This was a happy eBay find on a Sunday morning. The seller preferred local pickup, and I happened to be close by. So, in one short day, I purchased, cleaned and created this blog post for my newly acquired Nakajima ALL portable typewriter. I’m not sure of the model number, though I’ve seen similar models called the 550 or 800.
Nakajima ALL is a Japanese concern, founded by Nobuyoshi Nakajima as Nakajima Seisakausho in 1923. Then, the company manufactured printing machines. In 1931, the company introduced a line of sewing machines, and in 1933, it expanded production to include machines for “ordinary household” use. Nakajima ALL emerged as a producer of sewing machine heads after World War II, and shortly thereafter as a supplier of sewing machine parts. The company introduced a manual typewriter in 1965, and electric typewriters in 1971.1
In 1968, monthly production of typewriters exceeded 15,000 units. I’m guessing production of manual typewriters ran from 1965 to sometime in the early 1970s. After 1971, the company seems to have marshaled all of its efforts to produce electric typewriters, and, later, computers.
ALL typewriters were sold under various names: Adler (Nakajima), Chevron, Craftamatic, Imperial (Nakajima), KMart (Nakajima),2 Majitouch, Pentagon, Pinnock, Pinnock-Craftamatic, Royal (Nakajima), and Swintec (Nakajima).3
I’m not very impressed with the quality of the ALL. I gave mine a thorough cleaning — it was in decent shape to begin with — but it didn’t improve much. As you can see from the typecast above, the alignment is off a bit.4 The small “a” seems malformed, leaving a weak impression.
My interest in this machine was piqued when I noticed decorations on the platen. It’s covered with a roll of glossy paper, featuring various images. Nakajima ALL must have used one continuous printed sheet, as peeling reveals additional images underneath. I’m not sure this material offers a fair typing surface. Perhaps that’s why (apart from my stubborn refusal to change the ribbon) it doesn’t leave a nice impression.
Robert Messenger at oz.Typewriter offers several articles on Nakajima ALL, including these two:
- Nakajima Model 800 Typewriter: The most surprising machine of ALL
- Nakajima ALL Portable Typewriter Manuals: Four Languages, Multiple Brands
Roll call: Images on platen —
Here are some additional images:
© 2013, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.
- Source, http://www.nakajima-all.co.jp/engv.files/sub/kigyou_syareki.htm. [↩]
- Robert Messenger reports that one K-Mart model sold for $306 on eBay! [↩]
- Source, http://typewriterdatabase.com/no_info.630.typewriter-serial-number-database. [↩]
- Here is the text of the typecast: This Nakajima ALL portable typewriter is an interesting machine. The platen is wrapped in a thin, printed sheet of paper. The various images on the roll are what appear to be pharmaceuticals, architectural designs and cosmetics. Presumably this typewriter was aimed at the business market, as it features both the pound and dollar signs. Its all-plastic body construction is durable, though not exactly solid. The alignment is a bit off at times. Apart from the ALL label, there are no identifying marks. This typewriter was sold under many names — Royal and Alder, for example — and the casing seems purposely generic. [↩]