3/31/2012

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:

3 comments:

  1. You have a very fine example of a very nice Kolibri. I have heard only good things about these typewriters.

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  2. Oh darn, this thing is too cute!

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  3. Wow, nice machine. You are far luckier than you know, as way down here in New Zealand, if there were ever a Kolibri for sale, it would be hundreds of dollars, not tens, in fact I would like to buy the ones you saw earlier, if that were possible. BTW, I have a few metal spools that would fit if you want a 2nd one. David Lawrence katana@usa.com

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