Royal Futura 800

Royal Futura 800

Royal Futura 800 (1958)

If you were to judge a typewriter solely by its looks, then the Royal Futura 800 would be a winner. But when you start typing on this typewriter, it becomes quickly apparent that this is not the machine for the serious writer. However, what makes this typewriter unique is the typeface. It has a cool aesthetic that is whimsical and fun. The action is nice enough, just not real solid. It makes a hollow sort of sound, and does not fill you with confidence. Looking at the marketing materials, suggests that it was intended for the home user with only the occasional typing needs. And with a wide range of colors, the Royal Futura 800 is sure to fit with any home decor. It’s great to look at, but when you start banging out words, you’re left with an empty feeling. I’m not sure why it feels this way, since the typewriter feels solid and heavy and has the rugged Royal name. It’s a user-friendly machine, with clearly marked buttons for setting margins and columns. They’re labelled “Magic” as if there’s a little genie living inside your typewriter, ready to do your bidding. But the magic fades when you start typing. If your writing project is not too ambitious, then it’s a fine typewriter with loads of style. And again, that killer typeface! Way cool. That alone is worth the price.

Dahl Poem


  1. As a typewriter engineer of over forty years now I really have to disagree with this article.

    I have both rebuilt and personally used several Futura’s over the years and they really are absolutely beautiful machines to use if the carriage has not been knocked heavily in the past and if they are serviced and set up correctly. The hollow feel you have described when typing can often be atributed to many things such as wear in the ribbon reverse pawl and/or a worn or hardened platen which no longer absorbs the shock of the slugs.

    Another problem we often hear of now from those people new to buying older typewriters is the the noise or sound of the machine itself and of the variation in typeface clarity without ever considering that it is their own erratic four fingered typing skills which are often discovered to be the culprit even when the platen is found to be in excellent order.

    Typists use all ten fingers. Amatuers often three of four at most, and forget the keys have to be sharply and snappily struck and not lightly tapped

    Rarely are slugs to be found off their feet (not striking the platen squarely) but of course, if the platen has been resurfaced in the past and is the original, that also causes a lot of clarity problems, as do both portable and business machines that have been used for cutting old Roneo stencils as the wax in the stencil papers often caused the platens to swell unevenly over the years.

    Remember, none of these faults will be obvious when you buy online, particularly from machines sold on the free ads pages or auction websites so be warned that although any classic machine may well look great from a picture, it may still run like a three legged dog and be a costly mistake when you finally get to type on it so always insist on seeing at least a sentence which has been previously typed on the particular machine before buying – and also ask to see if the machine is in correct alignment with both capital and lower case letters such as Hh Mm Ee etc


    • I just bought my first typewriter today at an antique shop. I know nothing about typewriters, I just was hoping to find one someday and didn’t have much money to spend. I bought a Royal Futura 800 in the dusty-bluish color for 30 dollars. It appeared to look good, but didn’t know how to use it or if it actually worked. I took it home and my dad tinkered with it a bit and we’ve found that it does work and appears to be in good shape. We have been able to type a bit on it, but it will need to be cleaned. If you have any advice about this machine that might prove helpful, I’d appreciate it!

  2. Thanks for the review, good info. I agree, that typeface is reason alone to seek out Futuras. The typeface is apparently called “Merit”, and was the “standard” typeface on most Futuras. However, as Mark above points out, there were many other typefaces available. I find the Futura an eminently enjoyable typewriter; it’s no Quiet Deluxe, but then again, not many other typewriters are either.

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