The people’s press
Typewriters are durable, withstanding not only the pounding of fingers, but also political tumults and upheavals. “I would erect a monument to the typewriter,” declared Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, quoted in this fascinating piece about dissent and the Iron Curtain. Whether sitting in private collections or chattering in cafes, typewriters stand as monuments of free expression.
Typewriters are the people’s press.
Lately, I acquired a 1930s, Czech-made Remington, which was manufactured by Zeta (later Consul) and sold between 1932 and 1934, or thereabouts. I make no claims about this particular machine’s history, but unquestionably it endured much. I like to imagine that it was used to fight fascism.
Guns and typewriters
The history of Zeta/Consul spans two world wars and the Cold War. Founded as Zbrojovka Brno in 1918 (or 1919, depending on source), the company’s goals “were the rehabilitation, development and production of all kinds of weapons.”1 Its facilities were located “in an artillery workshop of the Austro-Hungarian army on the left bank of the Svitava in Brno-Židenice,”2 and it quickly expanded production to automobiles and typewriters. The company was known as “Zeta.”
A detailed (and, frankly, accurate) history of Zeta is difficult to attain, but it was involved heavily in typewriter manufacturing throughout its operations. The company also manufactured automobiles at some point. According to researcher Will Davis, Zeta began producing typewriters under license from Remington in 1932 — one year before the Nazis ascended in Germany and seven years before Germany partially annexed Czechoslovakia. It is not clear how long production of Remingtons persisted, but likely from 1932 through the mid-1930s.
Based on documentary footage, Zeta also manufactured the Remington Standard:
When it emerged from the war, Zeta introduced its own models — desktops in 1949 and portables in 1953 — generally under the Consul label, but also under the Zeta, Forto and Norwood labels.
Another Zeta Remington
This is a No. 3 type Remington typewriter, conceivably manufactured around the time of the Junior. (Note: This machine is currently offered on eBay from a seller in the Czech Republic.)
- Zbrojovka Brno from Wikipedia (German language)
- Československá Zbrojovka as (Zbrojovka Brno) from Typewriters.ch
- Consul portables, by Will Davis
- CONSUL portables 2: the small machines, by Will Davis
As seen at TypewriterDatabase.com.
© 2015, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.
- Zbrojovka Brno, Wikipedia (German language). [↩]
- “Consul,” http://www.typewriters.ch/collection/consul_portable.html. [↩]