1923 - 1926
Tell Schreibmaschinen Gesellschaft, G.m.b.H.
Spandau-West, Berlin, Germany
This typewriter was designed in 1922 by Franz Kraudzun (1885 - 1943) who had previously developed the Senta. Originally the design was sold as the Mitex and produced by Mitex Schreibmaschinen Gesellschaft, G.m.b.H., which was located at 146 Seegefelder St. in Spandau-West, Berlin, Germany. It was in 1923 that the name of the typewriter was changed to Tell, located at the same address.
Because an example of the Mitex has not yet been found, it is difficult to say what changes were made between it and its successor, the Tell. Based on an illustration of the Mitex in Typewriter Topics, October, 1923, and the fact that only one year had elapsed between the name change, I would expect there to be very few changes, if any at all.
The Tell's (and Mitex's) most interesting feature was its flip-up carriage meant for easy maintenance, similar to that of the Gourland though the Gourland's carriage flipped up mainly to expose the margin controls. The manufacturer the Tell also claimed that the typewriter's typebars, all of equal length, helped achieve even printing. All things considered, the Tell is fairly uninteresting. It had a double-shift, three-row keyboard with a Universal layout, a two-color ribbon inking mechanism and a pressed steel body. The Tell was able to produce 84 characters from its 28 keys. The entire typewriter consisted of just 170 total parts and weighed a mere 8 lbs. Unfortunately, parts of the platen core and the line-space gear were made of pot metal so they are extremely susceptible to damage from age and use.
Though, the Tell typewriter company was listed in a German directory, the Allgemeines Anleitungsbuch für Schreibmaschinen-Reparateure, with other typewriter manufacturers as late as 1926, it actually went out of business later that same year. But that was not the end of the line for Kraudzun's design. The Bar-Lock Company, a British typewriter producer at the time, purchased the rights to manufacture the little dynamo out of its Nottingham, England factory. Other than by name, the new Bar-Let model differed minimally from the Tell. Most notably, the Bar-Let was slightly larger and the cutouts on the sides were gone. I would call it a more refined Tell.