Gold Royal QDL (Dreyfuss Model)
1948 - 1949
Royal Typewriter Co. Inc.
Hartford, CT, US
For two short years, 1948 -1949, Royal produced a Henry Dreyfuss-designed Quiet de Luxe (QDL) model. Most were finished in matte gray and were part of the aptly named "Gray Magic" line of typewriters. However, a select few were pulled from the production run and plated in gold. Some of these were sold at a premium, others were given away as prizes in writing competitions and a few, like the example on this page, were simply raffled off.
On the 100th anniversary of the California Gold Rush of 1849, the Fort Pitt Typewriter Co. of Pittsburgh, PA announced a raffle to coincide with the milestone. Fort Pitt, a major dealer of Royal typewriters, was giving away one gold-plated Royal portable to one lucky winner. One would simply fill out a registration card, drop it in a box and cross fingers.
Tillie Dalke filled out one of those cards and, on Saturday, Apr. 16, 1949, she won. Tillie won a gold-plated Royal Quiet de Luxe portable typewriter, serial numbered A-1685464, which was produced by Royal in late 1948. Read Fort Pitt's congratulatory letters to Tillie here...
So what did Tillie do with her prized typewriter? Did she display it on a pedestal under a vitrine like some priceless Fabergé egg? No. She used it like a typewriter should be used, as did her daughter, Lillian. They used the typewriter to write letters to the military men in their lives. And when Lillian had a daughter of her own, Doreen, the typewriter was used by Doreen to write letters to her husband-to-be, Don, while he served in Vietnam. The typewriter's evident wear, especially to the plating, is a testament to its honest service.
Since Sept. 22, 2016, when Doreen first reached out to me, I've been chasing the typewriter. It took 5 years but the wait was well worth it. Further research has revealed another early example with the same pattern of gold panels. It's serial numbered A-1785749. These lead me to speculate that the gold QDLs had all their panels plated in gold to start but were later redesigned with black & gold panels. Oddly, the key rings were originally nickeled and not gold. Dreyfuss models were replaced in 1950 by the curvier QDLs, also available in gold.
Contrary to popular belief, these gold Royals were not produced to celebrate the company's 50-year Jubilee. As the flyer from the Fort Pitt Typewriter Co. above states, they were produced in conjunction with the 1849 Gold Rush. It really was nothing more than publicity for the Royal company and its dealers. There's also a possibility that the success of the gold Cartier KMM's publicity tour of 1940 somehow inspired the gold Dreyfuss.
Need a manual for your Royal typewriter? Get it here...