Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Royal Caravan (or Fleetwood?) Portable Typewriter

Hello again !
To redeem myself from the few postings in the last days here is my second post of the day !!
A Royal Caravan (or, according to this site a fleetwood?   if you happened to know more about this feel free to leave a comment !!) typewriter.  In my collection this is the third typewriter I bought online from the U.S. 

I don't do this often but as my favorite typewriters are these from the 60s-70s this was too good to pass on ! According to Machines of Loving Grace this design was influenced by Danish design:

"For better or worse, some things are an unmistakable reflection of their era. The Fleetwood, not content with just an accent of fake wood grain, had its entire upper half styled in fake wood grain. For good measure, its very square clamshell lid is, also. And because Danish Moderne lines and fake wood grain weren't hip enough, the lid had a transistor radio built into it, too."

In terms of writing it is really a very good typewriter. I am not very happy about some of the yellow keys  but overall it is a nice piece for both display and real writing !

Obviously the wood is just plastic and the whole typewriter, apparently made in Japan, is not suitable if you dislike the material.  Personally, with the two Orange Hermes and the Valentine, I have started to like the plastic bodies as they make the typewriter much lighter. Obviously it might not be as durable as a metal typewriter like the brosette but I still like them a lot. 

The closed view matches the woody body 

Few keys are pretty yellow..

But overall a good specimen !

Pretty standard Pica yet nice typeface. Perhaps Royal Pica is unique to Royal typewriters ??

I hope that you enjoyed this post and that in case you wonder the floor that I used as background is real wood and not plastic :) !!


  1. It reminds me of my beloved first clock radio, circa 1975.

    I think this is a Japanese Silver-Seiko machine, like the less fancy looking Royal Mercury. They are good little typewriters.

  2. Wow, two posts in one day! We are very lucky :)

    This looks interesting - definitely Royal fully committed to the 70s aesthetic here. I have always wondered about the uneven yellowing on Royal keys of this era - it is really quite odd!

    So, does this have a transistor radio built-in???

  3. Hello ! glad that you liked the posts. It certainly motivates me to post more ! Strangely this one doesn't have the radio. I have checked some other on sale but none seems to have it. Perhaps the Caravan was the model without Radio and the Fleetwood had the radio ? Perhaps Richard knows :)

    As a typewriter seems very efficient and hey as an eye catcher it certainly does its job !!

  4. I honestly have no idea the differences between a Fleetwood and a Caravan. And I don't think that the radio was standard with any model. I've seen both these models plus Sprites and one other whose name I forget both with and without radios in the lid.

    Mine once had a radio, but it's missing. :-(

  5. Is it just me or is the idea of a radio in a typewriter case absolutely amazing? The only better thing would be a clock!

  6. Hey, I am from Germany. Unfortunately I couldn't find your eMail Adress. So I've got a few questions:
    I could buy an Olympia Splendid 33, Hermes Baby (from the 50s), and Groma Kolibri. Maybe later an Olivetti Lettera 22.

    I am looking for an comfortable, easy to use and portable typewriter, which should be practical and with a good font. I like the Design of the Hermes Baby and its slim form. What do you think about it?
    Which machine is best? And which is best for fast and comfortable typing?


  7. Hello Marcel - Personally my top choices, in that order, would be the Lettera 22, Hermes Baby, Olympia, and Kolibri.

    David - you'll never believe what I just saw on eBay Germany! A Royal Caravan with the radio:


  8. I adore that wood paneling finish!

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  10. Hello Marcel,
    Among your options I do think that the Hermes Baby would be the best. The Groma Kolibri is a good option too but much depends on the conditions: I do have some Kolibri that are very stiff and not so comfortable to write with. Others are really great but still the Hermes touch is really special. The Olivetti Lettera 22 is among my favorites too as, again, in terms of writing experience is really great !

  11. Good Post! Very informative, glad that you are going to continue writing things like this!

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  12. Love the wood panel. Its rare to see these kinds of typewriters this day of age.

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