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Home » Hermes » Ambassador » 1960 #870194
1960 Hermes Ambassador Serial # 870194 1960 Hermes Ambassador typewriter, Serial # 870194 Jonathan Crowe's 1960 Hermes Ambassador typewriter. 2022-12-06 From the Virtual Typewriter Collection of Jonathan Crowe: 1960 Hermes Ambassador Serial # 870194 This Hermes Ambassador, which was apparently owned by a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, has a puzzling keyboard. Even though the Ambassador has 46 keys, this one doesn't have fractions, currency symbols, or the at, number or percent keys. What it has instead is extremely interesting.

It has an æ key but not an å or ø key. It has the thorn (þ), eth (∂) and even the ezh (ʒ). It also has a seemingly full set of diacritics on three dead keys: it has acute, grave, circumflex, cedilla, diaresis (umlaut) and, for some reason, an ogonek, but not a caron (haček). It also has square brackets.

I could not for the life of me figure out what language would use this character set but not need other characters or diacritics, and on a QWERTY keyboard to boot. Old Norse? Icelandic? Best guess was that this was a special order—so special that some of the keycaps seem to be done by hand--for a professor studying the sagas in Old Norse, Old Icelandic and/or Old English, and needing a nearly one-of-a-kind keyboard to match his work. I have added the first four lines of Beowulf to the type sample to reflect this hypothesis.

This is a typewriter that belongs in the hands of a fantasy writer. Fortunately I am one.

Bought from its second owner in Kingston, Ontario, in early December 2022. Elite (12.7 cpi) typeface. Needs a bit of cleaning and maintenance—the space bar is a bit askew, but that's more cosmetic than a functional hindrance. It works very very very well. This is the first standard we've gotten that works right out of the gate. All we've done so far is put a silk ribbon in it.

1960 Hermes Ambassador #870194

Status: My Collection
Hunter: Jonathan Crowe (mcwetboy)
Created: 12-05-2022 at 07:02PM
Last Edit: 12-06-2022 at 01:28PM


Description:

This Hermes Ambassador, which was apparently owned by a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, has a puzzling keyboard. Even though the Ambassador has 46 keys, this one doesn't have fractions, currency symbols, or the at, number or percent keys. What it has instead is extremely interesting.

It has an æ key but not an å or ø key. It has the thorn (þ), eth (∂) and even the ezh (ʒ). It also has a seemingly full set of diacritics on three dead keys: it has acute, grave, circumflex, cedilla, diaresis (umlaut) and, for some reason, an ogonek, but not a caron (haček). It also has square brackets.

I could not for the life of me figure out what language would use this character set but not need other characters or diacritics, and on a QWERTY keyboard to boot. Old Norse? Icelandic? Best guess was that this was a special order—so special that some of the keycaps seem to be done by hand--for a professor studying the sagas in Old Norse, Old Icelandic and/or Old English, and needing a nearly one-of-a-kind keyboard to match his work. I have added the first four lines of Beowulf to the type sample to reflect this hypothesis.

This is a typewriter that belongs in the hands of a fantasy writer. Fortunately I am one.

Bought from its second owner in Kingston, Ontario, in early December 2022. Elite (12.7 cpi) typeface. Needs a bit of cleaning and maintenance—the space bar is a bit askew, but that's more cosmetic than a functional hindrance. It works very very very well. This is the first standard we've gotten that works right out of the gate. All we've done so far is put a silk ribbon in it.

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Hunter: Jonathan Crowe (mcwetboy)

Jonathan Crowe's Typewriter Galleries [ My Collection ] [ My Sightings ]

Status: Typewriter Hunter
Points: 292

Jonathan Crowe blogs about maps at The Map Room and writes about science fiction and fantasy; his work has been published by AE, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Strange Horizons and Tor.com. He lives in Shawville, Quebec.



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