington's No.5 teaching typewriter was arguably better than most regular portables of the era.
As for the Rem-Rand Bantam, despite the lack of features, it still types rather well and could be used on a daily basis. Bantams were produced for just one year.
Need and instruction manual for your Bantam? Get it here...