Over 50 and still attractive: Groma Kolibri

I have seen the great German movie The Lives of Others a few years ago which gave an important role to a Kolibri portable typewriter in the story. One of my old dreams came true when I recently found and purchased a beautiful black Groma Kolibri.
Groma produced these machines from 1955 to 1962 and they were available in many different colors. I'm lucky with this black, since it's pretty elegant with no doubt. Mine has the serial number 561 568 on the bottom. I think it's made before 1959 and I can be correct if we assume the numbers were increasing as the time went by and also accept that the Kolibri on the Netherlandish Schrijfmachinist site is made in 1959 with the serial number 632 950 which is definetly larger than mine. There's no guarantee I'm correct of course: very little information is available on this.
Just like my Brother Deluxe, it weights 4 kg but it's smaller at the same time. Its height is only 6.5 cm which is quite impressive. Just compare the size to this standard 9V battery:
The machine is neither too large horizontally: 29 cm x 28 cm. It worths a note that in The Lives of Others there's a writing analyzer expert who states that these machines are 19.5 cm x 9 cm x 19.5 cm large which sounds good, but in reality, it would be incovinient to type on such a small typewriter.
It was interesting to notice that one of the two ribbon spools is made of metal. Too bad that my machine misses the right-side platen knob (otherwise it's in great condition, as you can tell from the pictures). I was thinking about getting another, not-so-good-looking Kolibri and use the knob from there, but the only Kolibris I found at this moment were quite expensive: one of them is on an auction site with 4900 Ft starting price and another one for 10000 Ft ($21 and $43, respectively). The first one is in pretty bad condition even from judging by the pictures so it doesn't worth the price ($20 just for the knob is not a good deal), the second one looks too nice to get the knob off from it, moreover it has a German keyboard layout which I don't really like, so it's not good to have it as a typewriter either. And hey, it's not a computer to be able to install a new charset! And both of them are green. After some time I also realized that the knob is colored to the same color as the machine so green machines have green knob, etc. I think it will take a very long time to see any black Kolibris again, if I ever meet one of these beauties in the future.
Under the missing knob, just below the machine you'll find a little lever. These machines don't reverse automatically the direction of the ribbon when you reach the end of a spool so you have to do that manually by using this switch.

Did I show a closeup of the logo on the cover? No? How could I not have inserted this picture right at the beginning of this post?
I'm glad to have this beautiful and well-built typewriter in my collection (can you call a group of three typewriters a collection?). Finally, just because red and black looks great next to each other, here's a photo featuring my Brother Deluxe 220 and Groma Kolibri together:


A portable one: Brother Deluxe 220

Firstly, welcome to my blog, glad to see you here! Since I'm in love with everything which has keys or buttons on it as long as it looks cool and/or retro enough I decided to start a blog about them.

This includes typewriters, calculators and computers. It's obvious that collecting these things are not cheap, and I'm pretty short of money recently, but still have a few gadgets I plan to show you.

So, here we are with the first: a Brother Deluxe 220 typewriter I got from an auction site last summer for a few thousand Forints. I can't recall the exact amount, but it's equivalent to $10-$20, if you prefer.

It comes with a black plastic case which converts your thing to a small suitcase when you attach it to the typewriter to allow carrying this 4 kg machine with you. The case looks pretty ugly, I'm not sure if I ever can clean it, but the machine itself was almost in perfect conditioin. And it's red!

Yesterday I took the time and cleaned the machine a little. This is how it looks like:

The typewriter after a little cleaning
Pretty neat, isn't it? There's a serial number on the back, it says J03418192:

S/N: J03418192
I'm not sure when this machine is made, but there's a sticker on it which says "10 million Brother typewriters: 1961-1980" which means it's made after 1980, so it may happen that it's younger than me :) Robert Messenger features a black Brother Deluxe 220 on his oz.Typewriter blog, which has a serial number beginning with H. However, his machine has no "10 million" sticker on it. What his machine has while mine doesn't: a label which says: "Made in Japan". I have a "Made in Japan" title inside the plastic case though, but I'm not entirely sure whether it refers to the case only or both the machine and the case.

The ribbon needs replacement
You can see the "10 million" sticker on the picture above. You may also notice that this has a Hungarian keyboard, which is perfect for me since I'm Hungarian. However, as it was common in that time: it has no 0 or 1 numbers on it. My mother had an Optima when I was little, and that also had no 0/1 numbers on it even though that was not a portable typewriter at all. Typists used small L instead of 1 since it looked pretty similar, and small O instead of 0 for the same reason. So the number 1500 would have looked like l5oo for instance.

Black/Red/None selector on the right
Because of the portable design the height of the typewriter is pretty low (around 10 cm). This means there's no place to lower the segment when pressing Shift. It lifts the whole carriage instead.

When carrying, you can lower the carriage return lever and there's a latch on the right which keeps the carriage from sliding to the right.

I'm pretty satisfied with this little beauty, however I must admit I miss my 1 and 0, not like it was a flaw or anything.

Hope to see you soon with more beautifully made gadget.