Hermes Rocket (1970s)
The first thing you notice about a Hermes Rocket typewriter is its compact size and quality workmanship. The Swiss have definitely mastered the art and craft of the small form-factor. But what really distinguishes Hermes from most typewriters is its unique style. From its ultra-chic lines to its soothing sea foam colored shell, there’s nothing like the sight of a Hermes. It’s not only good to look at, but is one of the most solid typewriters out there.
This 1970s model of the Rocket represents the pinnacle of ultra-portable typewriters. Despite its size, the keys are big and round and easy to strike. By comparison, the Olivetti Lettera 32, while a solid portable typewriter, has thin, flat keys. And if it’s portability you seek, the Rocket’s snap-on shell makes it easy to toss in a bag and hop on the next flight to Istanbul. Unlike the Lettera’s zippered vinyl case that feels cheap and doesn’t stand up to the kind of abuse you can throw at a Rocket. This little baby is ready to go on any adventure.
It’s also the typewriter for the laptop generation. If you’re a writer who wants a typewriter by your side, keep this little wonder under your desk and pull it out when the mood strikes. It’ll feel like you’re using a laptop, it’s that small and easy to use. Most other portable typewriters will feel big and clumsy once you get going with the Rocket.
And going you will. This thing is a speed demon. The keys have a lightness to them and the typebars strike the platen with authority. The carriage return handle stands at attention nicely and is easy to catch with your fingers. Rolling paper into the Rocket feels precise as it makes a reassuring clicking sound, muted, yet telling you this machine means business. To keep unwanted noises to a minimum, Hermes has lined the inside of the rocket with a sound dampening felt pad.
After three decades of making the Rocket typewriter, Hermes has achieved perfection. It’s a big, useful typewriter in the smallest possible size. Not only can it handle short dispatches from the field, but you can easily tackle a full-length manuscript.