The Typewriter Database

To find out when your typewriter was made, start by choosing the brand from the select box below.

Select Brand:

Green Serial #'s • Black notes, no #'s • Grey no info.


From the Virtual Typewriter Collection of Hans Boersma:
1977 Optima M16

Typeface Specimen:

qr code

1977 Optima M16
Serial #

Status: My Collection
Created: 12-11-2016 at 07:10AM
Last Edit: 01-28-2017 at 10:43AM

Optima Serial Numbers
Optima Typewriter Galleries
Optima M16 Typewriter Galleries


Built in the former German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR) by VEB Optima Büromaschinenwerk Erfurt.

German keyboard (qwertz), Pica typeface (ten-pitch), five line-spacing settings, keyboard touch regulator, four-colour ribbon selector, keyset and decimal tabulator, s p e r r s a t z - key, typebar unblocking key, extending paper support with scale. Weight: 17,3 kg.

The M16 was produced from 1965 to 1977. The year of manufacture of this machine is an educated guess: between 1977 and 1985 Optima standards were co-branded "daro" (officially without capital letter), standing for "Datenverarbeitung, Automatisierung, Rationalisierung, Organisation" (1). This machine also carries the "daro" logo. For successive models the Optima brand was abandoned altogether, first in favour of daro, then Robotron.

It arrived from Germany badly damaged during transport, but with some effort I managed to restore it to operational status. The Model 16 is a remarkably heavy typewriter even though plastic parts were used to shed some of the M14's weight, apparently. Also remarkably heavy I found its key action, but to my surprise this improved significantly when I lowered the tension on the mainspring.

A charmingly unpretty machine and a pleasant typer once you get used to its bouncy touch. Probably due to the amount of work I had to put into it I've grown rather fond of this rehabilitated DDR relic.


(1) S. Junge et al. "Entwicklung und Produktion von Erzeugnissen der Schreibtechnik im Kombinat Robotron", Dresden 2008, p. 22.


 3 Hunters Like this gallery.

Hans Boersma
Username: Java68

I'm not a collector. Or well, I try not to be one anyway. Typewriters should be used IMHO, and how to choose from an increasingly anonymous multitude? There is much to say for having just one typewriter, and sticking to it.

But then again, there are so much beautiful and interesting typewriters out there, all with their own character and historical background... So I refer to my modest collection as "the machine park" and do my best to keep it from becoming a multitude.

I decidedly favour standard-size typewriters: large office workhorses that throw their considerable weight behind one's labours. Nicely over-dimensioned machines with a more than agreeable keyboard touch and a business-like appearance. Ready for any job.

I enjoy looking at "typewriter porn" on sites such as these, which provide an adequate substitute to having a larger collection myself. So... thank you for showing me yours!

1977 Optima M16 Photo Gallery

Click a thumbnail to view slideshow