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The Sears Malibu

Messa Sears Malibu Typewriter

The Messa Machine

Advertised as a “full-size” portable typewriter, the Sears Malibu sold for around $60 in the early 1970s. It was manufactured by Messa, a Portuguese company that sold typewriters under a series of brand names, including Royal, Chevron and Olivia, among others.1

The Malibu is not a pretty machine. The encasement is large, leaving lots of space around the internal components, which makes it feel lighter than it is, but also cheaper. And the color scheme is hideous: dark and light blue… though neither shade seems right. Its lines are sharp and angular — this typewriter looks more at home in Detroit than sunny Malibu.

The Malibu is not a particularly good typer either. The keyboard is insubstantial, and heavy typing stresses the typebars.

The Malibu’s more fully-featured sibling is the Newport, another ugly machine that sold for $20 more. Neither machine seems appropriately named.

Specs

The Malibu — 88 character keyboard, 9 1/2 inch carriage, pica or elite type.
The Newport — 88 character keyboard, 11 inch carriage, pica or elite type.

You can view the Messa typewriter line here: On the Iberian Typewriter Safari: Surfin’ from Malibu to Newport, it’s as simple as ABC (for Chevron) at oz.Typewriter.

Typing sample

Typing sample

Advertisements

St. Petersburg Times, Dec. 20, 1973 for Malibu Typewriter

Advertisement from the St. Petersburg Times – Dec 20, 1970.

The Milwaukee Journal - Jun 2, 1971

Advertisement from the Milwaukee Journal – Jun 2, 1971.

Reading Eagle Sept. 2, 1971

Advertisement from the Reading Eagle Sept. 2, 1971.

Herald-Journal ad for Malibu Typewriter Aug. 8 1973

Advertisement from the Herald-Journal – Aug 8, 1973.

Photos

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As seen at TypewriterDatabase.com.

Addendum: The Newport

I lately acquired a Newport, and here are some photos:

Messa Sears Newport 01

Messa Sears Newport 02

Messa Sears Newport 03

Messa Sears Newport 04

Messa Sears Newport 05

Messa Sears Newport 06

Messa Sears Newport typing sample TWDB

As seen at TypewriterDatabase.com.

© 2013 – 2014, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

  1. On the Iberian Typewriter Safari: Surfin’ from Malibu to Newport, it’s as simple as ABC (for Chevron), by Robert Messenger. []
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Miguel Chávez December 20, 2013, 9:05 pm

    Maybe if the typebar cover was molded in the same shade of light blue as the rest of the mask…

    I’m intrigued by Sears. Over the years they sold many different kinds of typewriters, all of them branded as Sears. And they did service the machines in their stores! (customer support was very good, and I’m not endorsing the company; it’s just a recollection).

    I own an electric typewriter, “Sears 10”, which is at heart a Smith-Corona electric. Same motor, same mechanism, same feeble rubber bands. But it was sold by Sears and it could be serviced both in the stores AND in the Smith-Corona service centers. Maybe that could be an interesting topic to research, how these rebranded machines fared in the post-sales support department.

  • Nick December 21, 2013, 12:38 am

    I’m rather taken by the Newport, to be honest. But I’ve never expected it to be good as typewriter at all so I’ve passed up every one I’ve seen because I’d never spend more than $10 on it. XD

    • Mark Adams December 21, 2013, 2:06 am

      And $59 in 1970 seems high, particularly because one could have gotten a better made Brother for less.

      But I like having funky machines in my collection.

  • Richard P December 21, 2013, 7:16 am

    I agree: not pretty. But the green Newport is even uglier! (Sorry, Nick.)

  • Eric Plattner January 10, 2015, 3:42 pm

    Ugly is in the eye of the beholder. And like brutalist architecture, these machines are aggressively ugly, & therein lies their beauty.

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