1963 - 1969
's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) was first patented in 1948 and then available for commercial use in 1954. That's when nearly every industry everywhere went ga-ga for plastic. It was moldable, tough and less expensive than metal. Thus was ushered in the era of the plastic typewriter.
In October of 1961, a very accomplished industrial designer named Carl Wilhelm Sundberg (1910 - 1982) filed for a design patent (patent no.D196,280) that would later be the basis for the Starfire. The patent, which was issued in 1963, did not specifically state what material would be used to manufacture the typewriter, but it would eventually be ABS. ABS was revolutionary because it did not need to be painted. Color were mixed directly into the chemical compounds. It was now easier than ever to offer typewriters in a multitude of colors, which would include Remington red Starfire.
Afew years later another designer by the name of Ettore Sottsass would find himself equally intrigued by the limitless possibilities of ABS. Sottsass would design an iconic typewriter, Olivetti's Valentine. It is rumored that the Valentine may have been inspired by Sundberg's Starfire, though there are rumors that it may have been the Monpti, another ABS typewriter, that was Sottsass' source of inspiration. Alas, these rumors are of great men that have long left this earth and, so, we may never know the truth.
Starfires were produced in Holland at the Sperry-Rand factory. A version with a slightly different body and with white key tops was also made there though not concurrently. Personally, I much prefer the model with the mennacing red and black keyboard. I'm not sure why there aren't more Starfires available to collectors. Nonetheless, today, for every two dozen Valentines that come to market just one Starfire surfaces.
Email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com