Royal Standard & de Luxe Portable
1935 - 1939
Royal Typewriter Company, Inc.
Hartford, Connecticut, US
In 1927 Royal was late to the party with its first portable typewriter available to market. However, Royal's tardiness wasn't a reflection on the quality of its work. The portable typewriters the company produced quickly gained substantial market share which was further bolstered in 1935 with the introduction of the models on this page; the Royal Standard portable (a.k.a the Model O or the Touch Control) and the Royal de Luxe. The progression of the 1935 design from an overly produced Art Deco concept to the more streamlined production model is most interesting to me.
Royal produced its first portable about seven years after Underwood, thirteen years after Remington and almost twenty years after Corona had. The first few models were very friendly and aesthetically pleasing, but overall very boxy. The primary difference between those first few models was that the earliest had no ribbon covers while the latter did. Then, in 1935, a new design was introduced. It was the Royal Standard portable; a curvier, sexier departure available in a variety of beautiful finishes. Just one year later, in 1936, a de Luxe version with distinctive chrome bands was added to the line. The new designs helped the company outsell most of its competition, solidify its market standing and eventually lead to the total dominance over all of its competition through the 1950s.
As stated, Royal began selling the Standard Portable in 1935. These had a Royal decal on the paper table and a serial number that began with the letter 'O' (hence their "Model 'O'" nickname). They were available in black, purple, green, olive, yellow, red, brown and maroon. The de Luxe model came with a crinkle finish, two solid chrome bands and a raised decal on the paper table reading Royal de Luxe. The de Luxe model also had a tabulating system. It may also have been offered in several colors other than black but I've only seen red thus far. The model I have in stainless steel at the top of this page seems to be an undocumented one-off. Both models came with a Touch Control mechanism (hence the often cited Touch Control nickname) and a glass-top keyboard with "Finger Comfort Keys." These Royals were produced in Hartford, Connecticut until 1939 when Royal's portables were once again redesigned.
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Inventors Bernard Joseph Dowd (1873 - 1946) and Henry Joseph Hart (1898 - 19??) were issued a patent in 1934 (patent no.1,985,155) for a new design to Royal's portables. Most noticeably it called for three ornamental, corrugated chrome bands that screamed of Art Deco influence, but it wouldn't be the final design. In April of 1934 three more patents were filed for the typewriter's casing by designers Clarence H. Bills and John J. Kittle. Each design was less stylized than the previous, and still not to be the final. Then a fourth patent was filed in May of 1934 by original designer-inventors Dowd and Hart for a much less ornamental casing without the chrome bands. Finally, Dowd's and Hart's latest effort would ultimately be the one to be produced. One can only wonder if there's a prototype of a rejected design tucked away in an attic somewhere.