Tippa S Portable Typewriter By Grundig - Adler
I was at my mother's house needing to type something up. I had my computer with me, but it was useless without a printer. Luckily after some rummaging around in the basement I unearthed this teeny-tiny Tippa S portable from Grundig. After getting re-accustomed to punching the manual keyboard (quite a change from pussyfooting around on a laptop), I hammered out a few uneven lines to save the day.
The Tippa S was manufactured under the Adler banner, though the only mention of this is on the machine itself. The manual lists the manufacturer as Grundig, the radio & electronics giant. I had no idea they'd offered office goods as well, but then I remembered that Bolex film cameras were handled by Paillard – another maker of typewriters. Perhaps back then it made sense to have manufacturers of expensive and sophisticated technology handle typewriters as well, though today your board of directors would warn against straying from “core competencies”.
I found myself marveling at the compactness of the Tippa S, especially considering the machine's age. Portable typewriters (called “traveling typewriters” in Europe) weren't usually all that portable. Remember that this machine hails from a time when mechanical miniaturization was a real feat – this design remarkably dating back to 1948. This particular model is a 1960's modification of the original spec that went on to win a number of German and Italian design awards. It's such a successful and efficient design that variants of it are still being manufactured in China today.
The manual has helpful hints illustrated by a little bellhop standing next to the typewriter pointing out its key features. These little instructional vignettes divulge the machine's roots in German precision. Encouraging you to use the margin guide, the little bellhop explains, “There's sense in uniformity!”. There are other cheerful and casual instructions in the manual – the space bar is explained thus, “Need we say anything about this one? It just moves the carriage along and is called the space bar”. You know, there is such a thing as being TOO friendly...
So here's a case where the retro solution was the right one. I could either have driven to a friend's house to use their printer, or in less than five minutes I could type out the document that my mother needed. A device's age doesn't necessarily make it totally useless. I'm not giving up my laptop, but it'll be nice to bang out occasional notes on the Tippa S with a little extra style.
As the manual says: “It's easy if you know the know-how!”
Link to an expanded history of the Tippa S (and many more!)