What I find most interesting is that an American company, Remington, had no moral issues profiting off of specially ordered typewriters for the Third Reich and the Nazi party. On the Torpedo here, the '=' key on the keyboard was factory modified to type the double runes insignia of the Schutzstaffel - the SS. Though, in all fairness, one should not expect anything different of a company that was built on the war profiteering of gun sales. A case could be made that Remington didn't know but it was Remington's explicit directive for Torpedo, a company that did not have any portables in its line up, to add models like the one on this page.

Torpedo No.15A

with SS Runes

ca.1939
Torpedo Werke AG.
Frankfurt, Germany



Torpedo typewriters were well made German machines with respectable commercial success. Nonetheless, the company was not impervious to the economic melee that was the Great Depression. With a need to restructure in order to stay in business, Remington-Rand, an American company based out of New York City, bought a controlling share of Torpedo Works. Remington was already a behemoth within the typewriter industry and it regularly bought competitors to either eliminate them or, as in this case, expand their global dominance. 

So what of the typewriter? Yes, it is a beautiful, precision-engineered machine, but it's also a significant piece of history. The typewriter itself is not evil, only some of its users. The typewriter is a reminder of our history in the same regard that photographs, artifacts and architecture are. All the same, I didn't feel comfortable with it in my home so I passed it along to another WWII vet.

The Torpedo show here, according to the seller, belonged to her great-grandfather who was a correspondent during WWII. He took the typewriter from a German POW and, with the permission of his commanding officer, had the typewriter mailed back home. It was not uncommon for soldiers to ask their commanding officers for permission to mail home confiscated guns, helmets, daggers or any other artifact as a souvenir-of-sorts.

Questions? Comments? Please fell free to email me Antikey.Chop@gmail.com