Royal Parade

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I like tiny & tidy. We bought a tiny teardrop camper last spring. We recently moved to a tiny house, for us at least. We have one of those tiny Dyson cordless vacuum wonders for daily dust & dander. So when I saw this Royal Parade, I had to get it. The name plate says, Made in Holland, so as not to confuse the average gringo. The Netherlands? What’s that? Perhaps I’m not the only one who imagines the place of origin influences an object. Just ask Apple, who insists on labeling their products: “Designed in California,” as if designed in the USA might mean Muncie, Indiana. I’ve never been to Holland, I mean the Netherlands, but I imagine it a place of free expression, abundant bicycles and good beer, all admired ingredients when establishing a typewriter operation.

In many ways, the Parade reminds me of the Royal Futura. It has a similar shape and comes in different colors, though not as many as the Futura. I got the uninspiring beige & beige model. The Futura didn’t get a favorable review, despite my excitement about its design. It worked well enough, but for any long bouts of writing, just wasn’t up to snuff. The Parade is a better typer than the Futura, but it’s no Lettera.

The Parade is heavy. In fact, they put a sticker on the back that says, “Rugged Royal. All-metal structural design.” Typing in a coffee shop when a gun fight breaks out? No problemo, the Parade doubles as body armor. It’s that solid. Reminds me of some of the heftier models out of East Germany where they measured typewriter quotas in weight not quantity. Not only is the typewriter heavy, so is the carriage shift. Much more so than other ultra-portables. That’s my main gripe with the ultra-portable, most are carriage shifted. This is OK, since they’re small and light. But the Parade is chunky and loud. Even my wife came downstairs wondering why I was tenderizing meat so early in the morning. No, it’s this carriage shift! Whatever, just keep it down I’m on a Zoom call.

The keys and carriage work smoothly, but for a typewriter this solid, they feel flimsy and thin. The plastic shelled Lettera 31 feels sturdier. It’s like they used all the metal on the shell and didn’t have any leftovers for the guts. The Parade is good if your top typewriter is too big to haul to camp or coffee house and all you need is to dash off a few quick letters or a One Typed Page submission. Yeah, a Hermes Rocket would be mucho better, but if you’re on a budget, you should be able to snag a Parade for much less. It works. It’s small. It’s a decent typewriter, just not top of the class.

6 comments

  1. Nice Machine Dan. I have a Royalite which is essentially the same machine without the tab feature. You are right, they are heavy indeed, but pretty tough too. When I last visited with Paul at Bremerton Office Machine Company https://typespec.com he told me the Hermes Rocket was a nice machine, but pretty flimsy. He warned that if I had one and dropped it, that would be its demise. The Royal, on the other hand could take out an enemy outpost in one blow. If I dropped it I would probably cause a crack in the Earth. 🙂

    1. So it seems. I had a 196X (probably 1963) Royal Signet (Same machine, different name.) A few years ago at the beginning of my collecting. It was $25 USD locally in the case, which is brown and creme pleather, with plastic lined innards. It was a great machine. I used it often. It had no issues and was loud of course.

      But, one day I decided to take it somewhere, and the case latch didn’t fully lock. The typewriter fell on it’s carriage back, 2 feet from tabletop to floor. Sadly, the carriage strap broke from the jolt, and the carriage rack bent. (I can’t remember if the rack teeth were broken or not, I just remember them being bent.)

      I tried several repairs and reforming of each ruined piece. It was not fixable. It now resides a parts machine, so when I get another I will oil the case lock and use that old one for spares. Very little paint was scratched/lost from the fall.

  2. Oh my! I need it. I’m a big fan of the Futuras, so seeing it squashed into this tiny form is delightful. The Royal Forward I looks very similar, but perhaps not as common?

  3. I want a Royal portable someday, somewhat for namesake alone, but it seems as though it won’t be the Parade.

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