You can afford this
A 1932 advertisement in the Spokane Daily Chronicle reads, “You’ve always wanted a typewriter for yourself and for the children who are growing up into high school and college … now you can own one at a price that is not prohibitive.”1 During the Great Depression, nearly any price may have seemed “prohibitive,” so to satisfy cost-conscious consumers, Remington offered a slew of economy machines, including the Remie Scout Model.
Remington offered two versions of the Remie: an open-framed, all-caps model that sold for $19.75 (sometimes $14.95); and, a closed-framed, double-case model that sold for $34.75. The former was “stripped of all non-essentials,” including shift keys, ribbon selector, right-margin set and backspace — the carrying case was optional. The enclosed-case model incorporated right and left shift keys, though sometimes only left shift, and came standard with carrying case.
Both Remies utilized Remington’s folding typebar mechanism, first seen on the earliest Remington portables, which were introduced in the early 1920s. The mechanism does allow for a reduction in the size of the frame, and was probably reintroduced during the depression to cut costs.
Though unique, the folding typebar mechanism is not an optimal design element, and Remington mostly manufactured portables with a more standard design. (Note, advertising for the Remie Scout shows the folding typebars in the “resting” position.) That Remington reintroduced the mechanism at all testifies to the economic demands of the times.
The Remie Scout was marketed heavily toward students, and was the cheapest of all Remington portables during the 1930s.
Remington sold 40,000 of these machines: 24,000 double-case Remies, and 16,000 caps-only models.2 It seems consumers preferred the more fully-featured Scout, though they may have been wooed by the price of the caps-only model. (I wonder if the the latter model was more often a gift?) The Remie Scout was also sold as the Pioneer (a name used later on a different machine) and the Monarch (another recycled name), as well as other monikers.3
Alan Seaver offers a detailed description of this machine, with all its variations, here: All About the Remie Scout.
Compared to earlier Remington portables, those manufactured in the 1920s, the Remie is a less sturdy, less elegant machine. Screws are tapped wherever needed — regardless of aesthetic effect — and large gaps are permitted around the folding typebars. Similar to the Remington Portable #2, a machine introduced in 1925, the Scout is more cheaply made.
In the news…
The Remie Scout was known by many names, including Pioneer, which is mentioned in the article below, from the Lewiston Evening Journal, July 18, 1932:
Neither of my machines are functional, but I did locate a few samples and typecasts:
- Type Oh! 1933 Remie Scout… types clear and sweat — sans serif, caps-only typeface
- Type Oh! When the sun rises — sans serif, caps-only typeface
- Type Oh! 200th Post (Tom Thumb/Remie Scout toys of grace) — interesting comparison between a toy typewriter and the Remie
- Collapsing World: Robot Typewriter: a television plot — gothic, double-case typeface
For reference, by the late 1930s, the Remington Pioneer was offered at a similarly cheap price.
The double-case version of the Remie Scout is more common, but the caps-only version can be found regularly on eBay and elsewhere. Both models came in a variety of colors. The two in my collection are black.
Remie Scout Model (double-case version) —
Remie Scout Model (all-caps version) —
Where is the serial number?
Serial numbers on the Remie Scout are easy to find, but not easy to read. Nestled between the arms of the keys, the serial number (as pictured above) is located on the right-front of the machine. The same is true of some other Remington portables. Sometimes the numbers are only lightly stamped, necessitating the use of a light for shadowing. You may also need to clean grime away to increase visibility. Alan Seaver’s page on the Remie Scout is a useful resource for dating your machine.
Read more about this variant in this post.
- Art Gothic Scout at X Over It
- Richard Polt on the Remie Scout
- Alan Seaver on the Remie Scout
- The Remies at Machines of Loving Grace
- The Remie Scout Portable Typewriter, by Robert Messenger
- Munk on 1934 Remington Rand Remie Scout, branded as a Monarch – the name, Monarch, was used persistently by Remington throughout the company’s long history
- A Remie Scout Model at the Milwaukee Public Museum
- My Flickr page on the Remie Scout Model
- Depression-era portables, an overview
- The Remie Scout as art
As seen at TypewriterDatabase.com —
1932 Remie Scout Model (caps-only) – S25684
1933 Remie Scout Model (double-case) – S64743
© 2014, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.
- Spokane Daily Chronicle, Nov. 9, 1932 — this advertisement is also featured in the blog post. [↩]
- All About the Remie Scout, by Alan Seaver. [↩]
- Richard Polt offers a complete list here. [↩]
One interesting thing about these Remmies is that they often still have the mount holes for the luxuries like the end-of-line bell mechanism, and you *can* install these luxuries if you happen to have them from a parts higher-end Remington portable, although that would obviously affect it’s “originality”.
I’d also say that though the Scouts were made to a very restricted budget, they are very often extremely well-made. My own “Monarch” is among my favorite typers to write with and never feels cheaply made to me. I hope you can get ahold of one in good working order, sometime – they really are a treat. (:
You’re right, the Remie Scout is a solid machine; it’s not cheaply made. Compared to earlier Remington portables though, it does feel less substantial. It may be that the earlier machines were “over built.” One can tell that less material was employed in the Remie Scout.
I’ve noticed elsewhere that the Remie is sometimes described as a children’s typewriter, but, given its build quality, that description is somewhat misleading. The Remie is solid.
Just to second T. Munk’s thought: I enjoy writing with my Remie Scout Model. And, let’s not forget an added bonus: as a stripped down machine (mine is the no shift, no front frame, no return lever variety) it’s amazingly easy to fix.