Last year, I was excited to review a manual typewriter from Royal. Yes, you heard right – a manual typewriter. In 2012, the manual typewriter was declared dead. The death of the manual typewriter had been greatly exaggerated, as was proven when I reviewed the Royal Scrittore from Hammacher-Schlemmer. Unfortunately, my excitement turned to disappointment as I found the Scrittore just wasn’t up to snuff when compared with machines from years gone by. Fast forward a year or so later….
I decided to give Royal another chance as maybe quality control had improved since then. Again, the folks at Hammacher-Schlemmer were great to work with and sent me their newest model, the Royal Epoch, to review. As with the Scrittore, Hammacher-Schlemmer did a great job with packaging, and the wait time was minimal. The Epoch, like the Scrittore, comes with an Operator’s Manual.
It was easy to tell from the start Royal had indeed improved their quality control. The case is of better construction compared to the case of the Scrittore.
Upon opening the case, the first thing I noticed is that the Epoch is a larger typewriter with a wider carriage. As with the Scrittore, the same features are present: line space adjustment, manually set margins, page guide, paper stand to hold your paper in the back, a lever to select between regular, stencil, and red type as well as the repeat spacer.
One feature I was glad to see added was the touch selector. Many manual typewriters included this as a way for you to set how light or hard you wanted the touch of the keys to be. Selecting a light touch would mean you didn’t have to press the keys as hard, while selecting a heavy touch would mean you had to exert more force with each key press.
That’s where the simularities end. The Epoch’s construction is heavier and although still a little on the flimsy side in places, it’s evidently more robust than the Scrittore’s.
My main gripe with the Scrittore was that the typing experience needed work. The Scrittore had problems with the escapement (jumping anywhere from a space to three spaces). The alignment was badly off in the Scrittore. I’m pleased to say that Royal has definitely improved the typing experience. The escapement issues have been eliminated, as the Epoch didn’t jump a space. Backspacing has been improved, as the Epoch wouldn’t refuse to back up, where the Scrittore would at times. The alignment issues with the type that plagued the Scrittore are also gone on the Epoch.
The Epoch consistently delivered good, clear type. The Epoch improved on everything that was lacking on the Scrittore.
If you’re looking for a manual typewriter that’s all about getting the job done along with being durable to boot, look no further than the Royal Epoch. The Epoch is $50 more than the Scrittore retailed for due to being a larger typewriter, but given the quality control improvements, if you want a brand-spanking new manual typewriter, I recommend it. I rate the Royal Epoch five out of five.
The Epoch retails for $249.95 from Hammacher-Schlemmer.