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The Hermes Rocket

Hermes Rocket

The Rocket

It’s hard not to like the Hermes Rocket. Authentically compact, it offers a remarkable typing experience. It is similar to the Hermes Featherweight and Baby, which preceded the Rocket, and some collectors rank these machines among the finest portables ever produced, including Robert Messenger at oz.Typewriter, who writes about this line of typewriters here, commenting:

There were as many as 4.5 million of the small Hermes portable typewriter made, a number that embraces the Featherweight, the Baby in its very many guises, and the Rocket. And it covers a period of close to half a century – yet, incredibly, in that time the machine virtually remained mechanically unchanged. [Its manufacturer] had every right to make this claim — “The Greatest Portable Value Ever Offered.”

The Rocket occupies the tail end of that history, being introduced sometime in the 1950s,1 and selling for as much as $70 — much less as the years passed. I own three Rockets (one was given to me), using them regularly for typing. The serial number on the machine pictured in this post is 5415578, which according to the Typewriter Database dates the machine to 1954.

My collection of Hermes-designed machines also includes the Montana Luxe and the Montana Viking. You can read about the Luxe here.

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The Hermes Rocket, often advertised as the world’s lightest portable, was offered at ever-decreasing prices over the years.

Hermes Rocket - The Pittsburgh Press - Dec 16, 1955

The Pittsburgh Press – Dec 16, 1955.

Hermes Rocket - Beaver Valley Times - Nov 12, 1959

Beaver Valley Times – Nov 12, 1959.

1963 Hermes rocket ad top half

The Hermes Rocket appears in this 1963 catalog alongside the Remington Fleetwing and the Monarch.

Hermes Rocket - Eugene Register-Guard - Apr 23, 1964

Eugene Register-Guard – Apr 23, 1964.

Hermes Rocket - Spokane Daily Chronicle - Dec 12, 1966

Spokane Daily Chronicle – Dec 12, 1966.

Hermes Rocket - Spokane Daily Chronicle - May 25, 1967

Spokane Daily Chronicle – May 25, 1967.

Typecast

All that is enough

Photos

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Videos

I haven’t taken the time to create a demonstration video, but I found two on YouTube:

As seen at TypewriterDatabase.com.

© 2014, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

  1. Though maybe earlier; I’ve not found any date for when this machine was introduced. []
{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Steve K February 22, 2014, 2:43 am

    Nicely written typecast. Easy to read too. What resolution was it scanned at?

    • Tony Mindling February 22, 2014, 6:33 am

      Yep. My little green Rocket usually wins out over the Sky-Riter when I’m packing for an RV excursion.

    • Mark Adams February 23, 2014, 3:03 am

      A simple 300 DPI in the color image mode, with only a touch of sharpening.

  • T. Munk February 23, 2014, 6:43 am

    I do love the size of the Rocket. Fits in many places no other machine does. And so *quiet* (:

  • shordzi March 5, 2015, 6:33 am

    interesting to see the price drops – this was not the case in Switzerland, where it maintained a more or less equal level.

  • Cynthia de Tilière April 16, 2015, 11:34 pm

    Hello ! Mark !

    I have an Hermès Rocket made in 1949.

    I am the third owner.

    An estimate of what to sell this for, if you please. As well as where to sell.

    kind wishes,
    Cynthia
    16 April 2015

  • Rodja Pavlik May 1, 2015, 6:06 pm

    Man, I wish I could get a “@” for my Hermes Baby.

  • Julia O. May 25, 2015, 11:47 pm

    I recently found in mint condition a Hermes Rocket for $31. I am not certain what year it was made, but I did check the typewriter database and a serial number close to mine dates this machine between 1968-1970. Types beautifully except it has a Hungarian or Slovic keyboard but I can still use it for what I type. Not a scratch, dent or chipped paint. I put a new ribbon in it and it is almost like brand new. The person who owned it took excellent care of it.

  • Happy B. August 11, 2015, 5:34 pm

    I just bought a Hermes Rocket with SCRIPT type. I can’t wait to use it. It needs to be serviced but luckily I have a great guy who also serviced my Hermes 3000 too. I just love the Hermes typewriters!

    • Alejandro October 23, 2015, 3:01 am

      Would you mind telling me how much you paid? I am trying to get a fair price.

      • Mark Adams October 30, 2015, 5:58 pm

        That’s a difficult question. I paid $50 for mine, but needed a new platen: another $75. I now have a great typer, one of my favorites, but it wasn’t the $50 deal I thought I was getting. Happy nonetheless.

  • Jonathan February 10, 2016, 3:49 pm

    Interesting that the price continued to drop. I wonder why? In today’s world of technological advances, lightweight is a reason to increase the price. If I were an aspiring journalist or writer in 1960, I would want something as light and portable as I could get. It’s rather curious that despite their popularity the price dropped.

    • Mark Adams February 19, 2016, 6:26 pm

      I imagine that economies of scale led to a progressive decrease in its price. This portable was not remarkably changed over the years, stabilizing the cost of its production. New products incur new expenses; old products, few.

      • Jonathan May 16, 2016, 12:08 am

        Interesting point. I suppose these days you rarely see a price drop and something unless sales are down. I cannot imagine a company like Apple reducing its price even if it’s cost went down.

  • Jordi April 28, 2016, 9:59 am

    I have a Hermes Baby I like typing on from time to time. Such a well designed machine- nothing like Swiss precision. I really enjoyed your story, All That Is Enough, on your typecast btw!

  • Andrew S. July 28, 2016, 3:44 am

    We just bought a Hermes Rocket (Sea-foam Green) from Salvation Army for $9.99! According to the serial # it looks like it’s from 1961, and it’s in beautiful shape, case and all! Hopefully we can find someone to clean it up, although it seems to be working fine. Feels nice to get a real typewriter under my fingers!

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