When you buy two typewriters at once (or, actually, get one for free when buying the other), it’s hard to decide which typewriter gets the TLC first. Since the Continental 340 will need the most, I decided to wait until I get more supplies (because I still need to buy a lot of tools and cleaning solvents).
Before I start dismantling my new typewriter, I want to know more about it. How does it need to work? What’s the history of this model? How do I do this? Or that? So I started searching the web again and made this list of other Erika 5’s: (I use Chromium because it translates pages easily)
* Retro Tech Geneva Black, QWERTZ layout, no tab.
* Wolfsonian Black, QWERTZ layout, tab-version.
* Maschinenschreiben Black, QWERZ layout, no tab.
* Typewriters.ch Black, QWERTZ layout, no tab.
* Sommeregger Black, QWERTZ layout, no tab.
* Piwko Black, QWERTZ layout, no tab.
* Sevenels Black, QWERTY layout, tab-version.
* Lorene Museu Black, QWERTZ layout, tab.
* Sandra Mann Black, QWERTZ layout, no tab.
* all other Erika 5’s on Ebay/Etsy/Flickr
As you can see Seidel & Naumann Erika 5 is a portable machine with 4 rows of keys. Only by looking at several Erika’s you know it’s a German typewriter. Lot’s of QWERTZ layouts to be found! Mine has a QWERTY layout though. And according to the tw-db it was manufactured in 1929. That’s just the second year of production!
So, some company history (translated from Lorena Museu Portugal):
“Seidel and Naumann (Dresden, East Germany) started their business around 1870. They had a machine shop and a great technical knowledge. Naumann’s stepfather was a seller of saddles and his uncle made boxes for watches to the Royal Palace of Saxony. Aiming to produce a profitable product they decided to manufacture typewriters.
In 1872, they obtained a license to manufacture Singer sewing machines. This was mainly Naumann’s idea, but apparently Seidel did not agree with him because he considered the risk too great, so he stepped away from the business.
In 1887, the firm began to diversify by starting manufacture of bicycles, and in 1892 they manufactured instruments to measure the speed of locomotives. The same year he began his studies for series production of typewriters. His first typewriter, Ideal appeared in 1900. It achieved a great success and sold extremely well around the globe.
In 1913 a new Ideal typewriter was produced, but with World War 1 hostilities began, the firm soon began to make fuses for detonators, rifle barrels and other artifacts.
After the war, S&N continued with its production of typewriters, sewing machines, and bicycles. They started with the first Erika, a three row portable, which was also sold in various countries. It is said that the typewriter got this name due to Naumann’s daughter, Erika. The four row portable (of very high quality) was produced later.
When World War 2 started the firm, which had manufactured one million typewriters, had to use his factory almost exclusively to produce weapons of various types, presumably similar to those manufactured during World War 1. Two large air attacks were made in the factory, the second occurred near the end of the war in April 1945, destroying about 75% of the area of production.
The production of typewriters was resumed immediately after the war, concentrating its manufacturing in portables. In 1951 Seidel & Naumann partly joined with Clemens Mueller AG. ”
Hm, okay, so, ehm… this typewriter was made in a factory in Dresden which during both World War’s made weapons. Auch… It’s a risk I’m willing to take. I’ll bet most German factories transformed to war-machines during the war. And we don’t know why S&N did, they could easily be forced to do so.
So, back to the typewriter! According to Ebay/Etsy/Flickr there are a lot of Erika 5’s to be found. three-row or four-row, with tab or without tab. Mine is a four-row without tab. And, funny fact, it has no 1 and no 0! Numbers start at 2 and end at 9. Back in the days typewriters were made without ones and zeros because you could also use a lowercase l and an uppercase O. These spared keys could be used to type quarters of currencies.
My Erika 5 seems to be in a better condition I thought at first. I haven’t found any mechanical flaws yet and it’s kind of clean. The only two things really damaged is the letter painting and the bolt of the platen knob. First one is almost scratched off and second one is really really rusty. I tried to find some of the original bolt by scratching the rust, but needed to stop. It’s just really damaged. But, everything else seems to work. Bell rings, both ribbon reverse buttons reverse, there is nothing funny going on with ribbon vibrator, typebars and keys, even the line spacing works perfectly, so I guess I made a great deal on this machine!
But, sadly for you, no pictures today. My Erika 5 is half-naked and still needs some cleaning and polishing. Besides, this blog post is way too long already!