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1938 Erika M Typewriter

Last updated on June 16, 2021

I picked up this 1938 Erika M typewriter this week. I had brought it to a repairman to have the rubber on the platen and feed rollers replaced.

The Erika M typewriter is regarded by many typewriter collectors as the finest prewar portable typewriter ever made. No expense was spared in engineering this thing. The result was a machine that is easy to type on, extremely fast, with a very precise feeling. It has deluxe features like heavy nickel plated levers, “skeleton shift” (only the platen and paper tray move when shift is pressed, not the whole carriage) and a lever that adds spaces between the letters, for emphasis. I prefer typing on large, “standard” manual typewriters of the sort normally used at that time in offices. To me, the solid, sturdy feel of typing on a big typewriter cannot be beat. The Erika M feels like an attempt to replicate that experience in a portable format. They got pretty close. Any 1930s Erika typewriter is generally regarded as a quality object. But the M was the top of the line. “M” stood for “Meisterklasse.” It is a masterpiece.

Because these typewriters are avidly sought after by typewriter collectors, it is hard to get one of these for less than $200. I paid a bit over $200 for this one, plus another $100 for shipping from Hungary. When I got it, the platen was hard as stone, and the feed rollers had developed big flat spots, making the machine unpleasant to use. I spent another $150 for new rubber. The machine types as if it were brand new, now. I will get a lot of use out of this. I do have some other 1930s German portables that are as pleasant and fun to type on as this Erika M. Torpedo and Triumph portables from that era are fast, precise typers.

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