Triumph Perfekt

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Triumph PerfektWhen I hear the word Triumph, I’m thinking motorcycle. And no, if you’re wondering if this typewriter was made by Triumph Motorcycles of England, take a closer look at the spelling of perfect. That’s right, mein amigo, this typewriter was made in Germany. 

But there is one thing these two machines have in common — they fly! Just a touch of the throttle is all you’ll need on this typewriter. The keys are light and responsive. Besides the Torpedo typewriter, every German typewriter I’ve tried from the 1950s has the heavier carriage shift. But that’s about the only thing that’ll slow you down on the Perfekt. You’ll easily gain momentum with each silky return of the carriage. The handle stands out strong and catches perfectly in your fingers. And if you’re the type of writer who likes a handsome machine, the brown and beige curves are just stylish enough without being a distraction.

Sounding good so far? Well, here’s the downside, and perhaps I’m trolling in deeper waters for more exotic game, Triumph typewriters were not heavily exported from Germany. Which means you’ll most likely find them with the QWERTZ keyboard layout. If writing in English is your thing, you might need to rewire your brain. But if you’re not worried about producing final draft copy, let the Y and Z fall as they may. You’ll be able to figure out the meaning. But wait, Sherlock, you might’ve noticed the one in this review has the QWERTY layout. Indeed it does! Maybe that’s why I’m rather fond of this typewriter. It’s got the great guts of German engineering with the finger friendly Americano layout, or wherever English is written.

Lastly, you might be wondering, how does it compare with its more well known cousin, the Olympia SM3? While the vaunted SM3 is mechanical perfection, the Perfekt feels more responsive, the carriage a tad lighter. And like the SM3, it’s loud compared to the quiet Americans. Then again, the Germans never promised silence and perhaps wanted their typewriters to stand out from the crowd. Get the thick felt pad and you’ll cut the decibels in half.


  1. You really don’t like the carriage shift! Getting accustomed to the QWERTZ keyboard isn’t that bad. In some ways, I actually prefer it. If someone is hesitant about buying a pristine German machine because of the QWERTZ layout, I tell them to just get it. The rest of the machine will more than compensate.

    1. Nichts matches the solid typing feel of an ERIKA, but they are heavy to the touch and therefore not the best choice when it comes to fast writing. This machine has a much lighter and responsive touch, much like the Olympias.

  2. I agree this is a nice machine. Generally, the more I get into other German Machines besides Olympia, the more I prefer them. The Torpedo is the finest one I’ev come across

    1. This may sound blasphemous, but I’ll aver that the Triumph Perfekt from the late 50s, early 60s (& Gabriel, et al), along with the previous generation, can stand toe to toe with a Torpedo/Bluebird any day. Complete rockets with a feather-light return, responsive touch, great lines. As good as it gets. And QWERTZ? An easy adjustment–you’re locked in before you complete the first page. In fact, it’s a plus because so many Americans & other English speakers get scared off, leaving more available machines, often at somewhat reasonable prices.

      1. I have an Adler Primus with Imperial elite pitch that’s very similar to the Perfekt, and it’s my favorite machine when compared to my SM-3, SM-9, Silent Super, Olivetti Underwood 21, etc. I had an opportunity to switch rapidly between the Primus, a Torpedo 18b and a Hermes 3000 recently. I like the Primus better than all of them. My wife preferred the Torpedo, but that was, in part, because it was a script typeface. The Primus isn’t as luxurious to use as the SM-3, Torpedo or Hermes, but damn, the touch is light and fast.

  3. I just received a 1958 Triumph Perfekt. I have a quite a few typewriters now – Smith Corona Skyriter, Silent Super, Clipper, Rheinmetall KST, Olympia SM2, Olivetti Studio 44, Swissa, even a Triumph Gabriele 1 – I only say this in order to say – of all these machines – all of which I love – the Perfekt is pretty much perfect. I think it is the pretty bulk and precision of the keys – and well, pretty much everything else, right down to the structure of the case, which slides and locks absolutely and logically, more than pretty much any other I have. If you can track down this model in good shape, I super heartily recommend it.

  4. I just bought a 1962 Perfekt with QWERTY keyboard and metal case, with Dutch manual and three brushes for 35 euro. It types perfectly, so that’s another keeper. I still have to compare it with my Olympias (Progress and SM4/7/9) but the typing is indeed responsive and mine is in top condition. The serial number is 3042979, which puts it at early 1962, although the database starts the serial numbers at 3045000.

  5. I picked up a Triumph Perfekt De JUR, and it is very similar to the Adler Primus that I have. Nearly identical in terms of feel, in fact. They are my favorite machines, even compared to Torpedo/Bluebird, Hermes and Olympias. The Triumph and Adler don’t feel as luxurious or feel as refined (except for the smooth carriage return) and they don’t look as classy, but I enjoy typing on them more. The De JUR is relatively quiet, but it sounded a little clattery. I damped the universal bar with some cork, and that got rid of the clattery sound. It’s easy to adjust the shift spring tension on these machines if you want a lighter shift. They don’t have a touch control, but it can be lightened (they already have a light touch) by making a little link with a staple to lengthen the spring that returns the universal bar. You can’t go too far or the ribbon vibrator doesn’t retract fully.

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