Thursday, 6 February 2014

Beautiful typewriters - The Groma Modell N

It may surprise most of the typosphere, but I haven't actually featured many of my collection on my blog. I've probably only covered about a third of the machines I own - if that. Some of them have appeared in the background of topics, but I haven't talked about them or their interesting history or story. 

So, while it is ITAM, I'm going to show a few of the German machines that I purchased over the last year that have been hiding out in my collection - largely only for my eyes and fingers. 

As such, I would like to introduce you to what I would regard as the most beautiful typewriter in my collection, and part of its story.
















This typewriter has spent most of the last 5 months since I bought it hiding away in my cupboard. I feel awkward about even using it, as it is in such incredible condition. It is wonderful to type on, with a very precise and well designed mechanism that is very comfortable to use. 

It doesn't have the same heavy snap that I love about the Rheinmetall - but that is a feeling that I think only a few would love. If the two typewriters were dance styles, the Rhienmetall would be breakdancing, while the Groma would be Ballet. It feels far more refined and elegant, while being somewhat prissy. 

What I have found interesting with this design, is that while it has some of the most refined glass-topped keys I have ever seen, it uses two plastic keys for the margin release and the backspace. Both these keys are actually the lightest feeling keys on the keyboard and don't seem to be under a lot of stress to justify it. And while their red colour looks beautiful on the keyboard, I still feel that it was an odd but interesting choice.

Later models of this machine used an all plastic keyboard. The machine was re-worked again after that to have a different shell, and square keys. 


Going beyond the dealer's stickers that are more common on typewriters, this machine features a very classy plate that is riveted into the side of the machine. It breaks up the beautiful curve of the machine a little, but it isn't unsightly. I rather like it there. 

There is surprisingly little information on these Groma machines online. While the Kolibri gets all the glory, the Model N or T (and apparently there's a H) are almost no where to be seen. They aren't 'rare' in the true sense of the word, and they can often be picked up on German ebay. Although you're unlikely to ever see one at the same price that I bought mine for again. 

The later machine with the coloured finish and the covered ribbon spools and plastic keys are easier to find. But even then there's nothing about these machines online. Further more, the older desktop models never make an appearance, other then in articles about Hitler's typewriter. 

Groma is an interesting part of German industrial manufacturing history, and I believe more than just an also-ran as it is historically interesting how it continued to survive after becoming an DDR manufacturer post WW2. 

But that's a story for another time. 

21 comments:

  1. Beautiful machine, Scott! This Groma and the Rheinmettal of your previous post look like classic 1930s roadsters. Love that profile photo, too.

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    1. They certainly do. I know what you mean. They've got some very stylish design that really had me attracted to them very quickly.

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  2. Beautiful and fantastic find!

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  3. Beautiful lines on that machine. I can understand the reluctance to use it given its pristine condition. Even the paint on the screws looks intact. Good thing you don't need to open it up. I imagine putting a screwdriver to it for the first time would bring a big gulp to the throat!

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    1. You're right. Nothing of this machine has been touched. It just feels like it's fallen out of history and onto my desk. I have no intention of putting a screwdriver to it, if it can ever be helped!

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  4. What a steal!

    These really are gorgeous machines. Congrats.

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    1. Thanks Richard. I actually felt guilty about the price I paid.

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  5. The way the spool covers dip towards the platen is sublime. I'll echo Richard, Congrats!

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    1. Yeah, I find that very appealing too. But you just don't see it often. Nor do you see it on the model after this one from Groma.

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  6. When I was deep in eBay.de's clutches, I bid on and lost quite a few Gromas, and passed over many because the two front decals were worn on the edges. This is a splendid machine! Like with Rheinmetalls, I think I'll keep trying to give Gromas a chance.

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    1. They do tend to go quite high usually. And you know what? The photo was so badly taken of this machine, that I couldn't see the entire decal from the camera flash. As you could imagine, I was incredibly stoked when I got to see this one was in such great condition.
      BTW... The decals strangely dissolve in water after they have been exposed to years of sunlight, so sadly you'll find that a lot of machines will have simply had those decals disappear into nothing because of this.

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  7. Congratulations on the wonderful machine!

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    1. Thanks. I'm pretty damn happy with my purchase.

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  8. I've also bid on a good couple of ebay.de machines which ended up fetching quite substantial prices. I still believe it to be a fantastic market, the condition of the machines is generally pretty high, prices are fair but not exorbitant and in my experience Germans are straightforward, honest, friendly, punctual and outstanding beer drinkers.

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    1. I agree. You just need to keep an eye on machines that the seller hasn't really treated well in the advertisement, to get a good one.

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  9. Can't blame the typewriters for who uses them - lovely Modell N (and T).

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    1. Absolutely. And that is a topic I will be talking about very soon. Thanks for that!

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  10. again with the Germans! Gorgeous lines, though.

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    1. Ha ha ha. They're such great machines. How could I not!

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  11. I got one too. A friend of mine was going to throw it away but i wanted it, so i felt lucky

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