3 de marzo de 2014

Ransmayer & Rodrian catalogue, and how to use it

"Ladies and gentlemen, the moment we have all been waiting for..." (Pulp Fiction, 1994). After several installments introducing aspects of the Alfred Ransmayer & Albert Rodrian production line, I am happy and proud to present the dear readers with the RaRo company catalogue from 1928/29. This has been made possible by a joint effort of the typosphere (Marlies, Rob, Richard, Ted, and myself) and with the kind permission of the copyright holder. Thanks again to everyone involved!

The 1928 catalogue was issued two years after the firms Alfred Ransmayer and Albert Rodrian were formally united under one rooftop. It contains the full RaRo product line of the time, which are regular type, special type, but also keys and keytops.

- download from typewriters.ch
(it will also be made available from the typewriterdatabase.com)

Now we have the catalogue - it's fantastic, because it will allow us to identify the exact specifications of a type, starting from typewriter mounted with RaRo type near you (I am sure also readers outside Europe will have many of those in their collection). You might need a magnifying glass, but if the type is from RaRo, you will find a letter / two letters, plus a number, e.g. "AR 1". This, in combination with the catalogue, is all you need.

As has been mentioned before, even after the fusion of the two companies, the former Ransmayer (Ra) and Rodrian (Ro) production lines were kept up, down to the continuous use of two logos. Type from the former Ransmayer production would bear the "R" mark, whereas Rodrian was "AR". Confusing, isn't it? This means that for correctly identifying the RaRo type used, you need to read not only the number but also the R or AR mark.

how to read the RaRo types: LEFT: Ro(drian) 1, RIGHT: Ra(nsmayer) 58. The reason why two brands are used within the same company is that Ransmayer and Rodrian were separate companies in the beginning.
So far, so good. Now let's practice a bit with our newly acquired base document and skills. This weekend I went type-hunting at Villa Müslischreck and Schreibmaschinenmuseum Beck. Here is what I found:

"AR 42" = "42 Ro" in the catalogue, p. 36. Column 3 of the entry states the numbers "1, 2, 3, 15, 41". These correspond to the typewriter systems given earlier in the catalogue (pp. 19 - 21). "1" for example means that you could order this black letter font for Alexander, Allen, Amata, A.M.C., Atlantia, Commercial, Continental ETC. typewriters.   
 See the logic? Let's continue.

"AR 17" = "17 Ro" in the catalogue, p. 23. Available for category 1 typewriters, so: Alexander, Allen, Amata, A.M.C., Atlantia, Commercial, Continental ETC. In fact, this type is from later typewriter, a Patria from the late 1930s. 

"75° AR". In the 1928 catalogue, we find a "75 Ra" on page 34. However, it looks slightly different. Given that this is a much later typewriter (Erika daro, post WWII), RaRo must have added it later.

So what is the little ring next to the number? Certainly not degree Fahrenheit. According to my knowledge, RaRo marked type for platens with smaller diametre this way. Of course the angle was different for larger or smaller contours, as the type hit at a different angle. Mostly, thus, you find the little ring on portable typewriters (but not on all of them).  

"AR 1" = "1 Ro" in the catalogue, p. 26. A classic font, and available for a large range of typewriters. The example shown is from a Hermes 2 standard typewriter from the 1920s, i.e. a contemporary example for this font. It is interesting in the Swiss context, as at the time there was no national type production in Switzerland, so the company bought their type with RaRo. Later on, Paillard, the Hermes company, would use Swiss SETAG type.

"58 Ra" (I start to read it correctly now, letters first) = "58 Ra" in the catologue, p. 26. Three letters on one typeslug, and this rightly is from a 1920s ROFA typewriter.

"AR" = "Ro", but no number to be found! This is from a very early Erika (folding). Probably at the time no numbering for this type from the Rodrian company. I need to retrieve the Erika serial number ("never leave home without it") to get information on the precise production year.

"AR 7°" = "7 Ro" on a portable typewriter.  Catalogue p. 24. Found on a Gossen Tippa.

"1° AR" = "1 Ro" on a portable typewriter. It is a Triumph portable (rrrhh, forgot to take down the serial number, need to go back to Alfred's).

"R 58" = "58 Ra" in the catalogue, p. 26. Found on a Senta portable, model built from 1913.

"AR 367" = "367 Ro". Not found in the 1928 catalogue, so the font probably stems from later. This was found on a rare typewriter, a Matouš portable, # 47180. 
This is it for today, I hope you had fun - now go type-hunting yourself!

7 comentarios:

  1. The Great Type-Hunt begins! :D

  2. My new grail… Mercator Schrift. I bet it's going to be pretty impossible.

  3. Great photos! I begin to see the fun of the detective at work.

  4. Thank you for all your work and for sharing the catalog. It is a fantastic resource.
    Great type slug photos.

  5. I'm excited about this - great job guys!

  6. Super valuable! This information adds a whole new dimension to the exploration of our machines.

  7. Pioneering work! Thanks for all the hard work.