Richard Koch & Co.
It is utterly amazing just how little information is available about this typewriter. Only two of my 14 books on the subject have any data about the Rico (Adler's Antique Typewriters, From Creed to QWERTY and Dingwerth's Kleines Lexikon Historischer Schreibmaschinen) and just two websites give it the slightest of mentions (typewritermuseum.org and schreibmaschinen.wordpress.com). Unfortunately, for now, I won't be able to add too much to the story of the Rico. It shall remain a mystery.
In his 1997 book, Adler states of the Rico that it is a "Pleasant toy typewriter with indicator selecting letters from a rectangular index." Not much information there, right? Adler's blurb couldn't have been more vague.
Dingwerth's book dates the Rico No.1A to ca.1932. It also lists Richard Koch & Company of Nuremberg, Germany as the maker. Based on the graphics on the front of the box I would confer that the date seems correct. As for the manufacturer, I would say that based on the logo of a jester holding the letters Ri (Richard) in one hand, the letters Co (Company) in the other hand, and the letter N (Nuremberg) between his legs, that it is very possible that the manufacturer is also correct. The jester logo can be found on the packaging, instructions and typewriter.
Though the Rico was labeled as a No.A1 model, there is no evidence of any other models having been produced. They were constructed mostly of stamped tin. The type element, which was made of brass, resembled a tube that was cut lengthwise in half and it operated similarly to the type sleeve of a Chicago typewriter. The platen could not take paper wider than 4".
One of the more peculiar things about the Rico was its lack of an inking system. Inking wasn't even mentioned in the original instructions. Most users would tape a 3" strip of ribbon to the machine between the platen and type element for inking.
To operate, the user had to move the center lever, which had a pin at the bottom of it, to the desired character on the rectangular index. Each character had a dimple in the middle of it. The user would then insert the pin of the lever into the dimple. The lever on the left side of the typewriter pivoted the carriage towards the type element to print. The Rico typed 74 characters plus there was also a dimpled spot on the index for spacing between words.
Need an instruction manual for your Rico? Get it here...
If you have some more information about the typewriter, the company that produced it or patent information, please email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com