Long before newfandangled contraptions known as word processors and eventually the Macintosh, and even longer before the iPhone and iPad, the manual typewriter reigned supreme for getting your muse from thoughts to paper. Tactile key action was king here. You had to apply a greater deal of force to each letter you struck compared to the keyboards of today, but with each letter you struck, you were met with a satisfying thunk. You knew without a doubt you struck that key.
In those times, you had to actually think about what you wanted to type because there was no Undo function, short of white-out, correction tape or a correcting ribbon. At the end of the day however, you felt satisfied with doing an honest day’s work of writing. One would think with the modern advancements of technology, the manual typewriter would no longer be produced. Well, not quite.
As time and technology has marched on, the manual typewriter has become all but a distant memory to most folks. For those who long for a simpler time or have the nostalgic itch, all is not lost. The manual typewriter still lives in 2013! Despite rumors to the contrary published last year, the manual typewriter is still being made. That typewriter is called the Royal Scrittore. So, does the Royal Scrittore measure up to the machines of grace from yesteryear? Let’s see…
First off, this particular Scrittore came from Hammacher Schlemmer – www.hammacher.com. They do an excellent job with getting your order shipped to you. The Scrittore came well packaged.
The Scrittore includes a cover which is made of an adequately durable plastic. Upon removing the cover, you’re presented with the Scrittore encased in a plastic housing. For those of you who are familiar with manual typewriters, you will find a line space adjustment, margins which are set manually, a page guide, a popup ‘bar’ to keep your paper from slouching in the rear, a lever to select between regular type, stencil type, and red type. You will also find in addition to the regular space bar, a repeat spacer. When you press and hold it down, the carriage will continue moving to the right at a rapid pace until you let go. I’ve found the repeat spacer to be quite useful.
As to the overall construction of the Scrittore… it isn’t the best I’ve seen among the manual typewriters I have used over the years, but it gets the job done nonetheless.
How does the Scrittore type? In short, it needs work. A big problem I found was how the Scrittore will periodically jump a space, especially while typing fast, sometimes jumping two to three spaces. This is purely a lack of quality control and alignment from the factory. This also includes when you need to backspace, sometimes it will refuse. There are also alignment issues with the type, but thankfully, they aren’t too bad. The actual typing experience is decent, but could be better.
All in all, the Royal Scrittore shows promise, but due to lack of quality control, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Despite its flaws, I find it admirable that Royal is willing to produce a manual typewriter in a world of iPads and iPhones. If Royal can iron out the quality control issues, the Scrittore will definitely be a winner. Here’s hoping Royal will improve on the Scrittore in a future revision. I give the Royal Scrittore three out of five Macs.
The Scrittore retails for $199.95 from Hammacher Schlemmer.
Addendum: Since this review was written, I have learned Royal has replaced the Scrittore with the Scrittore II, which retails for $199.95 from Hammacher Schlemmer.