Deconstructing Product Design
Beautiful design which change typewriter design forever, the first real compact and was reputed to be prefered typewriter of Ernest Hemingway. The photo shows a second series, first model was designed in 1932 by Italian Giuseppe Presioso and built by Palliard in Switzerland. It was also built and sold in other countries, in England as the Empire Baby, Italy as the Ala and also a few were built in Poland in 1938-39 as the M.K. Mala. I personally own all models except the Mala, which I would be happy to have if anyone as for sale.
A Hermes doth not a Steinbeck make. [Papa preferred a Royal]
The “Baby/Rocket” belongs in the continuum of a Corona #3, an olive Olivetti Lettera 22, a Sottsass Valentine, and a Selectric I. Throw in Papa’s Royal Arrow.
Since leaving the comment in April, I have had confirmation the Ala (Wing) the Italian made Baby was a model licenced by Palliard and the one I have in my collection is only the second known to exist to collectors. You can see a photo of the Ala on my wall on Facebook under my name, also the polish model should read F.K. Mala not M.K.
If anyone is interested I have an Empire Aristocrat spare, a Baby Hermes, in very good condition, just like the one in your picture, bar the transfers/decals which say it was Made in England.
Its the greatest typewriter in the world, owing to its compact design and ease of use. Its really easy to maintain as well, even when I was in school I knew how to open it end to end, and put it back together again without any problems. I have always loved it. My father brought it from Germany in the early sixties, much before I was born, and eversince it has been used a lot, and Praise God, its always in top running condition. Although I have a computer with an Officejet 5600 printer, yet it can have problems, and if the power is out, as there can be long power cutouts in Pakistan, then the typewriter turns out to be a great buddy, when you want a report to be submitted the next day.
Since leaving the comments last year I’ve discovered yet another variation on the Hermes 1st series. British Typewriters who produced the licensed Empire Baby model in West Bromwich, England, along with a Baby De Luxe model. I have also found now an Empire Junior which is a 1st series Empire Baby with the oddity of having chromed keys with Empire written on the paper guide and rather than a Golden Lion decal on the upper casing with Empire written below with the word Baby written as on the Hermes as a Union Jack with a Gold bar below with Empire written along it. It’s serial number 50778 places it in production in 1939.
I have several Babies now, and I am trying to find a reference for your statement that Hemingway used one. Several internet based sites are using this site as a reference.
On a different issue, I believe a good way to identify and date various models is by the Baby logo.
Just got a “baby” today. We went to our friends shop, Metro Modern to look for a “low-boy” and instead, I found the “baby!” Lucky me.
I have 3 Baby Empire typewriters, the first says, Baby Empire and has circular chrome rims & bakelite inserts and is a 22XXX serial putting it around 1936, probably one of the earliest off the production line. The other two just say Empire and Baby Empire De-Luxe. They all are essentially the same machine but different from the late 1940’s Empire Aristocrat. Would be interested to hear of any other variations on the logo design.
These are quite hard to track down! (At least in the US it seems)
I Have always admired these machines, especially the Empire Aristocrat lion logoed ones. As for writer’s preferences, Hemingway stuck to his remmington. Steinbeck liked his Hermes rocket though, while out in the
John Dalton, would you still have a spare you’re willing to part with?
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