In the world of writing, there’s a rich history of both mechanical and traditional innovations, but one such advancement is considered as a cornerstone in the evolution of writing is the typewriter. Invented in the 1800’s initially, these machines revolutionised documents and quickly became the primary tool for writing content, allowing documents to be created with unparalleled consistency and style at the time. Being the favoured tool of some authors in modern day, the mechanical typewriter is considered a cornerstone of engineering and writing even today.
The typewriter today
With a high demand, even now, for a high quality vintage typewriter, it’s easy to see why Moya’s inventions were so successful. A number of people still favour a typewriter now for their document creation, preferring the simplicity and familiarity of their vintage machines. Despite modern alternatives, a wide variety of people love typewriters as both a vintage item and a daily driver for content creation – favouring the traditional style that comes with using one, valuing the connection these traditional devices hold in language.
That love for the tradition of typewriters is shared by some well-known writers too – Wilbert Awdry, the creator of Thomas the Tank Engine proudly shows his Model 66 in a number of photos of his study, alongside best-selling author Enid Blyton and her Imperial Good Companion (the Model D). These authors, alongside many others cherish their mechanical typewriter and in some cases have used them to illustrate their infamous stories.
Although now considered vintage typewriter, Imperial typewriters were manufactured by the Imperial Typewriter Company. Based in Leicester, the company was established in 1911 and manufactured typewriters for some time, until the introduction of more modern technologies became commonplace. The founder, Hidalgo Moya, initially developed the Moya typewriter and acquired backing to open a factory in Leicester where he refined his invention and manufactured more for sale.
Unfortunately, both the first and second model of the Moya typewriter were unsuccessful due to complications in development. Backed with the help of two local businessmen, Moya created a third model known as the Imperial Model A, leaving the Imperial Typewriter Company as one of the world’s leading manufacturers.
In 1911, the Model A began its production of over 8,000 models, and kickstarted the company into its revolutionary climb. Featuring a curved keyboard and modular design, the Model A could be repaired when needed by replacing the type basket or keyboard. The reign of the Model A would continue until 1915, when its successor, the Model B, was released. It inherited the same basic design and form of the Model A, except it featured a second shift key, and a backspace, which would move the carriage back on the current line by one space, allowing the user to overwrite a mistake. This could be used in tandem with white out ribbon, a more modern innovation which allows for a mistake to be covered over, similar to the idea of ‘TipEx’
Following the companies success with the Model B, Moya produced a portable variant – the Model D (or the Imperial Portable). Featuring the same design as its predecessors, only with a straight keyboard, the Model D was intended to be a much more portable device, with the same modular design and features as the B. The Model 66 was a later refinement based on the success of the Model B and D, boasting an interchangeable keyset to accommodate for different languages and even easier access to the ribbon of the typewriter. This accommodation for various different users meant that Moya’s products could easily meet the requirements of a variety of customers, leading to more sales and further booming the business.